How to legitimately recruit skeletons without using any mods.
This guide details a reliable method to recruit skeletons from a limitless supply, without using mods or exploits in any way. It is lore friendly, as your candidates will only volunteer if their personality allows and they are unaware of your role in the circumstances they find themselves in.
- Read "The Elusive Recruits" section for more detail if required.
- Ensure you have 20k in cash.
- Knockout and pickup (don't kidnap or they won't join) one or more holy nation skeleton recruits that have not seen you yet.
- Don't get seen carrying a holy nation skeleton recruit by another member of the skeleton faction, as this may register as kidnapping them.
- Don't put your recruit down and pick them up again, as this may register as kidnapping them.
- Put them down in front of a slave shop owner and let them be enslaved.
- When your recruit wakes up enslaved, talk to the owner and buy their freedom.
- If your recruit's personality allows it to join, it will join on about 3 of 10 tries.
- If they do not join immediately, leave town with them following you and they will occasionally join once you're far enough from town.
- If they don't join, you get a reputation increase with the skeleton faction.
The Obvious Recruits
There are unique skeletons that will always spawn once per game. There are also bar recruits that may spawn once per game in certain places. These are not the skeletons we're looking for, and you should look elsewhere for details on these characters. I mention them here because they add to the size of your army, and the number of characters you have may impact the chance of recruiting more. So you may want to leave these ones until last, since they will always join for cash when you find them.
The Elusive Recruits
Besides the guaranteed unique skeletons and the random bar recruits (neither of which respawn without importing your game) there are other skeletons you can recruit which are randomly generated in limitless supply. These are the elusive Holy Nation Skeleton Recruits, which can be hard to obtain unless you know how. This guide will teach you how, starting from the basics. Skip the basics if you are experienced.
First you will need high stealth, assassination and lots of money. It costs 20k for a chance at obtaining a new recruit, and initially the chance is about 30%. But don't worry if you fail because you'll gain reputation with the skeleton faction if that happens.
My approach is as follows:
- Get your stealth skill up.
I like to train this around the Ruined Holy Nation Outpost. There are a lot of Fogmen here and you can raise stealth above 40 very, very fast without much danger, provided you can outrun them.
- Get your assassination skill up and earn cash in the process.
Once your stealth is over 40 start hunting Fog Princes around Mongrel. You can follow Fogmen while stealthed and knockout entire squads by picking off the ones at the rear. Chain them to the feeding posts to attract Fog Princes and harvest the royal heads for cash. Sell their heads to the bar in Mongrel. You need the money, and Mongrel needs food.
- Gear up.
Keep hunting heads until you've paid to join the thieves in Mongrel, bought a backpack and some dark clothing from them, and saved at least 20k for each recruit you can carry. If you're solo 20k is enough. For every squad member you gain you'll need an extra 20k on your next run.
- Find your recruits.
Potential recruits spawn in 3 biomes, but the best place to hunt is Wend because they are the only thing that spawns in this region. Wend is the canyon river North of Holy Nation territory where Armour King has his shop. You cannot capture recruits in the water, but you can easily find and capture them along the mountain paths on the Southern side of the river. To get there take the Northern exit from Rebirth and follow the path to the ruins, or take the path from the Northern gate of Blister Hill. Recruits spawn in groups of 1 to 4. Normally you would have to find one all alone but with this approach you can recruit entire groups of 4, so gather as many as you can carry. Don't worry about their stats too much, I've had them join with Str and Dex as high as 29 (my own stats were over 30). A hidden personality trait seems to be the key.
(There is also a bridge across the canyon at the Sourthern end of the river where it meets Okran's Pride. If you build a base on the river bank in this region, occasionally new recruits will walk past and leave the river where you can press them into service. There is water, stone, fertile land, iron, and even 3 copper nodes just East of Blister hill which can be mined safely with enough stealth. A base at this location is very viable, and Prayer Day provides a nice visit from the locals. I recommend decorating your walls with a few peelers to welcome them, and using their skin to make fine clothing for your skeleton recruits.)
- Remain unseen and in good repute.
It's very important your candidates remain unaware of your part in what's about to happen. Remain stealthed while exploring the mountain paths above Wend. When you spot potential volunteers approach without them noticing and tap them on the head. Provided it says "Pickup" in the context menu and not "Kidnap" you're good to go. Pick them up (don't kidnap, they'll not join) and don't get spotted carrying them by others of their faction as this will register as kidnapping. If someone from another faction sees you that's ok. Ensure you never put your volunteers down as it will sometimes register as kidnapping when you try to pick them up again.
- Make a few bucks on the side.
Be sure to loot entire groups of potential volunteers for their weapons and repair kits as this will pay for future recruits. If you build a base on the riverbank where Wend meets Okran's Pride you will pass it on the way to "recruit training". Used repair kits don't stack but if you load them into an item furnace at your base it will force them to stack. Just don't turn it on.
- Head to recruit training.
Exit Wend via the bridge where the river meets Okran's Pride then head North through Okran's Valley. Head to Stoat hugging the Southern edge of Bast. This avoids the Holy Nation fort near the Iron Valleys (which may have many guards on crossbow turrets) and avoids pathfinding issues crossing Spine Canyon. Bast has the added advantage of United Cities patrols that can keep Holy Nation patrols busy while you run past. Remember you don't need to remain stealthed and can run past if you move faster this way.
- Become a hero.
Enter the slave shop in Stoat but don't talk to the owner. Just place your volunteer on the floor and watch the shop owner become the bad guy. When your volunteer wakes up he has no idea what happened. Once he was free, now he's in shackles, and this is your chance to shine. With your candidate awake and watching, speak with the owner and buy that poor skeleton's freedom. He will be so happy with you that he may join your squad there and then. If not he will follow you and may join once you're far out of town. Neither is guaranteed but with extensive testing on many candidates I have found those with a personality that allows them to join will do so about 3 times out of 10. Some candidates will not join no matter what.