This introduction is intended to guide new players. It doesn't aim to make you ridiculously overpowered or filthy rich (that's what Getting good gear and Get-rich-quick schemes are for), detail every little bit of loot encountered (that's the walkthrough) or break down the game mechanics entirely (that's game mechanics), just explain some common pitfalls, basic game mechanics and a little non-spoiler advice for the first chapter of the game.
Controls and saving
Before you even start playing Gothic, you should probably take a look at either the game manual or the guide page that describes the controls because the controls are not explained in-game. The most basic thing you should know is that you interact with the world using the USE key plus a direction, usually up. This may seem obvious to any experienced player, but a new player can easily wander around for a long time, wondering why "USE" doesn't do anything.
You should (quick)save regularly. If a human defeats you with a melee weapon, you'll be merely unconscious in most cases and able to continue once you get up again. But if you get killed by arrows or monsters, you're done. No continues, reload your last save. And monsters can kill you easily if you haven't got any armor.
Welcome to the colony
When you start a new game, you'll be talking to Diego. You can safely exhaust all dialog options here. Gothic has one of the best tutorial levels in videogame history, because it doesn't have one. After talking to Diego, you're on your own. Diego isn't going to hold your hand and you're in the open world of Gothic, free to go wherever you want.
But the world is cleverly designed. You are in a canyon, a natural barrier that's hard (though not impossible) to get out of. So you follow the path. On this path you'll find some starter weapons and the easiest monsters in the game: Juvenile Scavengers and a Juvenile Molerat. Practice swinging your sword before you take them on. If you like, you could also try to take on single Scavengers or Molerats, but don't go running into packs of them. Don't fight any other monsters yet.
The old camp
When you arrive at the gate of the Old Camp, be aware that picking a rude or sarcastic dialog option rarely works out in Gothic. Inside of the Old Camp you are relatively safe. If you run into Bloodwyn and/or Jackal, don't refuse to pay protection money. It's okay if you can't afford it yet, but don't refuse. Using a pan on a fire (USE + up) will convert any Raw Meat you collected from (juvenile) scavengers and molerats into Grilled Meat.
As you wander around, several characters will tell you which hut you can take. In your hut is a bed. Beds are important: by sleeping for any amount of time, your health and mana (magic energy) will be fully restored. So if a bed is nearby, sleeping is preferable over using up healing potions and food.
You should do some quests here to gain XP. Whistler's sword and Snaf's Recipe are easy. Impressing Scatty is easy once you understand what the point was. Just don't savescum on this one. You should wait with Vanished Guard until you've got a better weapon. You shouldn't impress Fingers, at least not this early.
If you need money, go to the smithy. You can also barter any items you find, including plants and food. When you deal with merchants, you can buy items for the value they have and sell them for half of their value. Despite what the dialog may suggest, all merchants charge the same prices and all merchants will buy all goods from you. You should get the Map of the colony from Graham or Dexter because by default, you don't have a map at all. View it with .
When you level up, you'll get 10 skill points and 12 extra life. When you level up the first time (at 500 XP), talk to Diego and put all 10 points into strength. You already got 10 strength for free when you started the game, so now you have 20 strength. The game is generally a bit balanced towards combat with melee weapons, so this will be useful for your entire playthrough. For melee weapons, the damage you do is calculated as your strength plus the damage your weapon does and you also need the extra strength to equip better weapons. When you level up again (at 1500 XP), find a trainer for one-handed weapons like Scatty in the old camp and learn one-handed weapons level 1.
Around now you should get some armor and a better weapon. When it comes to armor, note that "protection against weapons" also protects against animal attacks but doesn't protect you from arrows. In the Free Mine (at the new camp), Swiney hands out the Diggers Dress 10 0 5 for free which isn't too bad considering you'll get better armor for free after joining a camp. Fisk sells similar armor, Light Diggers Trousers 10 0 5 for 250 Ore. In addition you can go looking for the Vanished Guard. There is no strict time limit on anything, so you can hold on to the amulet you found for a while. A Bloodfly can kill you by stinging you just twice if you don't have any armor. If you leveled up just once, got the free armor from Swiney and the amulet from the vanished guard it'll take getting stung 4 times to get killed.
The game is mostly balanced towards using melee weapons. That's not to say you can't be an archer, but using melee weapons is easier and more fun. The path of magic will become available in the second chapter. When it comes to a weapon, some easily obtained starter options are:
- Buy Raw steel from Huno and use it (in this order) on the furnace, anvil, water bucket and grindwheel to craft a Crude Sword (20/20).
- Buy some Picklocks from Fisk in the old camp (buy 5 if you don't look up the chest combination) and get the Axe (29/12) from the chest in the smithy in the swamp camp.
- Get the Short Bow (20/10) and/or Rider's Bow (24/12) from Cavalorn's cave and the guard tower in the new camp.
The often recommended Digger's Discipline (20/10) from Fisk in the old camp is just as good as the Crude Sword, it only requires less strength. But you can have the strength required for the crude sword after your first level-up. Now that you have some armor and a better weapon, you stand a much better chance against packs or groups of scavengers and molerats, bloodflies, Goblins, Lizards and Wolves. Don't go after Biters, Black Goblins, Orcdogs, Minecrawlers or Lurkers, you'll need to level up and get better weapons to comfortably defeat those.
Leaving the old camp
When you feel like checking out one of the other camps, either start Recipe of the Sect and ask Baal Parvez to take you to the swamp camp (it's particularly magical at night!) or start Thorus' Quest to get Mordrag to take you to the new camp. They will kill any monsters on the way, so you don't need any fighting experience for that. And you get the XP!
That's all for now. If you need more help or details, check out the walkthrough.