You start the game near the town of Britain and Lord British's castle.
First of all, enter the town of Britain and purchase weapons for your characters. Afterwards, pay a visit to Lord British.
Every character starts with 150 Gold Coins, 150 meals, a dagger and clothes. The first thing to do is to get better weapons. Enter the nearby town of Britain.
Britain, the royal city
|Best weapon by profession:|
|Sling or bow/blowgun: |
thief, barbarian, ranger,
lark, paladin, fighter
cleric, druid, illusionist;
|Throwing knives: |
- Weapons dealer: the first thing you should do is to visit this shop and get the best weapons you can; right now, purchase only one bow/blowgun (F), then one sling (D) for every character who can equip it, then one mace (C) for those who can use it; finally, give all the throwing daggers to the wizard or the alchemist.
- Grocery shop: after purchasing weapons for all the party members, you can save the rest for more equipment, or invest into some extra meals; sooner or later, anyway, you will need to restock your food supplies.
- Armoury: buy fine armour, or trade in captured booty for gold; note that anytime you sell armor or weapons, you need to re-equip yourself afterwards (not in the NES port).
- Pub: the bartenders will tell useful rumors to good customers; pay 10 to 90 gold coins and learn nine different rumors; the information you receive depends specifically on how much gold you paid; all bartenders in Sosaria give the same nine advices for the same tips; in order to hear all rumors, you have to spend 450 GP.
- No enemy drops weapons or armors; therefore, you will have very little to sell at armories and weapon shops.
- The pub mechanism is different: the information you receive depends specifically on the pub you are in; all nine bartenders will tell a secret for 30 GP and 50 GP paid; in order to hear all rumors, you have to visit every pub in Sosaria.
- The girl Sherry (Noriko Hidaka) gives you a NES-exclusive item if you bring her some flowers (details in the Ambrosia page).
- Guards: if a crime is detected within a town, or Lord British's castle, each Guard will pursue you to the boundaries of the place; most Guards are very difficult to overcome, but rumors have been circulating that some Guards are not completely honest.
- Monster type: very rarely are renegade monsters seen in towns; these monsters no longer serve the Dark, but now serve Light.
- Player type: any of the regular Player types may appear in the towns and castle; speak to all of them, some hold valuable clues to the locations of hidden items.
Castle of Lord British
- Lord British: The august ruler over all the People. Whenever a character earns 100 experience points, talk to Lord British in order to raise levels and the maximum health points. However, when a character has reached 550 HP, Lord British will ask to seek the Mark of Kings before receiving further HP improvements.
- The healer: he can cure poison (caused by enemies or trapped chests), "heal health points", and even resurrect a dead patient; if the resurrection fails, the patient turns into ashes: he/she can still be revived by "raising" the remains.
- Some rooms are beyond locked doors. They can only be accessed with keys, which can be bought later at guild shops.
- Avoid the fire and force fields unless you have some magic protection (obtained later in the game).
- Lord British: at game start, only level-1 monsters are met in Sosaria; whenever the characters improve their Max-HP by 200 (talking to Lord British), stronger monsters appear; it is a sound strategy to upgrade your characters to level 2 only and fight weak monsters until you earned several thousand gold pieces.
- Healers: they cannot resurrect a patient turned into ashes; you have to go to the Temple in Moon for that. Instead, healers can cure characters with a cold: this is a NES-only status ailment similar to poison, but it is contagious!
- Give Blood: you can give blood to the some healers (notably, the one in the castle); the character lose 100 HP and earns 30 GP; repeated giving blood & healing allows to raise money faster.
- Inn: exclusive to the NES versions of the game, you must manually opt to save your game by talking to this innkeeper. The original computer versions of the game save your progress every time you enter or exit a town, castle, or dungeon (good!), but also every time a character dies or is turned into ashes (bad!).
Fighting and exploring Sosaria
|Best armor by profession|
|Clothes (but shooting spells): |
wizard, druid, alchemist, lark;
|Leather armor (but innate dodging bonus): |
thief, illusionist, barbarian;
|Chain armor or better: |
cleric, fighter, ranger, paladin.
As soon as all characters have a weapon, their first goal should be to earn experience points (EXP) and gold pieces (GP). Every 100 EXP gained, a character gains a level; then, he/she should talk to Lord British, and the king will increase the max HP by 100. The four attributes are improved in a different way (later, in Ambrosia).
Gold pieces can be used to purchase food and armor. Occasionally (not in the NES port), defeated enemies will also leave behind some equipment. Equip the better armors and sell the rest; sell melee weapons, as they are less useful than ranged weapons.
Most services are available in Britain and in the nearby castle. Therefore, there is no need to visit the other towns right now. Actually, the result would be to consume food, thus increasing your expenses.
Leave Britain and explore the mainland of Sosaria.
- Always use four characters. Despite what the manual says, you can't recruit from the game (never trust a game manual!). There are no advantages to playing with less and many disadvantages.
- If your party gets poisoned near Castle Britannia and don't want to spend the gold at a healer, you will find a curing fountain almost immediately inside the Dungeon of Fire, hidden in the alcove directly south of the town of Britain.
- The quickest way to gain experience is to kill first level enemies (goblins, orcs, skeletons, ghouls) using the A rank spells (Repond/Repel and Pondori/Undead) which will kill multiple enemies simultaneously.
- Cast B rank Cleric spell Appar Unem/Open on the chests left behind by enemies to avoid the traps.
Some enemies are more powerful than others. Every enemy can move and attack diagonally, but the four heroes cannot.
An effective tactic is to put your characters in a square formation: two characters with maces or daggers on the front line, two characters with ranged weapons behind them. This way, a character can be attacked by no more than two enemies.
Of course, this formation shows the priority when purchasing and equipping armor. That is, the "frontmen" need an armor as soon as possible.
In the NES port, the artificial intelligence of the enemies is more limited. If you put your characters in a vertical line, all enemies will line up to attack the frontman. The other party members can then back up the first one with ranged weapons and magic missiles.
In order to get a ship, you have to fight a pirate ship. Approach the pirates from an angle, so that their cannons cannon cannot hit the party (no cannon fire in the NES port).
From the manual: To sail a ship, one must learn the ways of the winds. Your ship may not sail against a wind, but must tack around it. Watch out for sudden shifts in the wind for the wind is a fickle elemental force.
While onboard a ship, you can [F]ire cannons to wipe out enemies that are too strong for your party, or enemies that won't drop a chest. The characters earn no experience when they fire cannons. Fighting coast enemies from aboard a ship gives a tactical advantage to your party: enemies have to line up on the boarding bridges. On the other hand, enemy encounter rate is sensibly lower when travelling by ship: the gold you earn will barely cover food expenses. Better leave the ships where the whirlpool cannot easily engulf them (e.g. a river) and proceed on foot.
Not so in the NES port. First of all, enemy encounter rate is not lowered onboard a ship and food consumption is slower. Secondly, pirate ships (and some strong enemies) start appearing only when a party member reaches level 5. Therefore, it is advisable to stay onboard as much as possible when you conquer a ship. In the NES port, the party can only have one ship at a time.
It is advantageous to park one between the mainland of Sosaria and the island of the town of Death Gulch. Because of the convoluted water ways around here, you can often leave a boat at this location for a long time before it is swallowed by the whirlpool and it is very convenient to just walk across the boat and gain access to the town. It is also handy because it is near castle Britannia.
You can step to the next part of the game as soon as: (1) all party members are equipped with the best weapon and a good armor sold in Britain; (2) all party members are at level 5 with 550 HP; (3) the party conquered a ship.