The Official Ascension FAQ-Rewrite
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Q: How is ascension spelled?
A: Just like that.
Q: What does ascension mean?
A: "Ascension" refers to the act of rising up, or of gaining altitude. It came from Old Fre-
Q: Yes, I know that, but what is it about in this game?
A: Ascension, in the Kingdom of Loathing, means ascending to a higher plane of being, beyond the ken of mortal men (or women, or... whatever), then realizing that higher planes of being are really boring and descending back down to the physical world as a level 1 player.
Q: A level 1 player?! Why would anyone want to do that?
A: You'll get to play through the game again with new challenges and more variety to gameplay. You'll see oodles of new ascension-only content. You also get the option to change your character class – each class has its own challenges and special rewards.
Q: This sounds hard.
A: It doesn't have to be! You won't be starting over from scratch completely. Once you've moved on to the afterlife, you'll be able to choose the type of ascension you want to play. You can ascend casually, and maintain free access to all of your stuff. You can choose to ascend "normally", and have limited access to your items, or you can opt to go for a more challenging ascension (see below), with no access to (almost) any of your items. The higher the difficulty, the greater the prize.
You can also accumulate the skills of different classes over multiple ascensions – imagine being able to conjure dry noodles, make scrumptious reagents, and make your familiar heavier all at the same time!
Q: What's this I've heard about Hardcore ascension and different paths of ascension?
A: These are ways to make ascension more challenging and interesting. A Hardcore ascension means you will have no access to any items from "outside" that incarnation – no clan stash, no mall, no flea market, no gifts or buffs from other players, no nothing. The only things you get to keep are your familiars, some campground items and any Hardcore skills you've accumulated (see below). It's a unique experience for most players and should be a lot of fun.
The paths are other ways to make the ascension more challenging. The Oxygenarian, Teetotaler and Boozetafarian paths restrict your diet. In addition, there are many Special Challenge Paths, which have their own rules. Paths are chosen alongside any other Ascension choices; that is, you can choose one path or none, but not multiple, and you can choose a path for any kind of ascension. Paths typically yield some form of reward. The Standard path and newer Special Challenge Paths will be harder while they are active, restricting Mr. Store items and familiars to those released after January 1, 2013 (a complete list can be found here, but they'll yield an extra special reward which will be only available while that restriction is still active. [Note: Here the Asymmetric Team has to insert a little bit of php that writes the result of (date("Y") - 2) into the text as well as into the link.]
Q: Do I have to ascend?
A: No, but if you don't, you're gonna miss out on some really, really cool stuff.
Q: What will happen to my familiars?
A: All of your familiars in your terrarium will stay there, but will revert to 1 lb. (However, they will retain their kill count.)
Q: What happens to my campground?
A: After you ascend, your Closet, Terrarium, Trophy Case, Kitchen, Certificate of Participation, and Quest Log will remain. If you have a Telescope, Mystical Bookshelf, Workshed or Garden they will also remain. The contents of your Closet will be stored in, well, storage. The contents of your Terrarium will revert to 1 lb, as said. The contents of your Kitchen will be removed, except for your E-Z Cook™ oven and My First Shaker™. Your housing will reset to The Ground. Everything else will be removed.
Q: Storage? What do you mean, storage?
A: Your meat and all of the non-quest items in your inventory (and closet) will be automatically stored for you at Hagnk's Ancestral Mini-Storage, on the Right Side of the Tracks. Quest items (those items whose descriptions have the "Quest Item" designation) will be destroyed, so you can regather them and complete the quests again.
Q: So I can get at all my stuff right after I ascend?
A: If you choose the Casual setting, yes. If you choose the Hardcore setting, no. If you choose the middle road, the "Normal" difficulty, you'll be a "ronin" for the first thousand adventures of your incarnation.
Q: What's a ronin? I'm gonna be Japanese for 1,000 turns?
A: "Ronin" just means that you're a loner, a badass who doesn't need help from anybody. You won't be able to receive items or buffs from other players, buy stuff from the flea market, take anything from your clan stash, or receive any clan benefits (extra calendar turns, meat-tree meat, training or buffs) during that time. Anything you buy in the Mall will use meat from Hangk's and will be sent to Hagnk's. You can still visit your clan gym, and you can still send items and buffs to other players, though. More importantly you will be able to take 20,000 meat or 20 items (or a combination of the two) out of storage each KoL day.
Q: Why would you make it so I can't trade with people?
A: Because we hate you and want you to fail. No. Actually, we love you and want you to have as much fun with a challenging game as possible. Therefore, we made it so you can't take the easy way out and get everything you need from a friend or multi.
Q: What about my Mall store?
A: You'll get to keep your Mall store. During ronin or Hardcore you can still add items to your store and manage the prices, but anything you remove from your store will go into Hangk's. Any Meat you would normally receive from Mall transactions while you're in ronin or Hardcore will also go directly into Hagnk's.
Q: And my collection in the Cannon Museum?
A: Same deal. Unlike the mall, though, it cannot interact with Hangk's.
Q: How is PvP affected by ascension?
A: PvP is available as an option during ronin and Hardcore. In both cases, you may only attack for (or be attacked for) Fame or Flowers. Additionally, Hardcore players may only attack or be attacked by other Hardcore players.
When you ascend, your hippy stone is magically glued back together, so you can't attack or be attacked until you break it again. Your fame remains until the end of the season. Your swagger remains as well, but you can't spend it in ronin or Hardcore.
Q: What do I have to do to get ready to ascend?
A: Many things will be reset when you ascend, so if there's something specific you were working towards in this life, get it done! This includes buying any skills you want to make permanent, buying trophies for which you will no longer be eligible after ascension, and making use of any Quest Items you have remaining since they will be lost when you ascend.
Once that is complete, make sure you have no open trade offers and no items in the flea market, and take the plunge!
Q: What is karma?
A: Karma is the currency of the afterlife, so to speak. Each time you ascend, you'll gain 11 karma, and a certain amount of karma based on how challenging your previous ascension was – for example, your first time through the game will net you a total of 111 karma.
Q: What is karma good for?
A: You can use karma to "perm" skills – that is, make them permanently available for use in future ascensions. It costs 100 karma to make a skill permanent for future casual or normal ascensions, or 200 to make a skill permanent for future Hardcore ascensions as well. If 200 points for a hardcore perm seems excessive at the beginning, don't sweat it. You can spend 100 karma on a skill now to make it available for normal ascension, then later when you have another 100 karma you can upgrade it to hardcore permanent (Note that some skills can't be permed, and that some paths will restrict skill availability for that ascension).
Karma can also be spent on goodies for your next life: It costs 10 karma to buy a piece of powerful astral equipment, and just 1 karma to buy an astral consumable – something to satisfy your future self's thirst or hunger.
Q: Are there any other ways to earn karma?
A: Yes. Some bosses that you don't have to fight in order to free King Ralph will drop Instant Karma, which can be discarded for 11 karma each.
Q: You said some paths will restrict skill I made permanent... Tell me more.
A: When you choose certain paths (for example, Zombie Slayer or Avatar of Boris), you will not be able to choose one of the standard six classes. During those runs you will have no access to your permanent skills. Instead you will be able to access skills unique to that path's special class. Most of these classes will give you a special companion in place of your standard familiars. Typically, you will start out with one free skill point to buy skills and can earn more of those points as you level up, up to level 15.
Once you free the king or drop the path, you will lose that special class and choose any of the traditional 6 classes. At that point you'll regain access to your permanent skills and familiars. You can learn skills of that new class, ascend and make one of those skills permanent just as you would regularly. As an additional reward you will start all your future ascensions in that particular challenge path with one additional skill point for each normal (softcore) ascension of that challenge path completed, and two additional points for each hardcore ascension of that challenge path completed.
Q: What if I start an ascension and don't like it?
A: You can shed any restrictions you have placed yourself under from your account menu. You won't be punished for doing so, but you won't get the rewards, either. Some paths also have a waiting period before you can drop them.
Q: What happens with Mr. As during Hardcore ascension?
A: During a Hardcore run, you can donate and receive new Mr. As. You can also use Mr. As in Hagnk's to use to purchase things from Mr. Store. However, you cannot equip Mr. As, or any other Mr. Store equipment, during a Hardcore run.
Q: What about the Mr. Eh, eh?
A: Take off, ya hoser. No, sorry, those can't be worn during Hardcore runs either.
Q: Well, then, what CAN I use from Mr. Store?
A: Unless forbidden by your current path, you can use any familiars purchased from Mr. Store, any skills on your Mystical Bookshelf, and any Garden or Workshop item you have. (Note that your Garden will be reset to 1 day worth of growth after you ascend, so harvest it beforehand. If you have more than one Garden available, plant the one you want in your new life as well.) You will continue to receive correspondence that comes from Mr. Store items, and you will have access to locations that are unlocked by Mr. Store items. Also, certain special Challenge Paths have associated items which you will have access to during that ascension, even in Hardcore.
Q: Can I still win radio contests or get birthday presents, etc., during a Hardcore ascension?
A: While you're in Hardcore (or ronin), people will be able to send you items using the Gift Shop in Bordertown. The presents will go into your inventory, but you won't be able to open them until you're out of Hardcore (or ronin).
Q: What's up with the zodiac signs?
A: These are moon signs that will subtly alter your destiny in the game. They all have minor effects on gameplay that will be useful for each character class – mysticality, moxie, and muscle. Each set of three signs comes with its own unique content as well. So go ahead and try all ten.
Q: Ten? There are only nine zodiac signs here!
A: Right. Let's say, nine. Try all nine.
Q: So what do they all do?
A: When you select your Moon Sign for your next ascension, it'll tell you exactly what it does.
Q: How does the Hall of Records calculate days played in an incarnation?
A: The Hall of Records counts the number of rollovers that you have played through, and adds one to determine the number of "days" played for the Ascension Leaderboards. This count starts when your character was created (for your first ascension), or when you return to the Kingdom from Valhalla (for all subsequent ascensions), and it ends when you break King Ralph's prism.
Potential new sections
Q: Help! There's too many skills to choose from to make permanent! Option paralysis taking hold!
A: Relax, I'll help you. Generally, if you're starting out, you want to think about what you struggled with the most in your last run, and choose a skill that will aid you the most with that. Some of the basic "themes" of skills are turn generation, turn saving, combat, healing, defense, and utility. For example, if you want to generate more turns, try perming...
- Pulverize (Seal Clubber): Demolish equipment into magic essences you can chew up and gain turns without filling your stomach or liver.
- The Long View (Turtle Tamer): Gain more adventures while your character sleeps over rollover.
- Pastamastery (Pastamancer): Summon dry noodles to craft into delicious pasta with simple recipes.
- Saucemaven (Sauceror): Gain extra turns when you eat anything saucy. They'll taste even more delicious when you're a Pastamancer or Sauceror.
- Advanced Cocktailcrafting (Disco Bandit): Summon fancy garnishes to make fruity, girly drinks that give more turns because they're so fruity and girly.
- Ode to Booze (Accordion Thief): Improves the taste of alcohol while it's stuck in your head. The perfect song to barhop to!
Q: I can't decide what skill to pick to make permanent. Can you give me a hint?
A: Pick the one you like best! Different skills are useful for different play styles. You don't need to worry about picking the "best" one – if you perm one skill, and then decide you want another one more, just ascend again and get it! There's no limit to the number of skills you can perm.
"Quality of life" skills which make getting through an ascension easier are typically most sought after by new players. These include combat attacks, defensive skills, healing skills, and skills which increase meat drops. Veteran players tend to focus on skills which make ascensions faster, such as those which generate more turns and allow quests to be completed in fewer turns, either directly or indirectly. These include some crafting skills, skills which increase or decrease monster encounter rate, skills which increase item drops rate and familiar weight, and skills which increase monster level. However, those skills can be more difficult to use effectively. Again, different skills for different play styles.
If you can't decide, just remember that you don't have to perm a skill every ascension! You can save your karma and it will be available the next time you ascend, which will allow you to perm multiple skills at once. [Note: Not sure about telling low-skill people to not perm stuff, but is it better than telling them to just perm anything and having them waste karma? Decisions, decisions...]
But if you don't want to wait, and you're really worried about picking the best one first, the Community of the Kingdom is full of people who will be happy to share their opinions with you!
Q: How can everyone see how awesome I am?
A: The Museum in Seaside Town contains a number of leaderboards which record the fastest ascensions, broken down by type. An ascension which completes in fewer days is considered faster than one which completes in more days, and among ascensions with the same day count, ascensions with fewer turns spent are considered faster. Completing an ascension in leaderboard-worthy time will award an Instant Karma, in addition to your usual awards.
In addition, being on the leaderboard of a special challenge path at the end of its season will award a commendation – a special mark on your profile which will be visible for all time!
(none right now)
Accessing this FAQ
- Usually, players can access this FAQ only between unlocking the portal and ascending. After breaking the prism for the first time, the link should be permanently added to the documentation as well.