<WIPNote: This page will talk about the basic uses of familiars, skills, gear, and other items. I'm unsure as of yet whether I want it to be a sort of reference catalogue or whether it should be a direct part of the guide; at the moment, it's more of a reference catalogue>
- 1 Basic Tools of the Trade
- 2 Your Outfit
- 3 Important Familiars
- 4 Important Skills
- 5 Garden
Basic Tools of the Trade
There are a number of equipment pieces, familiars, and skills which are important to have and manage when attempting a fast run. This section contains a list of the most important available items, familiars, and skills which you'll want to make use of if you have access to them. As this is a large amount of information, you may wish to identify one or two areas you wish to focus on at a time rather than diving into the entire thing at once.
As a general rule, you should always select the Degrassi Knoll-unlocking moonsign which gives you +10% to your mainstat. In some paths the Gnomads may be more useful, but there has yet to be a path in which Little Canadia is useful in softcore.
Class has little effect on basic softcore strategy, and thus won't show up until we discuss more advanced mechanics. Until you're working on lower (3/5xx or less) turncounts and daycounts, pick whichever class you like best or need to perm skills from and leave it at that.
Due to the fact that you don't want to invest much resources into pulling extra equipment, each outfit piece generally has an ideal item which fits it best, and you'll rarely remove that item unless you need to equip an outfit.
Your hat is generally the source of your MP, although it's unfortunately often interrupted by outfits.
- Crown of Thrones is by far the most powerful option in this slot for any path with access to a wide range of familiars. Using it properly can get a bit complicated, so it'll get its own section further down.
- Boris's Helm is a simpler Crown of Thrones, but isn't as good in most paths. However, since it's significantly cheaper and is still quite good, it's a reasonable alternative if you don't have access to the crown.
- Spooky Putty mitre is a bland, but acceptable, option in some situations. However, the fact that your MP generation generally comes from your hat makes this a fairly unattractive choice in comparison to using Rain-Doh and one of the above hats.
- Silent beret is an annoying but effective combat modifier. While it isn't as good as the alternatives in the fastest runs, if you don't have access to both Smooth Movement and The Sonata of Sneakiness, you may wish to pull this in addition to one of the other hats on this list.
- Helm of the Scream Emperor and double-ice cap are decent helms if you don't have access to Mr. Store hats, but unfortunately Mr. Store hats are vastly superior to any budget options here.
The back slot has yet to be made exciting, and for now is just a throwaway slot.
- Camp Scout backpack can be nice for a bit of quality of life. However, it unfortunately isn't justifiable in the fastest runs.
- Rain-Doh red wings is the common choice for a back item simply due to lack of viable alternatives and the fact that it's usually freely available.
Your shirt will generally stay on all run and give you extra stats. An unexciting but powerful slot.
- Astral shirt is an alright shirt, but is usually not as good as an ML-granting alternative. However, it's nice in a lazy run and can be the best astral item in some obscure run plans.
- Cane-mail shirt is the go-to shirt for most runs. Until you're aiming for the top slots, you'll probably throw this shirt on and leave it there for the entire run.
- Hairshirt and grimacite gown are the best shirts in the game, but are much more annoying to use than the cane-mail shirt since they require you wait for grimace to be either at its brightest or darkest to make effective use of them. There's little point worrying about these until you're working on 2 day runs.
Your weapon, much like your shirt, will generally just sit there giving you stats.
- Ice sickle is the clear winner here for its easy bonus ML.
- Dreadlock whip and hippo whip are decent cheap alternatives to the ice sickle, and the hippo whip may be better in some circumstances since it can be crafted in-run.
The off-hand slot can be one of the most flexible and interesting slots in softcore. In addition to providing a constant amount of stats, it generally provides you with some extra tools to speed up your run.
- Jarlsberg's pan is surprisingly good for mysticality class runs and gives you a wide range of bonuses to work with.
- Bag o' Tricks, while somewhat fiddly, is an excellent source of MP and ML.
- Operation Patriot Shield is possibly the simplest and most convenient equip-and-forget off-hand available. Pilgrim shield is a much cheaper, albeit slightly worse, alternative.
Due to the lack of half-decent IotM pants, this slot is quite boring and is often replaced by outfits.
- Greatest American Pants are by far the best option for this slot thanks to their runaways and buffs. You'll probably just equip these and ignore the slot.
- Stinky cheese diaper can be charged freely in this slot when you aren't running away or using buffs with your GAP.
In softcore you'll be constantly juggling a number of accessories depending on the task at hand, and these slots are generally highly contested, and you'll often be using one slot for an outfit.
- Juju Mojo Mask is the clear winner, and is usually on at all times. Be sure to tune it to the god appropriate for your main stat, and it will generate huge amounts of stats for no further effort.
- Hockey stick of furious angry rage is your go-to ML item and speed runs usually pull one. However, due to its price most players probably won't have access to one, and luckily the alternatives aren't hugely worse. This or a budget alternative will generally occupy your second accessory slot.
- Stainless steel scarf, tiny plastic four-shadowed mime, bone spurs, and carnivore button all make reasonable alternatives to the Hockey Stick if you can't afford one. The Frown Exerciser is also good on days where grimace is dark.
- Astral belt is generally the obvious pick for an astral pet, and will be equipped whenever your third slot is not used for an outfit or more niche use.
- Ring of conflict is a must-pull in most softcore paths and provides easy access to noncombat bonuses, one of the most important modifiers in softcore. This will occupy your third accessory slot for much of the run.
- Plastic vampire fangs, in addition to providing some nice quality of life, provide huge amounts of stats from vamping out, and are a reasonably good pull if you have access to them. In some paths where your basic survival skills are restricted, the healing power of Feed and the huge +HP bonus can be essential for surviving ML.
- Mr. Accessory Jr. and Jekyllin hide belt provide very large bonuses to item drops and are good pulls if you badly need extra +item%.
- Stinky cheese eye is the other use of stinky cheese, and in addition to being a decent alternative to a Jr it gives you a banish every day.
Powerful Non-Outfit Items
This slot is pretty simple and is dominated by two items of the month. Since the two complement one another, you should usually pull both.
- Moveable feast provides cheap and easy access to lots of +familiar weight.
- Snow Suit provides huge amounts of temporary familiar weight as well as some secondary effects, most notably dropping carrot noses.
When you have nothing you need in particular, your volleyball should be active. The primary purpose of a volleyball is to give you stats, whether directly or indirectly.
- The Baby Bugged Bugbear is the basic go-to familiar for using as a volleyball, and should probably occupy a reasonable amount of your familiar usage in a run. This familiar probably single-handedly sees as much time as the top familiar in a run as every other familiar put together does.
- The Frumious Bandersnatch, while somewhat obsoleted by the Baby Bugged Bugbear for volleyballing, is still the single most powerful volleyball at the cost of needing its familiar equipment. You probably should stick with the bugbear, but the bandersnatch is always worth a mention and is a fun familiar to have around.
- The Stocking Mimic, while not directly a volleyball, fills a similar role and drops various helpful candies, and can thus be used in similar times as a volleyball if you don't urgently need stats on short notice.
- The Hovering Sombrero, while not useful in speed runs in most paths, shines in some paths and when on a budget as a powerful go-to stat familiar.
Fairying is the other most basic go-to familiar use, and you have quite a few options for doing so.
- The Fancypants Scarecrow makes for an excellent fairy if you pull some spangly mariachi pants, and is nice to have in all but the fastest runs.
- The Jumpsuited Hound Dog and Mutant Fire Ant are the ideal fairies in the fastest speed ascensions due to not requiring a pull to be effective and actually outstripping the scarecrow with sufficient bonuses to familiar weight.
- The Angry Jung Man, while not a particularly good fairy, fulfills the role well while farming a psychoanalytic jar for gathering white pixels.
- The Slimeling's disgorge ability makes it an effective fairy when looking for gear, and the fact that it can act as a starfish as well can be a useful bonus at times.
In addition to the Stocking Mimic and Jung Man listed above, there are a number of familiars you may want to run temporarily to get some of their useful drops.
- The Rogue Program provides Game Grid tokens which can be converted into situationally useful items like finger cuffs as well as providing access to spleen.
- The Llama Lama provides the situationally useful Llama lama gong.
- The Bloovian Groose and Unconscious Collective provide easy access to items to fill your spleen.
More Fiddly Familiars
A number of familiars require much more careful use than the above mentioned ones, and don't fall easily into broad archetypes. These mostly rely on game mechanics which will be expanded on later.
- The Pair of Stomping Boots and Frumious Bandersnatch provide a number of free runaways per day in addition to their other effects, which can be very helpful for reducing your turncount.
- The Artistic Goth Kid and Mini-Hipster provide free fights, a somewhat fiddly mechanic which can be used for extra stats and to reduce your turncount when used effectively.
- The He-Boulder provides the easiest access to the extremely powerful Yellow Ray ability, one of the most powerful speed ascension mechanics.
- The Nanorhino provides limited access to yellow rays, banishment, and large amounts of extra stats.
- The Obtuse Angel provides free access to copied monster fights, an extremely powerful mechanic, especially in lower daycounts.
- The Happy Medium, in addition to providing some combat initiative for the Defiled Alcove, grants situationally useful powerful drinks.
- The Mutant Cactus Bud and Hobo Monkey are powerful leprechauns for the nuns quest. Note that unless you have access to large amounts of +familiar weight, the Fancypants Scarecrow wearing Greatest American Pants may be better.
While many skills have a noticeable, albeit trivial, effect on your performance, there are a few which are particularly important to your performance. Acquiring these skills should be a priority, and making use of them effectively when in-run is essential to speed play.
Getting items to drop is one of the cornerstones of speed ascension given how many quests involve farming specific items. While some of the smaller-size item drop bonuses like the Hodgman skill aren't entirely necessary, all of these skills are quite useful.
- Fat Leon's Phat Loot Lyric
- Mad Looting Skillz
- Powers of Observatiogn
- Singer's Faithful Ocelot
- Natural Born Scrabbler
Combat Rate Modifiers
As finding or avoiding noncombats is another essential cornerstone of fast ascension, these skills (and especially the noncombat ones) should see heavy use in every run you play.
Skills which give you more ML and stats help shave off turns with no downside.
- Drescher's Annoying Noise
- Ur-Kel's Aria of Annoyance
- Aloysius' Antiphon of Aptitude: note that Antiphon is very MP-intensive and relatively minor, so you may wish to avoid it at first if you find it too annoying to manage.
Finally, skills which let you survive ML and kill enemies while running it are essential to speed play and make your life much more comfortable.
- Tao of the Terrapin is essential for surviving ML in any situation.
- Holiday Weight Gain provides a much-needed boost to health for non-Muscle classes.
- Shieldbutt, when using a decent shield (such as the Operation Patriot Shield or pilgrim shield), kills nearly anything quickly and efficiently.
- Cannelloni Cannon with Flavour of Magic kills elementally aligned monsters at record speed, and is still highly effective against other enemies. This combo works even better when playing a Mysticality class, who presumably will have bonus spell damage from both Juju Mojo Mask and their off-hand.
Familiar Weight Skills
Familiars are essential for every part of your run, and cheap skills to add weight are among the most effective ways to boost essentially anything, from item drops to your number of runaways.
- Transcendent Olfaction is not as strong as some people make it out to be, but still speeds up your run a decent amount for no downside. Be sure to farm lucre and pick it up as soon as possible.
While many other skills are useful to some extent, the utility of having a large number of perms is generally exaggerated. After the above, you may wish to round out quality of life perms, add more minor turn saving perms like +meat drop skills for the nuns, or whatever strikes your fancy.
The garden provides a powerful daily resource that generates a variety of turn cutting and turn generation items. In general, you will want to pick a garden crop before ascending and stick with it through your run.
As the only way to cut vacation turns at The Shore, Inc., this is a strong garden choice in most circumstances in Softcore.
- Provides 5 skeleton per day
- The main draw of the Bone Garden is the skeletal skiff. Multi-using 7 skeletons produces a quest item that grants access to the Mysterious Island, eliminating the need to take 5 vacations to get the dinghy plans. You still have to take one vacation for the level 11 quest, and possibly a second vacation for the 6th floor Naughty Sorceress Tower Item, so the skeletal skiff will save 9 to 12 turns.
- The rest of your skeletons can be used for epic consumables for turn generation
- If you don't need the turn generation to make your daycount, leftover skeletons can be used for the Skeletal Buddy buff (+2 stats per combat for 30 adv).
While this garden can produce several powerful items, it's strengths tend to be more suited to Hardcore than Softcore
- Provides 3 peppermint sprout per day
- Each Sprout can be used for a 2 drunkenness epic booze. 6 drunkenness per day fills twice as much capacity as the consumables the other garden. The downside of these drinks is you have to find base booze (from the Tavern Cellar, Goatlet, Barney's Barrr, etc), and it takes an adventure to craft each drink. While the higher turn generation can help make daycount in Hardcore, Softcore has the option to pull even stronger drinks if neccessary.
- The peppermint parasol (5 Sprouts) is a combat item that grants free runaways. It is a strong item, but you can pull one in Softcore, so it is not a great use of almost 2 days of in-run garden growth. The chance of a successfull free runaway shares a daily counter with the Greatest American Pants, so this is not useful if you have the pants.
- The peppermint crook (3 Sprouts) is a combat item that attempts to pickpocket an item from the monster. It can be used multiple times per combat, and breaks on a successful pickpocket. One potential use for the Crook is to get a filthworm gland in 1 turn (if the previous scent gland is about to run out, or in paths with lower +item drop).
- A peppermint twist (1 Sprout) provides a 10 turn, 50% meat drop buff. This will usually be a fairly marginal turn savings at the Nuns.
This was the original garden item, and it is not as useful as the newer options in most cases
- Provides 1 pumpkin per day
- The pumpkin bomb (1 pumpkin + 1 knob goblin firecracker) was the 2nd source of Yellow Rays the game introduced, but this is not a strong use of the garden if other sources of Yellow Rays are available.
- The pumpkin's other ascension relevant uses are similar to options available from the Bone Garden. While the Pumpkin consumable are slightly more versatile, it is rare for that to outweigh the turn savings of the Skeletal Skiff.