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KoL provides a number of special mechanics which are shared between items, familiars, and skills which allow you to affect the way you interact with the game. Having access to and making effective use of these resources can save huge numbers of turns and is essential to proper speed ascension. In addition, understanding the basic way the game gives you adventures, items, and other information can help you make better decisions when speed ascending.

Influencing Your Next Adventure

Understanding what the various types of adventures are helps a good deal with knowing where to use specific resources. In particular, read up on the various types of encounters and the Adventure Queue.


A huge amount of quests require you to either get specific items to drop or kill monsters for some sort of counter, and picking the right monster(s) from a zone with many options can be essential to speeding such zones up. There are a number of tools the game provides for you to do so.


Certain abilities, most notably Transcendent Olfaction, allow you to raise your chances of finding a specific monster. While this isn't anywhere near as important in Softcore as it is in Hardcore, largely thanks to the large availability of banishing, there are still a number of places where trailing is useful. Trailing generally both increases the odds of finding a specific monster and keeps it from being rejected thanks to the adventure queue, thus drastically raising your odds of finding such monsters in low-monster zones where all monsters will usually be part of the queue.


Certain abilities allow you to prevent a monster from appearing at all for a certain number of turns, although in some cases this is overridden if the monster is also trailed. There are a number of easily accessible forms of banishing and, like trailing, it is essential to finding the monsters you want to advance your progress in the game. Due to the abundance of 3-monster zones with an important quest-relevant monster, it is easy to double banish, or single banish and trail, to make those zones essentially only give the monster you want.

Common softcore banishers:
Source Availability/Cost Duration Free Runaway?
stinky cheese eye Once per day 10 adventures Yes
V for Vivala mask Once per day, Mask must remain equipped 10 adventures Yes
divine champagne popper Rare tome summon 5 adventures Yes
Nanorhino Nanorhino charge use Until rollover No
crystal skull Tome summon 20 adventures No

Increasing Combat Rate

While combat modifiers are nowhere near as strong as noncombat modifiers and aren't worth dedicated pulls, you still have a number of them to work with and they help in certain zones. In most paths, you'll likely have:

Note that while you're unlikely to ever reach even +25% combat rate, any further bonuses will be reduced to 20% of their initial power (so buffs adding to +40% combat rate would give +28%, for example).


Unfortunately, despite being incredibly important, there aren't really any options for manipulating which noncombats you get other than noncombat rate modifiers. While superlikelies are not the same as noncombats, many of them are also affected by combat modifiers, meaning running noncombat modifiers can be helpful in many zones when searching for superlikelies as well. Due to the number of zones which require hunting for noncombats and have fairly useless combats, you should always try to have access to 25% bonus noncombat rate in your runs.

The best options:

In some paths or with very low-skilled accounts, lack of access to some of the above may require you to dig a little deeper:

Note that after you reach +25% noncombat rate any further bonuses will be reduced to 20% of their initial power (so buffs adding to +40% noncombat rate would give +28%, for example). As a result, there's no incentive to pull for any more than +25% total noncombat rate, so choose your pulls here wisely.

Delay and Ceilings

Quite a few adventures have hard caps on how often you can see them, either based on how many adventures you spend in that zone or how many you spend in KoL in general. The most common, but by no means only, restriction on such adventures is a 5 turn zone-specific floor before which the adventure can't occur, and if people refer to an adventure as "having delay" without specifying a number of turns they generally mean 5.

As a general rule, you don't have to actually successfully spend a turn in a zone for delay to be counted as long as you actually initiate an adventure, meaning free runaways and free fights will count towards any floors and ceilings in a zone. However, noncombats which have an option to skip them without spending an adventure, most notably Curtains, do not count towards delay if you do not spend the adventure.

Wandering Monsters and Free Fights

Certain fights take place inside a zone but are not part of the potential encounters in that zone, most notably fights generated by an Artistic Goth Kid/Mini-Hipster ("free fights") or wandering monsters from a holiday or Obtuse Angel ("wandering monsters"). Some special properties of these fights can be made of use of to give you greater control over when such a fight appears or to allow you to make use of them.

Since both these types of fights occur within the zone that you tried to adventure with them in, any zone-specific bonuses or penalties, such as plants from the Florist Friar, will apply. In addition, since these fights count towards delay, meaning you can use them to reduce your overall turncount by ensuring they appear in zones which you need to burn a certain amount of adventures in before anything useful can occur.

Note that if a wandering monster does not show up on a specific turn it will never show up on that turn, so if you end an adventure in a wandering monster window without spending a turn you can guarantee that the monster will not show up until a turn has passed. This does not, however, apply to free hipster fights.


Most adventures go through a php script called adventure.php, which is also responsible for governing most special effects that can happen surrounding adventures. However, some special zones, especially ones like the Tavern Cellar, Daily Dungeon, and the various subzones of the Lair of The Naughty Sorceress which work with uncommon game mechanics, don't use it, and since most adventure-related special effects rely on it, they won't occur in such zones.

  • Wandering monsters and free fights will not appear. This allows you to burn down your window until the next wandering monster for better control over what zone the monster appears in.
  • Teleportitis doesn't apply, meaning you can burn it off while still accomplishing useful things.
  • The Florist Friar cannot plant plants.

Semirare Adventures

A certain class of adventures called Semirare Adventures exist, which are adventures which occur on specific intervals over the course of a run, and which you can track by eating fortune cookies. Since many of them are very helpful in speeding up a run and often go so far as allowing you to skip an entire quest, eating fortune cookies to keep track of when your next semirare will occur and planning how you will spend each semirare is an important part of speed play. Even if you don't know when your next semirare will happen, the turn on which it will occur is pre-set, so if it doesn't occur on a specific turn you know it isn't on that turn, and if it occurs on a specific turn it's already been used even if you end that turn without spending an adventure.

Useful semirare adventures are discussed in Quest Strategy.

Clover Adventures

Ten-leaf clovers are a limited resource item which let you have special encounters in a number of zones. Since many such encounters greatly speed up a run, identifying which clover adventures you plan to make use of is an important part of a speed run and can save a number of turns and pulls.

Useful clover adventures are discussed in Quest Strategy.

Acquiring Items

Several game mechanics allow you to manipulate how easily you get items or how difficult it is for you to get them. Note that some items are considered unpickpocketable, which means no methods other than the most basic--boosting your item drop bonus chance--will help. If the item is pickpocketable, you have a few options:


Moxie classes and certain items let you pickpocket item drops from a monster. In addition to the "Pickpocket" ability found on Disco Bandits and Accordion Thieves, any class can make use of any divine crackers they have for particularly important drops, and occasionally it may be worth pulling a tiny black hole for the Hedge Maze or peppermint crooks for the filthworms.

Yellow Ray

The yellow ray is an extremely powerful ability first introduced with the He-Boulder which allows you to instantly kill a non-boss monster and force all pickpocketable items to drop (unpickpocketable items can still drop normally since you killed the monster, but are not guaranteed to). Using a yellow ray will give you the Everything Looks Yellow buff, which acts as a counter which lasts 150 turns and prevents further yellow ray use; the only way to speed this up is with equipped to a He-Boulder or by having the buff be automatically removed on rollover.

  • The He-Boulder is the best and most convenient option, and the only one which can be reduced to less than 150 turns per use (via quadroculars.
  • The Nanorhino works as a replacement for those who lack a He-Boulder, and can use its charge on yellow rays if you so desire.
  • Unbearable light can act as a source of yellow rays at the cost of tome summons.
  • Pumpkin bombs also provide yellow rays, and since you can pull a huge pumpkin and smash it for 3 pumpkins they are the cheapest option if you need to pull yellow ray sources rather than relying on a familiar.

Free Runaways

Normally, there's little point in running away from a fight, but free runaways change that dynamic entirely. A number of items grant you access to "free runaways"--that is, guaranteed success runaways which don't cost a turn. Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific advantage to using these in a zone with delay, and as a general rule they should be used on the lowest-level monsters (to maximize stats) which don't need to be killed for quest reasons, and may be used to keep buffs such as Ultrahydrated active as well.

Free runaways fall into a few categories which govern how often they can be used.

Equipment-assisted Runaways

Equipment-assisted free runaways can be used infinite times per day and are always successful at ending the fight, but don't always save you an adventure. The first three times a turn is saved will have a 100% success rate, the next three an 80% success rate, the next three a 50% success rate, and then any remaining attempts have a 20% success rate. This chance resets at rollover or upon ascension, and never otherwise. Items which fall into this category are:

Familiar-Assisted Runaways

Familiar-assisted free runaways will always end the fight, but will only save an adventure if you've saved less than {familiar weight/5} turns this way so far. In addition, they always override equipment-assisted runaways, even if the familiar-assisted runaway is no longer free. So far, there are only two options:

Consumable Runaways

Most other runaways come from consumable combat items and are limited by your access to that item. In-run you may find tattered scraps of paper and green smoke bombs, but most available consumable runaways in high-speed runs come from bottles of blank-out. All but the fastest runs will generally ignore this category of runaway entirely.

Copied Combats

KoL provides a number of tools to select monsters to fight either immediately or in the future, and effectively making use of those resources is essential to rounding out the corners in your run.


The Clan VIP Lounge key, among other things, provides access to the ability to fax one monster per day, allowing you to choose from nearly any non-boss monster in the game to fight on a whim. The fax mechanic is made much more powerful when combined with other copying methods, since many of the best fax targets are much more effective when fought in numbers.


The Rain-Doh black box, Spooky Putty sheet, and 4-d camera can all be used in combat to copy a non-boss monster to fight whenever you choose in the future. Spooky Putty and Rain-Doh each provide 5 such copies (6 total if both are used) per day, while one 4-d camera may be used per day.

Arrowed Monsters

The Obtuse Angel allows you to cast one Badly Romantic Arrow per day, turning the targeted monster into a wandering monster which you can fight 2 or 3 times over the next approximately 50-75 turns that day. While somewhat less predictable and more difficult to manage than putties, having another easily accessible source of copied combats is essential to a good run and several effective copying targets can be safely fought without requiring item drop bonuses other limited-access buffs.

Monster Level

The stats a monster provides are almost always primarily determined by 1/4 of its attack, also known as its Monster Level. Having access to monster level bonuses (which increase all of attack, defence, and hp), and a plan to defeat monsters while running a lot of it, is essential to reduce turncounts and speed up certain quests. Since monsters with any significant +ML will have much more attack than you have moxie and much more defence than you have muscle/moxie, having a way to automatically hit them and enough HP and damage absorption to survive their attacks is important to speed play, especially since monsters with enough +ML will essentially always get the jump and thus hit you at least once.

Surviving a hit with +ML

Surviving the first hit with a lot of +ML is surprisingly simple with access to a few skills: Tao of the Terrapin and Holiday Weight Gain make any sustainable ML also generally survivable, and Cannelloni Cocoon or Tongue of the Walrus provide cheap healing between fights.

Killing the monster

Once you are hit once, you'll want to stun the monster and kill it before it recovers.

  1. Start by using Rain-Doh blue balls and Rain-Doh indigo cup if you have access to them.
  2. Cast Entangling Noodles or any path-specific equivalent.
  3. Throw your Operation Patriot Shield if you're wearing one.
  4. Feed if you're wearing vampire fangs for some extra healing and an automatic hit.
  5. Kill the monster with spells (most commonly Cannelloni Cannon), automatic hit attacks (most commonly Shieldbutt), or reusable combat items (toy mercenary or Rain-Doh orange agent).