- 1 Mr. Store Items
- 2 Moon Sign
- 3 Astral Consumables
- 4 Astral Gear
- 5 Skills
- 6 Familiars
- 7 General Tips/Tricks
- 8 Quests
Mr. Store Items
- Box of bear arms: A powerful one-handed weapon and off-handed pseudo-shield specifically tailored for Zombie Slayer, and usable in Hardcore. Provides +20% Muscle, +30% Weapon Damage, and +30 HP. Skill-wise, provides one of the following per fight: an auto-hit / auto-crit, a very powerful percentage-of-health attack, a delevel, a self-heal that stuns the same turn (ala scented massage oil), an 10/day instant-kill that swells your Horde, and a 10-turn stat gain buff. When the instant-kill runs out, it is replaced by a simultaneous heal / delevel / attack. The only way to get a Mr. Weapon in Hardcore Zombie Slayer.
- Reagnimated Gnome: The only "pure" fairy-type familiar available in a Zombie Slayer run. It can also block or delevel enemies, or give bonus adventures.
- Reanimated Reanimator: Acts as a volleyball by default, can boost item drops, block attacks, increase meat drops, and attack (multiple times) with a combined total of 50 pounds. Also lets you make 3 wandering copies of a monster once a day. Probably the best familiar for this path.
- Clan VIP Lounge key: All furnishings are usable in Zombie Slayer:
- A Looking Glass: Useful Hatter buffs include +10 Muscle (bum cheek, lihc face, eyepatch), +50 HP (helmet turtle, viking helmet), +10 elemental damage (Knob Goblin elite helm), and +30% weapon damage (Crown of the Goblin King).
- A Fax Machine: Fax in the usual suspects (KGE, LFMs, ghost, etc.)
- April Shower: Five shards of double ice can be made into a double-ice cap, which provides a one round stun upon being hit. This is a very useful function when you're not killing things in one hit yourself. Shards are also useful in a pinch in combat. Otherwise, +5% Muscle gains will serve you well.
- A Pool Table: You'll mostly want Hustlin' for +10% items, but Billiards Belligerence's +50% weapon damage can come in handy as well (and also provides +item via the Reagnimated Gnome).
- An Olympic-Sized Swimming Pool: Use Silent Running to its full effect before you get Disquiet Riot. Make sure you can handle the +ML of Lapdog if you plan to take it. If you happen across a lost key, The Lost Glasses help you deal more damage and The Lost Pill Bottle can give you munchies pills, synthetic dog hair pills, and distension pills.
- A Pumpkin Patch, A Peppermint Patch, A Bone Garden, or A Winter Garden: Mutually exclusive, but all are useful.
- Pumpkins make good booze without needing base booze and provide the only yellow ray in Hardcore. The need for yellow rays is mitigated somewhat by Smash & Graaagh.
- Peppermints make the best possible booze, but require base booze. Crooks serve no purpose if you have Smash & Graaagh. Free runaways from the Peppermint parasol can speed up some zones, but you'll save fewer adventures than you can get from peppermint drinks. Cane-mail pants will noticeably enhance your survivability in combat and give a small, but useful bit of HP regen.
- Skeletons can be used to make some nifty items that reduce turn count. By making a Skeletal skiff, you can gain access to the Mysterious Island without spending any turns vacationing. Crystal skeleton vodka gives a nice effect, but costs a whole day's load to make one drink. Installing a Lazybones™ recliner can give you a great bonus if you need to recover, but is not very useful since you do not have access to free rest skills in Zombie Slayer runs. Bonestabber and Skeletal scabbard work great if you don't have a pair of bear arms, but are useless otherwise. Skeleton skis are largely redundant if you have Hunter's Sprint. Overall, you can save quite a few turns with the help of A Bone Garden, but the options are a bit limited for Zombie Slayer runs.
- Winter Gardening lets you potentially skip The Orc Chasm with snow boards, and the Ice Island Long Tea is a great nightcap. May turn out to be the best choice, but is not well understood yet.
- My Own Pen Pal kit: Not insanely powerful, but the giant clay ashtray autosells or functions well if you don't have the left bear arm; Pokëmann band-aids restore HP and provide DR without consuming zombies; the orange leather lanyard is a very helpful +15 damage accessory; and the monster pants provide a 57% crit rate with Virulence, which can trigger Skullcracker.
- Camp Scout backpack: These items really shine in this path. The CSA fire-starting kit provides a bit of HP regen, particularly helpful before Indefatigable; CSA scoutmaster's "water" is a decent nightcap, especially in the absence of garden drinks; the CSA obedience grenade can help when killing bosses or hunters; the CSA cheerfulness ration is a fantastic 4th drunkenness following pumpkin beer; and perhaps most useful is the CSA bravery badge, which is invaluable in completing higher-level quests as a lower-level, low-skilled Zombie Master.
In Normal runs, most of the equipment you would choose to pull still works. The biggest exceptions are shirts (which you cannot wear at all), and the Crown of Thrones, because most of your familiars are dead.
A high-budget Zombie Slayer may wish to use some of these wonderful toys:
- Can of Rain-Doh: The combat items are incredibly useful. The red wings give initiative and damage, and the black box lets you copy monsters.
- Operation Patriot Shield: Gives substats, weapon damage, HP, and HP regen. Throw Shield gives a 1-turn stun followed by a guaranteed critical hit.
- Juju Mojo Mask: The Zombie Master skills trigger the Gaze of the Volcano God intrinsic, for massive Muscle substats, bonus damage, elemental damage, and HP regen. Wrath of the Volcano God can be used against spectres if needed.
- Greatest American Pants: Free runaways! The Super Structure buff can help you survive tough fights, and the Super Vision is +25% items.
- Boris's Helm (askew): +ML for substats and better brains; +weight for your familiar; also gives initiative, weapon damage, and HP regen.
All of the signs are gutted by the zombie plague, but The Degrassi Knoll Bakery and Hardware Store remains intact, making The Mongoose the best sign for Zombie Masters. You have little or no need for the removed Innabox or mushroom plot, and the zero-turn meatcar, detuned radio, frilly skirt (for The Infiltrationist), and meat maid parts outweigh anything other signs might provide.
If you wish to take an un-friendly Degrassi Knoll sign for some reason, the +5 Familiar Weight from The Platypus is probably your best bet. If you must take a Gnomish Gnomads' Camp sign, consider The Blender, as +5 turns/day may exceed the use of +10% Muscle gains over the course of a long run.
Astral pilsners are your only option. The hot dogs don't contain brains and the energy drinks don't exist anymore.
- The astral belt is the ideal choice, and even low-skilled Zombie Masters can use it from turn 1 with Kodiak Moment -- assuming you have the bear arms. Not only does the belt give you more stats, but it also gives you access to better brains earlier in the run (though softcore Zombie Masters may be able to pull enough +ML to compensate).
- The astral mask comes in a distant second to help out in areas where Smash & Graaagh can't or won't always save you (F'c'le, Airship, etc.)
- The astral shield is available to everyone, and it provides a Muscle boost, HP regen, and a lot of DR, which can be useful early in the run. Can be useful with an Infectious Bite strategy for horde-building, until you find a decent weapon.
- The astral bludgeon's critical hit multiplier makes it possible to kill hunters when you'd otherwise have no chance, and its +Muscle and +damage are useful for the entire run. Note: unlike the Brimstone Bludgeon, this is two-handed.
- The astral mace is an excellent one-handed weapon with bonus damage, making early combat much easier. Useful with a "kill them before they can hit me" strategy. Works with a giant clay ashtray shield, if you have a Pen Pal. It can also be given to your Disembodied Hand, if you have one, to free up your hands for other gear. Gives Extra PvP Fights too. However, it must be unlocked (and Zombie Slayer runs don't count toward the unlock).
- The astral trousers provide several useful abilities, but can't be used during the Mysterious Island Quest (including while you Recover the Sisters' Meat, when the meat bonus would be most useful), or in Barrrney's Barrr or The F'c'le, or when fighting the Knob Goblin King.
- While Mysticality is useless in Zombie Slayer, the astral statuette (or astral bracer, if the statuette is unavailable) gives extra adventures per day, which may be useful to players who expect their runs to take many days.
The following is an analysis of all the skills available to a Zombie Master. Some skills will be more desirable after you bank skill points.
Generally speaking, the five most powerful skills in Zombie Slayer (where "power" is a function of turngen and turn savings) are:
- Neurogourmet: +20-30 adventures per day.
- Ravenous Pounce: +10-20 adventures per day (or more), and a critically useful combat skill.
- Howl of the Alpha: Unlimited Banishing (presumably up to 3 monsters at a time), leading to huge manipulation of quests.
- Smash & Graaagh: Forces items to drop. Trivializes certain quests and makes
allmost item drops much easier (the exception being The F'c'le).
- Disquiet Riot: -20% combat rate. Speeds up many quests and leveling by a large factor.
- Infectious Bite: Infects monsters and deals passive damage every turn (damage can be improved with certain skills) and can turn them into zombies for your horde. In the first few levels when you can one-shot monsters with the bite alone, you will gain zombies easily. This method becomes less practical later, as tougher monsters require more bites, and trying to infect tougher monsters may result in a huge loss of HP.
- Recruit Zombie: Spends adventures to add zombies to your horde. Adventures are scarce enough in Zombie Slayer, and there are much more efficient ways to recruit zombies. Do not use.
Hunger of the Zombie
Hunger of the Zombie focuses on adventure gains and defensive skills. Naturally, this skill tree is extremely important since brains don't generate as much turns as normal food, so it's vital for reducing day count. This skill tree also contains some passive skills that will heal you and reduce damage taken overall, and with Doc Galaktik gone, you will need them to keep your HP up.
- Bite Minion: Restores 10% of your HP, or a minimum of 10 HP. The basic healing skill. With Devour Minions, it will cure pretty much every status effect you'll encounter (including Beaten Up).
- Lure Minions: Exchange brains for zombies. Once you have Skullcracker, decent and good brains are an excellent and free way to fuel your horde.
- Undying Greed: +25% Meat drops. Won't really speed up your runs on its own, but helps fuel Summon Minion and Summon Horde.
- Hunter's Sprint: A massive boost to combat initiative. Makes combat immensely easier, saving tons of HP and hassle, and makes +ML a possibility. Also boosts modern zmobie appearance.
- Insatiable Hunger: +5 stomach capacity. That's an extra 10-20 adventures per day, depending on decent vs. good brains and Neurogourmet.
- Devour Minions: Restores 50% HP for 4 minions, and can be used in combat. More cost-effective than Bite Minion for pure healing, and makes combat stasis possible in The Junkyard. Also improves Bite Minion to heal negative effects (read: Beaten Up, Cunctatitis, etc.)
- Indefatigable: Provides tons of passive HP regen. Before level 10 or so (and with minimal +ML), this should cover almost all of your healing needs.
- Skullcracker: Doubles brain drops, and critical hits occasionally stuns opponents. This skill will make it possible to fill your 25 or 30 fullness each day; it's difficult to do otherwise, especially on crappy or decent brain turngen. Provides lots of fuel for Lure Minions, and the stunning happens more than you'd think.
- Neurogourmet: More adventures gained from brains. This will provide you with +(fullness) points per day, and +25 adv/day over 4 or more days provides more turns than almost any other skill will save.
- Ravenous Pounce: +5 stomach capacity, and an incredibly powerful combat skill. You can one-shot pretty much anything in the game with Ravenous Pounce while sitting at 0/25 or 0/30 fullness. A critical part of the Zombie Master's combat suite.
Anger of the Zombie
Anger of the Zombie focuses on combat effectiveness. Unlike the Avatars of Boris who get all the combat prowess they need from their other skill trees, it may be worth investing some points into this skill tree to make combat easier.
- Distracting Minion: Uses 1 zombie for an unblockable regular attack. Very effective when compared to normal attacks (especially because you can Fumble), but requires lots of Meat or brains to make it sustainable. Good for bosses and especially hunters.
- Plague Claws: Delevels opponents and increases the infection damage from Infectious Bite. Helps Infectious Bite swell your horde, if you're trying to do that, and the deleveling can help you kill harder monsters with normal attacks.
- Flesh Mob: Deals greater damage for 3 zombies, but doesn't always hit. Not a terribly useful skill when compared to Ravenous Pounce or normal attacks with Hunger-tree skills and/or Vigor Mortis.
- Elemental Obliviousness: Gives passive elemental resistances. Mostly a convenience skill, but saves farming stench resistance for Guano Junction and can help save turns at The Mist-Shrouded Peak if you have +combat and can scrounge up a few more levels of cold resistance.
- Vigor Mortis: A passive 30% boost to Muscle. Makes many fights much easier, and helps against the Naughty Sorceress. Generally lets you do things sooner than you would have without it.
- Virulence: Boosts critical hit chance and critical hits improve infections. Critical hits synergize with Skullcracker, and with an astral bludgeon you're looking at a 34% critical hit rate.
- Bilious Burst: Uses 5 zombies to deal elemental damage. Very expensive for the effect. Helps with ancient protector spirits, but you can generally make do without.
- Unyielding Flesh: Passively boosts DA and DR. Makes Infectious Bite a little more feasible, and generally reduces healing costs.
- Corpse Pile: Uses 3 zombies to stun monsters and deal damage. You can always use stunners, especially when flyering or fighting tough bosses.
- Howl of the Alpha: Banishes monsters, or deals heavy damage to unbanishable monsters. Just like Banishing Shout, this provides a way to manipulate the Adventure Queue without Transcendent Olfaction, and saves tons of turns on many quests. Very powerful.
Master of the Zombie
Master of the Zombie is a utility-oriented skill tree. It provides skills that provide useful buffs, and saves turns where Hunger generates them.
- Summon Minion: Summons a zombie for 100 meat. You don't use Meat for much in this path, so this skill and Lure Minions will be your primary sources of zombies. Later, you'll use Summon Horde for zombies and this skill for +combat.
- Zombie Chow: Sacrifices a zombie for 10 turns of +5 familiar weight. Effectively +~10% items or 0.5 - 1 stats per fight. A good skill to keep on all the time once you have it, since it's relatively cheap.
- Smash & Graaagh: Sacrifice 2 zombies to steal an item in a fashion similar to Rave Steal -- NOT Pickpocket!. This skill forces (i.e. a 100% chance!) any one of the current monster's non-conditional items to drop. Trivializes the Filthworms and Stomach of Steel quests, and makes any situation where you're collecting non-conditional items immensely less painful. Very powerful.
- Scavenge: Sacrifice 2 zombies for 10 turns of +20% items. +Item is useful in any path; this skill's usefulness is self-explanatory.
- Meat Shields: Your zombies will block incoming attacks for the rest of the current combat. A very useful skill for levels 11, 12, and 13 for those without access to Ravenous Pounce or similar combat skills. The block rate is very, very high, though you lose a zombie for every block. Very good for the Naughty Sorceress and final boss.
- Summon Horde: Summon 11-14 zombies for 1000 Meat. More cost-efficient than Summon Minion, and makes Summon Minion provide +20% combat; this singlehandedly makes The Lighthouse much less painful, and has several other uses as well.
- His Master's Voice: Passively boosts familiar weight by 5. Another +10% item or 0.5 - 1 stats per fight.
- Ag-grave-ation: Sacrifice 3 zombies for 10 turns of +30 ML. Once you can handle the ML, this skill (and the astral belt) are the best ways to increase the utility of combat adventures.
- Disquiet Riot: Sacrifice 5 zombies for 10 turns of -20% combats. Arguably saves more turns than any other Zombie Master skill, especially with how much it speeds up Gallery leveling. Very powerful.
- Zombie Maestro: Passively lowers all skill costs by 1 zombie (min. 1) and provides a combat skill. You won't use the combat skill if you have Ravenous Pounce, but the -1 zombie cost makes Pounce itself immensely more sustainable. Worth getting, especially if you'll have it early in a run where horde fuel is scarce.
Before ascending into a Zombie Slayer run, consider the functions that your familiars can provide:
- Item drops: Currently provided by the XO Skeleton, Reagnimated Gnome, Ghost of Crimbo Carols and the Reanimated Reanimator (collecting legs), and the latter only if you keep him as your active familiar most of the time. Having one of these is extremely helpful for improving item drops.
- Stat gains: The Hovering Skull can provide early-game Volleyball stats, and the Hovering Sombrero may take over later. Or you could use the Reanimator the entire time.
- HP restoration: After combat from the XO Skeleton or Ghuol Whelp (50% of the time) or during combat from the NPZR (rarely).
- Combat: The NPZR is helpful, and the Hovering Skull and Reagnimated Gnome will help while performing their primary functions. The Gnome, NPZR, and Mini-Skulldozer can block attacks, a very useful function when you're not killing things in one hit.
- Copying: The Reanimated Reanimator can copy monsters, producing three wandering copies which appear over time.
- Meat drops: The only familiar which can do this in Zombie Slayer is the Ghost of Crimbo Commerce. While you can alternatively use the Reanimator (if you order it to collect skulls), doing so will interfere with its leg (+item) collection, so this is not a recommended strategy for typical runs.
- Turn generation: The Reagnimated Gnome with the gnomish housemaid's kgnee occasionally generates adventures after combat.
Currently, no familiars are available in Zombie Slayer which provide banishing, free runaways, yellow ray disintegration, combat frequency modifiers or free fights.
List of available familiars
|Ghost of Crimbo Carols||Items + Special|| Increases item drops
Gives buffs during combat
|Ghost of Crimbo Cheer||Stats + Special|| Increases stat gains
Increases damage dealt
|Ghost of Crimbo Commerce||Meat + Special|| Increases meat gains
Provides occasional substat bonuses
|XO Skeleton||Items + Combat + Special|| Increases item drops
Drops Xes and Os after combat
Lets you steal an item from your opponent
|Reagnimated Gnome||Items|| Increases item drops
Blocks, attacks, delevels, or gives +adv via equipment
|Reanimated Reanimator||Stats + Special||Depends on setup||Mr. Store||
|Baby Z-Rex||Stats + Combat|| Increases stat gains
Attacks enemies (Spooky Damage)
|Twitch||Similar to Hovering Skull, but Spooky-aligned.|
|Hovering Skull||Stats|| Increases stat gains
|Common||Available in The Defiled Nook in-run.|
|Hovering Sombrero||Stats||Increases stat gains||Common||Created from items found South of the Border.|
|Gluttonous Green Ghost||Stats|| Increases stat gains
If given food,
|Mr. Store||There is no MP in this path.|
|Spirit Hobo||Stats|| Increases stat gains
If given booze,
|Mr. Store||There is no MP in this path.|
|Jill-O-Lantern||Stats|| Increases stat gains
|Mr. Store||Prohibitively expensive for most players.|
|Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot||Combat|| Restores HP/
Gives Meat in combat
|Requires rare item||There is no MP in this path.|
|Misshapen Animal Skeleton||Combat|| Attacks enemies (Spooky Damage)
|Common||While "common", still takes lots of effort to make.|
|Mini-Skulldozer||Combat|| Attacks enemies (Spooky Damage)
Blocks enemies' attacks
|Uncommon||Acquired indirectly from A Bone Garden.|
|Ghost Pickle on a Stick||Combat|| Attacks enemies
|Uncommon||Same as Misshapen Animal Skeleton, but does less damage.|
|Spooky Pirate Skeleton||Combat|| Attacks enemies (Spooky Damage)
|Common||Similar to Misshapen Animal Skeleton, but less effective.|
|Ghuol Whelp||Combat|| Restores HP/
||Common||There is no MP in this path.|
|Scary Death Orb||Combat|| Attacks enemies (Spooky Damage)
|Common||Only useful for masochistic 100% familiar runs.|
|Disembodied Hand||Special|| Provides buffs via equipped weapon
|Mr. Store||Can equip any 1-handed weapon (except chef-staves and accordions) regardless of whether the weapon's stat requirements are met.|
| Reassembled Blackbird
& Reconstituted Crow
|Special||Nothing||Common||Required for the level 11 quest.|
- In the early zones, always use Infectious Bite instead of attacking. This reduces meat/brain costs to recruit zombies for your horde later on.
- Synergetic skills:
- You cannot eat fortune cookies, so getting reliable semi-rares is problematic or impossible. The first semi-rare window is only 11 turns (71 to 81), so if you need one, this is the best window in which to brute force it. Since this window occurs so early in the run, your choices will be limited. Strong candidates include cyclops eyedrops, distilled fortified wine, the Knob Goblin Elite Guard Captain, scented massage oil, and Baa'baa'bu'ran. A Speakeasy bypasses this problem by making the Lucky Lindy drink available.
- Make use of your free daily ten-leaf clovers. Some possible uses include:
- Visiting The Haunted Kitchen for brains casseroles, which are much better than the crappy brains you are otherwise stuck with early on, and can help you reach 10 Mysticality to start wearing accessories. Only do this if you are desperate (probably just the first run or two).
- The Misspelled Cemetary (Post-Cyrpt), which will get you the disembodied brain you need to finish a Meat maid.
- Greatly speeding up both Guano Junction and Itznotyerzitz Mine.
- Speeding up The Smut Orc Logging Camp.
- Ravenous Pounce users should keep their stomachs empty as much as possible. If you find your Ravenous Pounce is no longer a one-hit-kill, it may be better to finish off your food and drink and save the adventures for the following day.
- Don't forget that Zombie Masters can operate fax machines.
- If you find yourself lost in the Violet Fog, grab a munchies pill. They work to their full effect with good or worse brains.
- Group Monsters are potentially the most effective and rewarding recruitment means if you have uses of Bear Hugs remaining. They swell your horde size by the size of the group (up to 20) when defeated with Bear Hug. However, note that they only give one horde size when turned using Infectious Bite. Group monsters appearing in Zombie Slayer path:
- Level 2:
- Level 5:
- swarm of Knob lice: size 20
- Level 7:
- Level 9:
- Level 10:
- Level 11:
- Level 12:
- War Hippy Dread Squad: size 2
- Level 13:
- Rag-tag band of survivors: size 4
There are many possible ways to get stench resistance for the Junction in hardcore.
- Spend the points for Elemental Obliviousness. Unfortunately that isn't a good idea unless you start with a lot of zombie skill points.
- If you get your first semi-rare at the Sleazy Back Alley during turns 70-80 you can try to get a bum cheek from a Rushing bum. The upside is that you get some epic booze, but the downside is that you are in a very low level zone.
- Try to get a Pine-Fresh air freshener from a pine bat. You don't get the chance of epic booze, but the monsters give slightly better stats than in the Sleazy Back Alley
- Wait until level 5 and use a harem veil. This is awesome if you can reach level 5 without spending turns leveling. If you have to level up, the downside is obvious.
- Wait until level 9 and hope for Whoompa Fur Pants or Polysniff Perfume.
- Wait until level 11 and use a can of black paint.
- Fax a screambat after receiving the quest, bypassing the Junction altogether. Unfortunately many people consider this a waste of a fax. (Since you could fax a 1000 ML butt and kill it with bear hug for enough stats to get from level 1 to 4 it seems easy to wait for level 5 and the harem veil.)
Don't forget to grab the talkative skull if you are so inclined.
You won't have Unaccompanied Miner, so mining will take actual turns (in addition to turns spent getting the outfit). In softcore, you can skip this by pulling ores. In hardcore, you can skip it by using 3 clovers to get the ores. This also bypasses the need for the mining outfit. A variant of this strategy is to use a single clover for 1 of each ore, then zap the undesired ones into the ones that you're looking for.
If you wish to bypass The eXtreme Slope, you'll need the ninja snowman assassin items and 5 levels of cold resistance. In softcore, the Super Structure buff from the Greatest American Pants will grant enough resistance. In hardcore, you could get 2 levels from Elemental Obliviousness, 2 from a can of black paint, and 1 from Oil of Parrrlay (if The F'c'le gives you one) or a titanium assault umbrella (Airship).
For low-skill hardcore runs, you'll almost certainly have to go up the slope instead.
With low +item availablity, you may want to clover for clues on A-boo Peak. Without Elemental Obliviousness you may have trouble surviving the full gauntlet of elemental damage when redeeming them, so delay as long as possible and remember your Muscle-class HP bonus.
Use Brother Flying Burrito's Blessing for the +item test in Twin Peak. You'll still need another +20% which can come from Scavenge if you have the skill points; otherwise, +10% from Baron von Ratsworth's monocle and +15% from Knob Goblin eyedrops. Stench resistance could be an issue since Elemental Obliviousness is in the tree you're most likely not to touch. Pray for pec oil or Oil of Parrrlay and postpone until can of black paint? Initiative for the end of Twin Peak is no problem (Hunter's Sprint). Smash & Graaagh can grab rusty hedge trimmers to speed things along.
Run +item in the Airship, and use Smash & Graaagh (if possible) against the Princess (until you get a titanium assault umbrella), Healer (until amulet) and Burly Sidekick (until mohawk wig). Once the Airship is complete, if you missed some of these, they're probably not worth backfarming.
If you have the bear arms, hug the ISOREs for 20 horde apiece.
Running +item in the basement of the Castle can help you pick up some pec oil, Squat-Thrust Magazines, and open sauce, which one of the better nightcaps available in hardcore, along with Ye Olde Meade (from the ground floor) and crystal skeleton vodka. You'll want even more giant booze if you aren't getting free booze from the Camp Scout Backpack, but they're probably not worth delaying completion of the zones for.
When killing ancient protector spirits, Bilious Burst is the obvious choice, but is deep into the final tree. Other good sources of elemental damage for Hardcore include Lapdog, the grungy bandana, various Hatter buffs, the stylish swimsuit, the double-ice cap, the imp unity ring, the hot plate, and possibly your Misshapen Animal Skeleton. If that fails, you can level up and get a war outfit.
If you have a right bear arm, Kodiak Moment deals substantial elemental damage, but can only be used once per combat. If you have Florist flowers, you can plant Skunk Cabbage, Deadly Cinnamon, or Celery Stalker.
Fighting for the frats, as usual, is the speediest route. Hardcore Zombie Masters should not try to complete the nuns. No, not even with an inhaler; it's not worth the turns without a Leprechaun. In softcore, your mileage may vary.
Smash & Graaagh trivializes the filthworm quest. Meat Shields can help with flyering -- remember that you can build up several turns of it by casting it multiple times in a fight. (Corpse Pile would also work, when you've got the points for that.) Using Plague Claws without Infectious Bite will delevel opponents, which should help against the gremlins. (The Reagnimated Gnome with the gnomish athlete's foot also delevels, as does the Bear-ly Legal skill.) And of course, Summon Horde gives you the ability to increase combat rate (by casting Summon Minion, not Summon Horde) for Sonofa Beach.
You don't need the Wand of Nagamar to beat the Sorceress's third form, so you can skip the letter hunting. However, you will need all the keys. Since you can't eat key lime pies, for softcore this means you will either need to do the Daily Dungeon or The GameInformPowerDailyPro Dungeon, or get the zap wand. (For 2-day softcore, you must either get the zap wand, or do a combination of the Daily Dungeon and GameInform dungeons, as you won't have time to do 3 Daily Dungeon trips.)
For the digital key, you can fax a ghost (repeatedly in hardcore, or copying it in softcore). The ghost can't hurt you, so it's a "safe" early game fax in hardcore. Softcore players may also choose to pull a Crackpot Mystic jar or 8-bit magazine and banish all but the morbid skull or ghost (once they have Howl of the Alpha). An odor extractor may also be used to speed up the hunt for Bloopers if you have to fall back on that zone.
For the star key, you can open the Hole in the Sky and adventure for the stars and lines manually. In softcore, you can also fax a skinflute and copy it several times.
Tower monsters may be killed if you have Howl of the Alpha and a bunch of horde. Softcore players may also be able to tower-kill the same way they do in non-challenge paths, using Meat Shields as the primary blocking source, and with Rain-Doh combat items, a navel ring and/or the Reagnimated Gnome with its lung as secondary sources. Untested!
For the 2 Familiar fights, you MUST have at least 10 zombies in your Horde, or else you will lose the fight.
Meat Shields makes the Naughty Sorceress fight significantly easier. It goes away after form 1 (unless you have cast it more than once so it has more than one turn in effect), but it remains in place at the end of form 2, so you get it "for free" on form 3.
|Rankings:||HC Skills - HC Familiars - HC IotMs|
|General:||Class selection - Familiar usage - Semi-rares - Clovers|
|Paths:||BHY - Fist - AoB - BI - ZS - AoJ - BIG! - KOLHS - CA2 - AoSP - SS - HR - Picky - Ed - Random - AoWoL - Source - NA - GN - LtA - L.A.R. - PF - G-Lover - DD|
|Additional Paths:||DG - 2CRS - KoE - PotP - LKS - GG - Y,Robot|
|IotMs:||Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist|