The Fanatasy Role-Playing Game of Medieval Germany



Playing Darklands




Medieval Germany is a dangerous and violent place. Therefore, from time to time, your party must fight. Sometimes you can even start a fight. Such options are frequently available in interactions.

You observe all battles from an overhead view. The ceiling and walls are "cut away" to show your characters and the enemy moving and fighting.

The battle begins "paused," that is, with the action frozen and the party leader highlighted. You can evaluate the situation, then gives orders to your leader, and/or any other characters, as you wish.

When you're ready to watch the action either tap the Space bar key, or select "Resume" in the "Orders" pull-down menu. This starts the battle. You see all moving and fighting in "real time"; that is both sides move and fight simultaneously.

To pause the battle again for new orders, simply select any of your characters (with a mouse-click on the character, or by tapping the appropriate number key), or tap the Space bar. The action stops and you can give new orders.

Remember, battles begin in "pause," waiting for your orders.

You must tap the Space bar or select "Resume" from the "Orders" pull-down menu to start action.


Basic Battle Controls

Battles have two states: "orders pause" and "real-time action." During the orders pause, action is frozen, allowing you to examine the situation and select orders for your characters. During real-time action, you watch the characters act out your orders, fight the enemy, etc.

ORDERS PAUSE: You can create an "orders pause" at any time during the battle.

The Space bar is an orders pause "toggle". If the battle is paused, tap the Space bar to resume real-time action. If the battle is in real-time, tap the Space bar for orders pause.

Selecting any character also causes an orders pause. You select a character by left-clicking on his or her animating figure on the battlefield. You can also select a character by tapping the number key for that character of the party (1 through 5). The character in the top left character box is number 1, the next down is number 2, etc. Use the number keys across the top of the keyboard, not those on the numeric keypad.

BATTLEFIELD VIEW: Normally the battlefield view tries to follow the party leader. However, you can scroll the entire battlefield view using the mouse or keyboard.

If using a mouse, move the cursor near the edge of the battlefield. The pointer will turn into an arrow. Now tap the Shift key. Each tap scrolls the battlefield a small amount. If you hold down the Shift key, the battlefield scrolls a large amount.

If using the keyboard, just hold down the Shift and tap the appropriate cursor key.

To return the view to "follow the leader, "you must select a party leader (by tapping ctrl F1, ctrl F2, etc., or holding down the Control key and clicking in the appropriate character box).

Warning: Whenever the mouse is active, be very careful with the use of the Shift key. You can unintentionally scroll the battlefield by holding the Shift down to long.

GIVING ORDERS: Orders normally have three steps:(1) select the character; (2) give the order, and usually; (3) select the target or destination.

Select the Character: To select a character with the mouse, left-click on the character on the battlefield; if using the keyboard, press appropriate number key (1 through 5). Whenever you use the Space bar to pause, or at the start of the battle, the party leader is selected automatically. You can switch to another character by simply clicking or hitting the appropriate key for that character.

If the character is currently not in view, the battlefield automatically centers the view on the character when you tap the appropriate number key.

Give an Order: To give an order with the mouse, hold down the right button to reveal the menu bar. Continue holding the button down to choose an appropriate selection from the "Orders" or "Attack" sub-menus.

If using the keyboard, you can either press the appropriate letter key for the order, or use the menu bar. To use the menu bar with keyboard, first tap F10 to show the menu bar, then use the cursor keys to navigate the highlight, finally tap Return to conclude your selection.

If the order does not require a target or destination, giving the order is all you need to do. Select another character or restart the real-time action.

Give Target or Destination: Most orders require a target toward which characters move, attack, use missiles, throw potions, etc. If a target is required, the screen pointer changes shape. When using a mouse, the pointer doesn't change shape until you hold down the left mouse button. If using the keyboard, use the directional keys (including the numeric keypad, which allows diagonal movement with 1, 3, 7, and 9) to position the pointer.

You can maneuver the target pointer around the screen to discover the "legal" targets available. Certain orders are not allowed in certain locations; an error symbol indicates this. To finish your selection with a mouse, just release the left button. To finish your selection with the keyboard, tap the Return key (to finish for that character). To finish orders for the entire party, tap the Space bar instead.

In some cases the target pointer only appears on certain parts of the battlefield. This is another way of indicating that only those areas or enemies can be targeted.

Notes: The "Orders" pull-down menu has various general options. Only those currently allowed appear in black. The "Attack" pull-down menu has specific combat instructions for individual characters.

The current order for a character appears as a letter in the lower left corner of the character box. This letter is the same as the keyboard key for that order.

CHANGING CHARACTERS: When you finish giving orders to�one character, you can immediately select another.

Warning: If you don't finish giving orders to a character and select another character, the first character (who only got partial orders) will be quite confused. The character may do nothing, or something entirely unexpected. The most frequent error is to forget to specify a destination for movement, or a target for an attack. Therefore, make sure orders to one character are finished before you start another.

CANCEL ORDERS-IN-PROGRESS: To cancel orders in progress, just tap the Escape (Esc) key. This erases any orders partly given. However, once orders are completed, the only way to erase them is to give the character new orders.

RESUME REAL-TIME ACTION: To end the orders pause and resume real-time action, either select "Resume" from the "Group" pull-down menu bar, or tap the Space bar.


Basic Battle Information

PROXIMITY MESSAGES: When a character moves close to a stairway, ladder, door, trap (if the character spots it), exit, etc., a message noting this appears in the character box in the character box on the left side of the screen.

These messages have a lower priority than the battle results. Therefore, if the double bar graphs showing combat results are present, no messages will appear. Of course, a character could still use stairways, exits, etc. Check the "Orders" pull-down menu to see which items are in black (i.e., are currently allowed).

DAMAGE VALUES: As you watch the "real-time" combat action, whenever a character is hurt by a blow, missile, alchemical effect, etc., a small number (the Damage value) appears above him or her. This is the amount of endurance lost by the character. Strength losses may occur, but strength losses are never larger than endurance losses.

White numbers indicate endurance loss to one of your characters.

Red numbers indicate endurance loss to one of your opponents in the battle.

BAR GRAPHS: When one of your characters engages an enemy, either in hand-to-hand combat or with missile fire, the bar graphs for endurance, strength and divine favor in the character boxes double. In each category the left bar shows the current level for your character while the right bar shows the current level for the enemy. The bar graphs only show percentage remaining; just because the enemy level is below yours doesn't necessarily mean the enemy is weaker.


Default Orders and Indepentent Action

At the start of a battle, no characters have orders, but the battle is in "orders pause" with the party leader already selected. You can ignore the opportunity to give orders by tapping the Space bar or selecting "Resume" from the "Orders" pull-down menu.

If a character lacks orders, he or she simply stands in place, bravely ignoring any missiles. If an enemy comes close enough to fight hand-to-hand, the character will fight back.

INDEPENDENT ACTION: Once a character is in hand-to-hand combat, the character continues fighting until the enemy is downed. Then the character will seek out additional enemies to attack, the nearest first. Of course, you can always give the character other orders.


Exploring: "Orders" Pull-down Menu

The "Orders" menu contains options for moving about, opening doors, moving up and down stairways (or ladders), examining chests, picking locks, looting the fallen, etc. Orders only appear in solid black when they are allowed. Therefore, if there are no stairways to climb or doors to open, those options always remain gray and unavailable.

To fight the enemies, use the "Attack" menu. The "Orders" menu is for moving about and performing non-combat tasks.

RESUME (Space Bar): This ends the orders process and resumes real-time action.

[NICKNAME] FINISHED (Return key): This ends the orders for the named character, but the battle remains paused. If the orders were incomplete, the character reverts to his or her previous orders.

You should now give more orders or select "Resume".

ENEMY INFO (e key): This is a toggle. Selecting this once replaces the character boxes with information about the enemies face. Selecting this option again restores the character boxes.

WALK TOWARDS (w key): This key moves an individual character (or entire party if moving as a group). You must specify a destination.

Normally just an individual character moves. However, if "Travel Single File" are selected, the party moves as a whole. See "Group Travel," for details.

While moving, the character or group might encounter enemies. If they get within hand-to-hand combat range, the character or group always stops and fights.

Also see "Exploration and Real-time".

FLEE TOWARDS (f key): This is the same as walking, except the character group does not stop to fight enemies. Instead, they keep moving toward their destination. This means enemies can strike while the character or group reaches their destination. This means enemies can strike while the character or group does not strike back. Once the character or group reaches their destination, they stop "ignoring" enemies and fight with those who come within reach.

HALT (h key): The selected character stops and stands in place. He or she defends against the first enemy that attacks hand-to-hand but otherwise does nothing.

TRAVEL AS GROUP (g key): See "Group Travel," for details.

TRAVEL SINGLE FILE (q key): See "Group Travel," for details.

USE DOOR (u key): The selected character (if moving individually) or the leader (if a group) opens the nearest door. This option only appears if a door is very close to the appropriate character.

When moving as a group, the door used is always that closest to the leading character.

If the door is locked then "Pick Lock" and/or "Dissolve lock" may appear. If the door has a trap, then "Disarm Trap" may appear. It's always wise to view this pull-down menu before trying to open a door.

Sometimes doors lead to hidden areas previously invisible to your view. In this case, using the door may cause the character to disappear through the door, as if he or she were using a stairway. See "portals."

USE STAIRS (u key): The selected character (if moving individually) or the leader (if a group) uses the nearest stairway (or ladder). This option only appears if the appropriate character is at a stairway. When moving as a group, the stairway used is the one closest to the leading character (character number one(1)).

Stairways (and ladders) are always portals to different areas. See "portals" {** ", below, for details"}.

OPEN CHEST (o key): The selected character (if moving individually) or the leader (if as a group) opens a chest to see what's inside. This option only appears if the appropriate character is beside a chest.

If there are any items of value or interest, the Item Exchange Scrolls appear (see "Universal Controls and Menu Bar" for more information). When you select "Leave" from the Item Exchange Scrolls, you return to your battlefield view.

Although virtually all chests are locked, most of them can be broken open. Only extremely solid, sturdy chests require you to pick the lock before opening the chest. In this cases, "Pick Lock" appears on the "Orders" menu. If a chest is protected by a trap, "Disarm Trap" appears on the "Orders" menu.

PICK LOCK (p key): The selected character (if moving individually) or the leader (if a group) attempts to pick the nearest chest or door. This option only appears when a locked door or chest is close to the character.

Lockpick attempts depend upon the character's tools and artifice skill. A character can attempt this without special tools, but the chances of success are usually quite small. If a lock is protected by a trap, "Disarm Trap" appears on the "Orders"menu.

DISSOLVE LOCK WITH EATER-WATER (d key): The selected character (if moving individually) or the leader (if a group) uses an Eater-Water potion to dissolve a lock. This is equivalent to picking it. Naturally, the option is only available if the appropriate character is at the lock and has at least one Eater-Water potion.

Eater-Water potion can not be used on traps.

DISARM TRAP (d key): The selected character (if moving individually) or leader (if as a group) attempts to disarm a trap on a chest. This option only appears when a trapped chest is close to the character. Disarming depends primarily upon a character's artifice skill, and secondarily upon his or her intelligence and perception. In all cases it is affected by the difficulty of the trap.

Sometimes characters may stumble over traps in the floor or wall. Perceptive characters with artifice skill are most likely to notice these. If you spot such a trap before triggering it, adjust your movement to avoid it or suffer the consequences. These traps can not be disarmed.

SURRENDER (s key): When you select this option, your entire party surrenders to the enemy. Your characters will lay down their arms and cease resisting the enemy attack.

Beware: In some cases, the enemy will show no mercy. Most humans will take prisoners, but wild animals may kill and/or eat one or all of the party.

LOOT BODIES (l key): Whenever you defeat a group of enemies, you automatically have a chance to loot their bodies. However, in large battles you may wish to leave some loot behind, then return later and get more. To do this move the character or group next to the "body" symbol, then select this option (or tap the "l" key). The item exchange scrolls appear (see "Travel and Interaction, Item Exchange Scrolls," {** "pp28,"} for details).

EXIT BATTLEFIELD (x key): If the selected character is on the edge of the battlefield, this option is available. Selecting this option causes the character to leave the battle area. In effect, the character "runs away" from the enemy.

If all functional characters have run away, leaving only the exhausted behind (i.e., characters who collapsed because their endurance reached zero), the battle automatically ends. Those left behind may suffer a variety of fates, depending upon the enemy. Looting, imprisonment and and/or death are common.

CANCEL LAST ORDER (Escape or Esc key): This cancels whatever order you are giving to an individual or the entire group. The character or group reverts to their initial orders.

ORDERS WITHOUT TARGETS: From the above group, the only orders that require targets are "Walk towards" and "Flee towards." All others automatically apply to the nearest target available unless the character or group leader is very close to the target.



When a character uses stairways, ladders or certain special doorways, he or she temporarily disappears from the battlefield. The character is now waiting at the other end of the stairway, ladder, or doorway for the rest of the party. When all surviving members of the party use that same doorway, stairway, or ladder, the entire view changes to the new scene, at the other end of the stairway or door.

RECALL FROM A PORTAL: After a character "uses" a door or stairway, he or she can be recalled. Tap the appropriate number key (1 through 5) to see the character, then tap the "u" key (or select "Use stairs" from the pull-down menu) to return. This is the only order available for that character. The Character will appear in the door or on the stairway. You cannot use the mouse to recall characters--because the characters are beyond your view!

MULTIPLE PORTALS: Different doors and stairways may lead to different places. If part of the party uses one, and part another, the view will never shift to a new scene. Instead, you will still see the old battlefield, with nobody on it! In this case, recall some of the characters and move them to join the others, until everyone has passed into the same door or stairway.


Group Mode

Group mode exists as a convenience for long journeys. It allows you to move the entire party as a group, rather than one by one. Group mode is prohibited if any character is fighting hand-to-hand. In fact, group mode is a disadvantage whenever combat threatens. You should give individual orders when fighting.

Whenever you select a group mode (either "Travel as group" or "Travel Single File") the number one character (the character whose box is in the upper left) automatically becomes group leader.

TRAVEL AS GROUP (g key): This means the party moves in a fan-formation that allows everyone to face front. It is an adequate fighting formation, but cannot fit down narrow corridors.

To begin, "Travel as group," use the mouse or keyboard to select it from the "Orders" pull-down menu, or tap the "g" key. If you look at the pull-down menu again, you'll see a checkmark beside "Travel as group."

Next, you must select a target for the group. The characters in the party will attempt to assemble into a group here. If the party is too widely scattered, some or all may be unable to assemble. In that case, give "Walk toward" orders to individuals to move them closer together, and try again.

TRAVEL SINGLE FILE (q key): This means the party moves in single file, with character number one in the lead, then number two, etc., until the last brings up the rear. Although usually poor fighting, this is the only way a group can move through narrow passages.

To begin "Travel Single File," use the mouse or keyboard to select that from the "Orders" pull-down menu, or tap the "q" key. If you look at the pull-down menu again, you'll see a check-mark beside "Travel Single File".

Unlike "Travel as group," you need not specify a target point when entering this mode. The characters in the party automatically assemble behind the number one character (character whose box is in the upper left on the screen). Of course, you still must use destinations when moving {** "(see below)"}.

As in "Travel as group," if the party is too widely scattered, some or all may be able to assemble. In that case, give, "Walk towards" orders to individuals to move them closer together, then try again.

MOVING A GROUP: When the party is in group mode, it is always waiting for movement orders. Simply left-click the mouse to specify the destination for "Walk toward" movement. If using the keyboard, you must tap "w" or select the "Walk toward" from the "Orders" pull-down menu, move the cursor to the destination, then tap Return.

Also see "Exploration and Real-time," {** "below"}.

SPECIAL ORDERS: In addition to moving, if the group approaches certain points, other exploration orders are possible. The options available depend on how close the current Party Leader is to the object. Other members of the group cannot open doors, disarm traps, etc.. To have them do such, you must either change party leadership or give them an individual order (which ends group mode).

If you use a stairway, ladder or special doorway in group mode, the entire party moves through the portal.

Important: Unlike individual orders, you do not select a specific character for group orders. Instead, you just give on thing: either a destination (for movement), or a specific action (for other exploration orders, like opening doors, etc.).

EXITING GROUP MODE: To leave group mode, you must deliberately "turn off" group mode by selecting the check-marked item on the "orders" pull-down menu (either "Travel as group" or "Travel Single File"). This toggles "off" the group mode. Tapping the appropriate group movement key (g or q) also toggles off the group mode.


Fighting: The "Attacks" Pull-down Menu

All attack orders are given to individual characters. All attacks must have a target, selected by either a mouse left-click or the cursor and Return keys. If you specify none, then the orders are discarded and the character reverts to his or her previous order.

THROW POTION (t key): The selected character throws a potion at any allowed target. Characters cannot throw over friendly or enemy characters. A less skillful thrower must avoid friends by a wide margin, while a more skillful thrower can throw right past friends with a very narrow margin.

This option includes a sub-menu of all potions that a character can throw. To select the target point, left-click the mouse, or use the cursor keys (including the numeric keypad) and tap Return.

If the target is a location, the thrower ignores the movement of friends or enemies and simply throws at the spot. If the target is a person, the thrower maintains his or her aim at that person, trying to throw at where they are moving toward, rather than their current position.

Notice that throwing skill determines how much friends or enemies block a throw. Assuming the target can be hit, the potion hits the target, regardless of skill level. Please bear in mind that throwing a potion takes time (potions require the alchemist to do some special mixing, lighting, etc., just before they are thrown).

ATTACK (a key): The selected character attacks a specific target in hand-to-hand combat. To choose the target, left-click the mouse, or move the pointer with cursor keys and tap Return. The target must be a specific enemy. If the enemy is not adjacent, the attacker will move toward that enemy, seeking to engage them.

Standard "attack" orders tell the character to balance his or her fighting methods, alternating between strikes and parries. The character simply tries to hit the target, without aiming at any special spots.

Characters cannot attack enemies out of sight or otherwise invisible.

VULNERABLE (v key): This is a special tactic for hand-to-hand combat. Orders are given exactly like the normal attack; i.e., an enemy target must be specified by mouse left-click, or by moving the pointer with the cursor keys and tapping Return.

"Vulnerable" orders tell the character to seek out weak spots in the target's armor. Therefore, the character's strikes are slower, the chance of hitting is unaffected, and the chance of penetrating is higher. The character's defensive abilities are equivalent to the standard attack above.

BERSERK (b key): This is a special tactic for hand-to-hand combat. Orders are given exactly like normal attack.

"Berserk" orders tell a character to make an all-out attack on the enemy, as quickly as possible, without regard to his or her safety (like Viking "Berserkers" of the Dark Ages). The character strikes more swiftly, with an increased chance of hitting, but is much more vulnerable to being hit. Of course, the character's armor will still deflect or reduce the damage of non-penetrating blows.

PARRY (p key): This is a special tactic for hand-to-hand combat. Orders are given exactly like the normal attack; i.e., an enemy must be specified by mouse left-click, or by moving the pointer with the cursor keys and tapping Return. This specifies which enemy the character primarily faces, and against whom any counter-attacks are directed.

"Parry" orders tell a character to concentrate on defense. This reduces the chance of enemy hand-to-hand strikes hitting the character. However, it also means the character's strikes occur more slowly, and have less chance of hitting. Should the character hit, penetration and damage abilities remain normal.

USE MISSILE (m key): The selected character fires his or her missile weapon against a target selected by either a mouse left-click, or by moving the pointer with cursor keys and tapping Return. This includes thrown weapons, bows, crossbows, and/or handguns.

The character fires missiles as fast as possible at that target, as long as circumstances permit.

As in throwing potions, missiles cannot be fired directly through friends or enemies to a target beyond. Also like potions, the firer's skill determines how close he or she may aim past an obstruction to hit a target farther away.

A character firing missiles who is attacked hand-to-hand automatically stops firing and switches to hand-to-hand weapon listed on the in-use board (see "Character Information" {** "; pp22,"}). The character then adopts "Attack" orders against the enemy.

ENLIGHTENED SELF-INTEREST: During hand-to-hand�combat, your characters sometimes make their own decisions about which attack orders to use. You may see either "Attack" or "Vulnerable" orders change to either "Attack," "Vulnerable," or "Parry" depending on the situation. You can override these orders by giving your own, of course. "Parry" or "Berserker" orders are never overridden by enlightened self-interest. A character retains these orders until given new ones.


Special Situations

MANY-ON-ONE: In hand-to-hand fighting, sometimes multiple enemies are fighting one character, or vice versa. In such cases, the "one" attempts to defend against all, while still striking his or her selected target. However, the one's chance of hitting declines, while each of the "many" has an improved chance. The amount of change depends on how many simultaneously face the one.

Therefore, "many-on-one" situations are extremely favorable to the "many." Achieving such situations against the enemy, and avoiding them against yourself, is an important tactic. In general, no more than three or four characters can find space to surround and simultaneously attack one character.

TRAPS: In certain areas your party may encounter deadly traps. Perceptive characters may see them before triggering them, allowing you to avoid them or disarm them. Unperceptive characters are more likely to blunder into them. If this happens quickly change your orders to prevent any more characters from blundering into the trap.


Exploration and Real-time

If none of your party is involved in hand-to-hand combat, you may take advantage of certain special controls while the battle is in real-time. These controls are intended solely to make exploration easier in larger areas. They are not recommended whenever combat threatens. Remember, to use these controls you must switch from orders pause to real-time.

PARTY LEADER REAL-TIME CONTROL: If group mode is not active, then during non-combat real-time you can maneuver the party leader (only) around the battlefield by left-clicking destinations with the mouse. If using the keyboard, simply hold an appropriate cursor key to direct the leader's movement. In both cases, the leader is using "Walk toward" orders.

The leader can also perform various exploration orders (depending on what's near the leader) using either the pull-down menu or appropriate keyboard key.

GROUP REAL-TIME CONTROL: When group mode is active, you can maneuver the entire group on the battlefield.

When group mode is "Travel Single File," group movement works just like that of the party leader above. That is, left-click destinations with the mouse, or hold down the cursor keys to control movement directly. The movement you control is the party leader. The remainder of the party follows behind.

When the group mode is "Travel as group," you can still left-click destinations with the mouse. With the keyboard you must tap the "w" key, use the cursor keys to indicate the destination point, then tap Return.

In both "Travel Single File" and "Travel as group," the current party leader can perform various exploration orders using either the pull-down menu or the appropriate keyboard key.


Battle Results

COLLAPSE: A character collapses whenever his or her endurance reaches zero (0). Once unconscious, the character will not reawaken for the duration of the fight. Unconscious characters are not dead.

DEATH: A character dies whenever his or her strength reaches zero (0). Once dead, a character can never be resurrected. No amount of potions or saintly aid can reverse death. Therefore, you are advised to provide such aid to a character before they die!

VICTORY: You are victorious when all enemies are "downed" by collapse and/or death. In simple fights this ends the battle. In more complex situations, it may only eliminate the immediate problem. In either case, you normally get a chance to examine the bodies, taking anything that appears useful. See "Travel and Interaction, Item Exchange Scrolls" {** ", pp28,"} for details.

ESCAPE OR RETREAT: Your party escapes, retreats, or bypasses the enemy whenever all survivors exit the battlefield. The fate of any characters who collapsed on the battlefield depends on the situation. They might crawl away unobserved and rejoin you. Other times they are captured. Sometimes they are put to death or eaten!

SURRENDER: This option also ends the battle. Again, results vary, depending on the motivations of your opponent(s). With luck, at least some survive.

DEFEAT: This option occurs when the entire party collapses and/or dies on the battlefield. Collapsed characters are entirely at the mercy of the enemy. Results vary, depending on the opponent.

DEATH OF ALL: If the entire party dies, then the game ends. If the party's fame is sufficient, it is recorded in the Hall of Fame. {* see note about "Hall of Fame"} Now it's time to create some new characters and try again!



Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 by MicroProse Software, Inc. All rights reserved.