The Fanatasy Role-Playing Game of Medieval Germany



Quickstart Tutorial


This is a fast, casual overview of Darklands. It is designed to get you playing quickly. For specific questions, details and special options, or step-by-step instructions, refer to the appropriate section in "Playing Darklands." {** It is here the original manual continues: "On the back cover of this booklet is a quick summary of all keyboard commands. You may find it handy, especially if you lack a mouse." The manual's back cover contains no suck quick reference that I am aware of. This may be due to either changes made to programmatic control near print time, or other factor related to design or printing. At any rate, a separate controls refernce sheet was included with the game which listed "Keyboard General Commands" on one side of the card, and "Keyboard Battle Commands on its reverse.}


Keyboard and Mouse

MOUSE: Darklands can be operated with mouse and/or keyboard. With the mouse, you "left-click" (click the left button) to select items, or occasionally "left-down" (hold down the left button) to "drag" items from one spot to another on the screen.

Most selectable options highlight as you move over them. Scrolling lists of items have a "scroll bar" at the top and bottom. Left-clicking on this bar moves the highlight up or down.

The right button activates the hidden menu bar. Right-down reveals the menu bar and allows you to select menu items. To choose options, move the mouse (with the button still down) to the item desired, then release the button.

KEYBOARD: All mouse selections have keyboard equivalents. This allows you to mix and match mouse and/or keyboard commands in whatever way you feel is most efficient. {** the original manual adds: "In general, the design concept is a simplification of that used in MicroSoft Windows® and the Apple Macintosh."}

Some options have a highlight, movable by cursor keys; tap the Return key to make your selection. Other options have a crimson letter (the first capital letter, if you're colorblind). Tap that character (on the keyboard) for that action. Complex situations include both: move the highlight first, then tap the appropriate crimson letter. In a few cases the options may not be on the screen (especially in Character Information); here you must refer to the back manual cover for appropriate "action" keys.

The cursor keys include not just the traditional arrow keys, but also the numeric keypad. This means that 1, 3, 7 and 9 can be used for diagonal movement on the map or in battle.

To use the menu bar, tap F10, move the highlight with the cursor keys, then tap Return to make your selection. To leave the menu bar without making a selection, tap F10 again. Note that most menu bar actions include the names of a keyboard shortcut.


Installaion, Setup and Loading

{** The original manual references: "See the accompanying 'Installation & Suppliment' booklet for details on installing, configuring (setup) and loading the game." You can find these detaoils as an addendum at the end of this document and in the program's README.TXT file.}

After you load, when the animated opening ends, select the "Quickstart" option. This bypasses the character generation sequence (if you're interested in that, see "Creating Characters," {**, "pp13"} for details).


Party and Goals

Your goal is fame. The more you get, the longer you'll be remembered. Accomplishing great tasks, righting wrongs, or just participating in significant activities can improve your fame.

To see your current fame, money, and other information, tap F6 for party information.


Character Information

You may be curious about the characters in your party. To see information about a character, left-click on the appropriate character box (along the left side of the screen) or tap F1 through F5. Incidentally, these character boxes have bar graphs showing the character's current endurance, strength and DF (divine favor), with the numeric value beneath. In Darklands these three values fluctuate the most, hence their constant visibility.

This screen presents full information about a character. You can left-click on a board (or move the highlight box and tap Return) for more information. Equipment, Formulae, and Saints open up scrolling lists.

To use a specific weapon or wear specific armor, highlight the item and tap "a." To use a specific potion, tap "p." To try to use a relic's special powers, tap "r." To discard an item forever (i.e., just get rid of it), tap "d." To transfer an item to another character, tap "1" through "5" to indicate the character. If using a mouse, you can left-drag an item to another character box, or onto the armament board (which lists current weapons and armor). You must still use the keyboard for discards.

The formulae list is for reference. Selecting a formula gives you information, nothing more.

The saint list not only describes what a saint can do, but also allows you to pray for miraculous aid at that instant. Of course, the character's divine favor (DF) will be reduced. Fortunately, elsewhere in Darklands you can regain this.

To exit character information, left-click or press the function key that matches the highlighted character box (the small box on the left side of the screen).

PARTY LEADERSHIP: Any of your characters can be the party leader and spokesperson. You can assign a new leader by going to their Character Information and left-clicking on "Not Leader." However, a faster way is simply to hold down the Control (ctrl) key and tap a function key, from F1 to F5.


From Recreation to Travel

AT THE INN: When you leave character information, you're back at the initial gathering of your party, planning your adventure. The options available here are typical of many interactions throughout the game. Select "...spend some time here..." to stay at the local inn.

Incidentally, on screens with these menu options, you can get hints and help by holding down the shift key while you move the highlight over the options. The amount of help depends on the difficulty level selected.

At the inn, select the "...take up residence..." (staying here) option. It allows you to select different daily activities for each of your characters, including prayer (to regain divine favor), regaining strength (to recover from wounds), study and training (if you've found any teachers), earning money (useful if there's nothing better happening), and alchemy work. To operate this screen, move the highlight to a character name, then left-click or tap the crimson letter to select his or her activity. When you're finished, pick one of the two options at the bottom ("Spend a day..." or "Leave").

The "Alchemy-work" option allows a character to create specific potions. First you select a formula. Next you see your chances of success and the ingredients required. If you have sufficient ingredients and skill, you can make one or more potions of that type. All this is just planning--the actual work only occurs after you return to the original staying here options and select "Spend a day..."

TRAVEL: To leave the city, go from the inn to the main street, and from there go to a main gate and just walk out. You now see yourself on the travel map. To travel, either use cursor keys or left-click on a destination.



Just to learn more, let's provoke a fight. The easiest way is to return to the city you just left, go up to the main gate during daylight, and attack the guards there.

Battles have two states: an "orders pause" and "real-time action." During the orders pause you can give orders to each character in your party. During real-time action, you watch the battle occur. You can stop the action for more orders as frequently as you wish.

Battle starts in "orders pause," waiting for you to give orders to characters. In fact, the party leader is already selected, as a reminder that you are in orders pause.

To start up the battle and simply watch the action, tap the Space bar.

ORDERS: In general, to issue orders, you (1) select a character, (2) select an; order, and sometimes (3) select a target or destination.

To select a character, either left-click on one of your characters, or tap a number key from "1" to "5" (use the number keys across the top of the keyboard, not the numeric keypad). This immediately puts the battle into "orders pause."

You can also tap the Space bar to create an orders pause, then select a character (or simply give orders to the party leader, who is automatically selected in this case).

To select an order, use the pull-down "Orders" or "Attack" menus. The most useful options are "Move toward," "Attack," "Use Missile" (if the character has a missile weapon) and "Throw Potion" (if the character carries potions). If ordered to attack, a character will move toward the enemy until within weapon range, then start attacking.

Finally, to select a target or destination, hold down the left mouse button. The mouse pointer changes shape. When you release the button, the point of release becomes the new target or destination. When using the keyboard, use the cursor keys to move the target symbol, then tap Return.

Once orders to a character are finished, you can give orders to another character, or start real-time action.

Feel free to select various orders. For a quick battle, give each character orders to attack a different guardsman.

REAL-TIME ACTION: To start real-time action, tap the Space bar.

COMBAT: When a character targets an enemy, the character box bar graphs double up, showing endurance, strength and DF for both the character (on the left) and the opponent (on the right).

When a character scores a hit on the enemy, the amount of endurance damage appears in red atop the target. When the enemy hits one of your characters, the endurance damage appears in white over the character's head. You'll also see the bar graphs change appropriately.

RESULTS: When endurance reaches zero, the character collapses. When strength reaches zero, the character is dead. Most characters and enemies collapse before they die, but it is possible for both to happen simultaneously, or for an especially weak character to die quickly.

LOOTING: If you are victorious, you can pick over the bodies of the fallen. When this occurs, you see the "Item Exchange Scrolls." When using the keyboard, the right/left cursor keys shift between the scrolls; with the mouse an appropriate left-click does the job. One of the actions across the top changes which character's items are shown alongside the available loot. Another moves items between the scrolls. Actually, this type of screen is used many places, including most business transactions. See detailed instructions about using "Item Exchange Scrolls."

{** the original manual adds: "Actually, this type of screen is used many places, including most business transactions. For detailed instructions about using 'Item Exchange Scrolls,' see page28."}


What Next?

Well, now that you've thoroughly infuriated the government at this city by trying to turn guardsmen into dog meat, it might be wise to travel elsewhere, or at least stick to the side streets. Darklands gives you all of Greater Germany to explore, with a wide variety of potential tasks, encounters and rewards. Although there are large plots afoot, as in real life, do not expect everything to be interrelated. Let "medieval common sense" be your guide. Don't be afraid to be altruistic, but don't let down your guard either!



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