by Pim van Dongen
Best ways to level each stat/skill:
This guide optimizes leveling. It recommends things that you shouldn't do during normal gameplay, like intentionally wasting ammunition. Plan your expenses before you start. Be sure that you don't place yourself in an unrecoverable situation. In general, schools beat tricks most of the time. There's specific cases where this doesn't apply, but generally the easiest way is to find a school and train your crew there.
Your main character can't go to school, however, so most information applies to your main character.
For all weapon skills, note that the AP spent on attacks determines the XP you get. Whether you hit or damaged your target is irrelevant. As an added bonus, this means you should fire at targets as far away as possible and with as much cover between you and your target as possible, because you want the lowest hit chance.
For melee skills in general, you'll want to fight the best armored target whilst your opponent doesn't have a weapon to fight back with.
STATS: Only 2 in this category. The rest won't go up ever.
- AP: In battle, go to options. Set walking to Fast. If you have multiple characters you wish to train, don't center the camera. Otherwise you should center the camera as you can get in a rhythm where the centering of the camera will move your mouse for you. Get in a situation where you can safely skip turns, and your AP at the start of your turn is a multiple of the reload AP of your weapon. Crossbows are nice for this, they use 7 AP. Alternatively, try a shotgun, they have 6 AP reload. Hold down both U and R. If you do this right, you'll both unload and reload at the same moment, per frame. This will quickly spend all your AP. You can do it with an AP that isn't a multiple of your reload, but it's annoying to either have to walk or press N. Expect to spend more than 100 turns doing this without anything leveling up. Don't worry about it and quit if you get bored. It's easier to masquerade AP training as hit-and-run weapons training. Do not expect to gain more than 8 AP on a character unless you play solo or use schools a lot.
- Carrying Capacity: Just make time pass. No amount of weightlifting will speed this up. Buy tons of food and water, and take a sabbatical year. You can't use a school for this, so if you wish to train your entire crew, it's better to find a stable trading route and do that route on triple speed for a couple minutes (making time pass pretty fast).
- Solo: Always walk around at 95-99% HP. If you're at 100%, get into a fight and get hurt a tiny bit. Don't heal the damage you've taken if you're lightly wounded, and don't use medicine to heal yourself (unless it's lethal! Dying is bad!).
- Squad: Find other characters with lower doctor skill than the character you wish to train. Get everyone injured (starvation?). Stay in a town with clinic to fix "accidents". Use fast forward.
- Solo AND Squad: Go to Lago. Buy ALL the animals and ALL the water you can carry. Also forage. Don't worry about going overweight. You want more more and more water containers because you want to limit your town visits to refill supplies only. Fast forward. Kill animals that are at full HP periodically. You gain EXP for each animal, so if you have ~50 animals instead of your usual ... 5?, 3 months training is worth 2 and a half years. Combine with mechanic/doctor training for best results.
- Solo AND Squad: The same as Veterinary, except this time with carts. Note that you can combine doctor/vet/mechanics training by camping on a town and killing bandits that get near, as to not lose too much money.
- Increases by shooting stuff. As this is a general skill, it's best not to focus on this skill and focus on your weapon of choice instead. If you MUST, try using hand crossbows against unarmed targets in iron plate or military armor. With a bit of luck, you'll be doing 0 damage, and you can shoot at them until you run out of bolts (after which you'll probably have gained multiple level ups and +1 AP).
- Increases by swinging stuff. As this is a general skill, it's best not to focus on this skill. Focus on your weapon of choice instead. If you must: Unarmed against armored, unarmed targets. This ensures you will do minimal damage whilst receiving minimal damage yourself.
- Punch things! Preferrably military armor. Go for quick punches, they're less AP and less damaging. Do not use knuckledusters, increased damage doesn't give more EXP.
- Toss grenades. Use molotovs, they're cheaper. It's best to get your enemy panicing first, as this prevents you from taking damage.
- Crossbows are rather primitive weapons, suited for the first half of the game only. If you wish to level this skill, then use a hand crossbow, as this deals the least amount of damage and has a faster reload. There's a couple ways to level this skill: 1) Fighting melee bandits with hit and run tactics. Preferrably find yourself Boryokudan - they have armor. Equip a main weapon and a crossbow, and when all the machine gunners are dead, swap to the crossbow. Measure their AP by counting the squares they move, then substract 2 (they can level up in AP) and stay that distance from them. Option 2 is to get your enemy panicing and fire bolts at them from very far away. Note that as you improve, you'll get more and more hits from a long distance and it might not work anymore. A good trick for this is to place yourself as such that half of your target is blocked by cover, so the game gives you a reduced hit chance.
- Luger with LRN ammo against armored targets at range. Don't use FMJ, it deals more damage. You can switch to JHP if you run out of LRN, but if you get a critical hit you'll deal more damage. Don't use a glock unless you're worried you might die, the extra muzzle velocity means you deal more damage. You're hoping for a lot of misses and a lot of 0-1 damage hits. Remember, shots fired gives XP, not hitting.
- An M4 with FMJBT has the worst damage against armored targets. Shoot at long ranges to further reduce the damage, and don't use a scope. Burst fire for best results as AP spent determines attack.
- Machine guns are deadly, so you can't simply fire and hope your target won't die. The best option here is to pick a MG 42 (cheap ammo) and shoot an enemy that's in cover at a large distance.
- 9mm LRN at armored targets with burst at range. Boryokudan are good for this.
- Do what shotguns are bad at - fire at range! Sawed-off or Remington 830.
- The M32. With the M1 Bazooka you spend too much time reloading. However... getting enough ammo is a pain, so you might be forced to use the Bazooka anyway. Try to make trick shots so you hit walls instead of people, that should allow you to get more shots off.
- TORCH PEOPLE. You really have no options here. Just get a ton of ammunition, go back a few zones and go mad. Torch everyone. It's pretty much impossible to go the route of "miss a lot forever" here. Fire from the maximum range of your flamethrower, this reduces the damage you do and allows you to fire more times.
- Get a small knife. Slash (not stab). The stabbing does more damage and will cause more kills (it's too unreliable to work properly in real combat, though). Additionally, don't bother and get a sword instead, as knives are only used in the first quarter of the game.
- Find a pipe, it's the weakest weapon of the clubs. Clubs are rather heavy though, so consider training Swords instead.
- Get a Machete for training. It comes with a collecting bonus.
- Find a scimitar, as it's the weakest sword. Swords deal too much damage to be used in training against armored targets, so get the fastest ride you have and some binoculars. Go to the starting zone, and murder all the robbers. Alkubra has guns mixed in and frankly they still hurt. Katana's are nice, but the accuracy of swords is lacking. They don't provide the security of a confirmed kill that you'll get with a point-blank headshot. On the plus side, they take 2 AP less to attack with than a headshot.
- Dodge levels by being attacked with a melee attack. One of the best ways to level this is to get the best armor you can find, then go to the starting area and find unarmed robbers. Skip your turns whilst your enemy keeps hitting you. You can do so by holding N/Enter/Tab. Turn off camera centering. Keep in mind that if you're being hit for 0 damage that you're not invincible, they'll eventually level up their unarmed to hit you for 1, so don't AFK (or you'll die after ~15 minutes). Unfortunately Dodge only applies to melee attacks, so you won't be invincible. Still, leveling dodge to something like 30 means you won't have to worry about the occasional melee attack - most of the time you'll dodge it.
- Levels by taking damage. ... which means it's a pain in the ass (and arms, legs, eyes, torso) to level this. Note that it levels DOWN and this is a good thing. It determines the HP at which your morale starts dropping really fast. Keep in mind that if you drop to 0 intelligence, you won't get any more EXP.
- I actually don't know how it levels. I think it levels the same as doctor. So level it like you would doctor. Alternatively, don't bother with it - bleeding is either not serious enough (1-3 points) or lethal (10+ points... on a character with less than half HP). The only thing that causes high bleeding is explosions, and when you have explosions going on, you have more pressing matters (unless you let a grenadier get close... but why would you do THAT?). Another point of note: First Aid Bags suck, use kits. For in-game use, I recommend the Advanced and Superior kits. Do not carry more than 2 on your character - if you can get wounded that bad, you're probably dead, or you should consider murdering your enemy first, THEN bandaging. NOTE for solo/small squad play: If you drop below a certain level of HP, you lose 1 point of Intelligence. If you have 1 Intelligence, your First Aid skill will drop A LOT. Superior kits that restored 16 (33 first aid) points of bleeding will only restore 3-4 points. Keep this in mind when kitting your characters - small kits are useless for this reason.
- Hunt, make time pass. You need to be outside of town for this. It's only worth it to increase this skill if you plan to leave it enabled. Hunting slows you down by 5%. If you want to make a self-sufficient caravan that hunts for food, consider spending the first year making trips between your bunker and Cricket in Silos (he buys water!, use the money for insects if your bunker doesn't have food). The start of the game is the best place to train expensive skills like this. The value of this skill comes not from making your caravan self-sufficient, but from keeping you from starving when you find towns that don't have food.
- Set collecting on, and let time pass. Walking around is not needed. It's only worth it to increase this skill if you plan to leave it enabled. Collecting slows you down by 5%. You can raise collecting so you'll never have to buy forage ever again, but you'll still need to bring enough water for your animals. Most towns tend to have plenty of forage. Certain towns do not, and it's part of the game to learn which ones do and which ones don't. Animals will provide a collecting bonus, as will carrying a machete.
- Smuggling is hard and dangerous. Doing it wrong leads to a massive negative reputation with law-abiding factions and can screw up your storyline. That said, start with smuggling small amounts into a town. Stay well below your maximum capacity of smuggling. If you get caught, you will only see the message 1 to 30 days later. If you get caught your lawbreaker reputation will go up, and you'll have less chance to successfully smuggle. To fix this, bring captured bandits (not slaves) to police stations.
- Make time pass. This is a skill that is shared throughout the caravan; you should only be worried about the Sight of the character with the highest Sight. Increasing sight happens over time, so if you want to raise it without too much effort, simply let time pass. Additionally, consider using tools for this: binoculars will increase you sight a bit and certain electronic devices will make everything that fits on your screen visible.
leveling skills fastest boils down to the following:
- Make time pass whilst having X or Y
- Attack stuff without damaging it.
Important to realize is that certain skills are vital at certain points in the game, and worthless at other points. You have a high dodge at the start of the game? Awesome! You have high dodge late game? Nice, but nobody really uses melee anymore. And when they do, well, you can get rid of them with 1 or 2 shots. Because of this, don't go off on a grinding spree without some goal; you'll just burn yourself out, bored with the game. Keep track of your levels so you know how you're progressing, because Caravaneer silently updates your stats, and you really can't see how far you've come until you look back.