ROT'S GUIDE TO THE CATACLYSMCHARGEN
In the cataclysm, character generation (chargen) is very important, you want to min/max the hell out of your character. Now I can't really coach you on this, as all charcters have your preference installed into them, however some traits I recommend are Light Step, Parkour Expert, Indefatigable, Quick, Fleet footed, Tough and Night Vision. - All these will make you a light-footed, speedy, tough-as-nails survivor with a love for vitamin A. All these traits and basically the base ingredients and stock of the 'character stew' - The rest of the traits are just flavoring and I will explain why I recommend these 'base ingredients'.NPC'S ARE YOUR FRIEND - AND ENEMY
If you have them enabled, some NPC's are super cool - like the one I started out with apparently had 6 dodge and I convinced him to train me. Others are assholes who walk up to you, tell you to get out of their territory and give you 5 seconds before they start shooting.
They're a real pain, and my best way of describing them are that they're a double-edged sword. (They're also a bit buggy) However, for a cannibal, they taste great, and for a regular survivor, they're walking, talking, meat shields and goodie bagsFOR THE RANGED FIGHTER
My early days consisted of ranged fighting, mostly with bows and crossbows (Prefer crossbows, their ammo is much cheaper to craft) and archery is silent - so nighttime raids were a breeze. Anyway, at character gen i'd start pumping a few points into archery and fabrication (A total of four usually, two in each skill). While you can learn all this without having to spend points in character generation, it's really useful for someone starting out. Just make sure you know archery is a "Body and Mind" type of deal. You want at least 12 strength to draw all bows, since crossbows and bows draw faster according to your strength, and can only be used to their full potential if you're strong enough. Also put some points into perception for more accurate shots.
Guns are cool too, you can mod them and make them yours. They're just damn hard to find, ammo can be scarce and if you're unskilled they're not to good for your health - Noisy too, but mods will help. In capable hands with a survivor who knows where to find ammo and a target - Guns make THE GAME. So pick up that .50 cal rifle and blast a zombie a mile away. (Also, if you have a high enough mechanics, fabrication, rifles, and marksman skill you can craft a pneumatic assault rifle from scrap. Fires pebbles, marbles, and bearings - super cheap ammo - and is silent and can fire full auto. Arguably one of the best weapons in this game.)FOR THE MELEE FIGHTER
If you want to go melee however, put points into dodge - usually one or two points. This will IMMENSELY help you, as you can dodge most attacks and be agile. My character has 10 dodge and I can walk into a horde of zombies, sit in the middle, and slash at them with my katana and barely sustain any damage as I slaughter all of them.
Good early game weapons consist of knife spears and makeshift crowbars. If you're in a lab, a machete or combat knife (Obtained from manhacks.) End game weapons are awl pikes, katanas/longswords, rapiers, machetes, just pretty much anything with a corresponding combat art.
Speaking of combat arts, hand-to-hand is super fun to do, but make sure you have a decent unarmed skill and an actual martial art for it. There are a ton of different martial arts for both weapons and unarmed alike.WEAPONS AND YOUR BRAIN
Weapons are your friend, so is your brain. Think outside the box. You can kill zombies in a plethora of ways in this game. Molotovs are super good for early game survivors, cheap to make and effective. Just make sure it's not raining or else the rain will douse the fires.
Some ways for molotovs can be used is to make a crap ton of noise, lead a bunch of zombies in a house, and run through with them behind you - closing doors and running through windows. Once they're preoccupied with bashing doors down you can now chuck molotovs on the house and watch as you burn it down with the zeds inside.
I did this tactic at a mall where i used a crossbow to shoot out sections of glass windows and threw molotovs in front of it, letting zeds funnel through and die before they reach me. Another viable tactic is to find a working vehicle and ram zombies with it. A common thing to do is craft a massive deathmobile. - explained later
I've also dug pits in a checkerboard pattern and filled them with spikes - only to lead zombies to stumble in and die in my death pits. Same thing can be done for strategically placed flammable objects and lighting them on fire to lead zombies into.MOVEMENT POINTS, SPEED, AND HOW IT WORKS
The more encumbered you are, the slower you move, and the more 'turns' a monster has. The faster you move, the more 'turns' you have. So by being speedy with the traits Fleet footed and Quick, as I explained above, you can attack faster and move quicker than pretty much any monster. Allowing you to high tail (with ") it out of there if things get hairy.
Of course it drains stamina like other physically demanding task so you should rest (with | - to the right of the ]/} key) whenever you get the chance to replenish it. Indefatigable helps to reduce the amount of stamina drain, so you can run, swim, attack and carry heavy shit over long distances more.
Now movement points are something, people recommend you to crawl over empty windows for good reason - you get an extra 2 hits in with a zombie as it's crawling through the window because it's using it's points to move through and cannot attack you. So here's where Parkour Expert comes in, it allows you to traverse these movement point eaters without cost. So press X and look at the movement points for something, if it's 400 or something, that's what you want. Empty windows, bushes, etc.ENCUMBRANCE AND HOW IT EFFECTS YOU + ARMOR
Encumbrance is a big thing, try to find the most bang for your buck clothing-wise. 'Cause if you don't, and you're a melee fighter, you WILL miss and stumble on every attack and monsters will get a free human happy meal.
You want something that protects you from the elements, damage, is light and not very encumbering, and is weatherproof. Early game this may look like a t-shirt and a sweater underneath a leather jacket - Late game could be something like a survivor suit (http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/survivor_suit
As a general rule for myself, I never go over 29 encumbrance on pretty much anything. 30 encumbrance is OK, but make sure you're not going over 39 if you really want to push it.MONSTERS AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FORNote that these enemies are the more common one's you'd face, read more about other types here: http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/ ZOMBIES:
From regular zombies to special ones and even infected wildlife - These enemies make the game. At first zombies are quite difficult to beat if you don't know what you're doing but specials are even harder. Generally the one's to avoid if you're starting out are Brutes, Hulks, anything with 'shocker' in it or anything that is related to acid, (corosive, etc.) Special zombies have a certain trait that sets them apart from everyone else, Hulks & Brutes are super strong, skeletons can't be shot, masters and necromancers raise the dead, children give you guilt and are hard to hit, etc. Taking the time to write about every one will take way to much time, so read up more here: http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/ZOMBIE WILDLIFE:
A lot of wildlife are harmless, but few are dangerous. Generally everything that you'd avoid in real life, take the same measures in the game. Bears and Wolves will easily tear you a new one. Moose are a notorious newbie killer, due to their supposed aggressiveness and their high damage and speed. Coyotes and Bobcats are mostly just annoying rather than a threat, but still, do take caution. Wildlife in general have a negative amount of aggressiveness (Only wolves have 0, the rest are in the -15 to -20 range) so when spotting any animal that you're sure aren't skittish (And are potentially dangerous), make sure you do your best to avoid them. More on them here: http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/MAMMAL FUNGUS AND TRIFFIDS:
Fungus and Plants are both weak to fire and poison gas. General rule is to avoid melee combat with fungus unless you want to die a painful death due to spores - unless you have good protection (Gas mask, cleansuit, etc). Triffids are good fighters, so it's not recommended that you engage in melee either unless you're properly prepared/good at melee. General rule for these - KILL IT WITH FIRE. Flamethrowers and molotovs galore. http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/PLANT
or http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/FUNGUS INSECTS AND SPIDERS:
Insects are quite a strange one, they possess chitin exoskeleton, so some have decent bashing/cutting protection. Wasps, Bees, and dermatriks are one's to look out for since they're fast and are hard to hit. Others are not too much of a threat. Spiders are generally difficult to hit, the real one's to watch out for is Black Widow Spiders and Wolf Spiders and Trapdoor Spiders. These are generally aggressive, and black widow's are very very venomous (Obviously.).http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/SPIDER
or http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/INSECT NETHER CREATURES:
Most common ones are Grackens, Krecks and Mi-Go. They're pretty rare but still dangerous to new players. Just lead them into zombies or whittle their health down. Mi-Go are quite cowardly and will run once you deal enough damage. Generally if you hear things like klaxon blaring or people talking, etc. It's a Mi-Go parroting things that it was said to it during it's captivity. Once you locate them they're generally surrounded with corpses of either soldiers or scientists - both hold very good loot.http://cdda-trunk.estilofusion.com/monsters/species/NETHER
A rule about monsters is that look at your skills and weapons. New players are recommended to flee than fight, when fighting however do use some advanced tactics like firebombing houses with zombies trapped inside to making a check board pattern of spike pits to kill your enemies. Do you best to avoid enemies early game or until you get a decent weapon. Dying is a thing in game, and even this guide can't guarantee your survival. It's called RNG and he's a cruel, cruel being.BOOKS ARE KNOWLEDGE - AND KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Nothing better can be said for books - they're your everything in this game. By reading books, you can learn recipes for stuff like explosives to crafting weapons and tools like longswords or crowbars, you can of course, speed through and gain a ton of levels with the least amount of effort. Books are basically one of the most efficient ways to level, just behind NPC teachings.
Once you set up a decent base with food, water, your character is clothed and has a good weapon, your next priority is books. Books level you up and can prevent you from dying. Not to mention help you make a more efficient base and survivor.GOOD AREAS TO LOOT
Your average house for all your basic needs - but be on the lookout for basements as they can have incredible fortune or misfortune (Like gun basements, weed farms, labs, and spider nests, etc.)
Other places are your average Gun store, Police station, etc. For obvious reasons. Antique stores are great too, if you're lucky they'll have an actual sword you can use with maybe some flintlock guns too.
Grocery stores, Hospitals, and any kind of tool stores are good for specifics, whether it be food, electronics, meds, or building supplies. Dojos, boxing gyms, etc are great if you want martial arts books for blades, blunts, and fists.
Mansions are awesome spots to loot. In the entrance of the mansion there could be medieval weapons, European or Eastern. Inside can contain booze, guns, food, and books. Libraries, Pools (AKA infinite water sources), bars, etc. ALL are good pickings. Mansions may even contain a rare weapon martial art(s), like ones for Longswords, Awl Pikes, Katanas, and Rapiers, etc.
Just keep a open eye (by pressing V) to inspect all items in your vision, it helps so you don't have to examine every container or corpse.