This is a thread where I posed a variant of the same question.
The topic is a bit different but there's a wealth of information that I found useful. My advice? Nailboard Traps. A 3x3 square of them will allow you to walk any zed, up to a Brute, around on them and kill them without taking any damage. You do have to be careful, though; you need to intersperse walking around the traps (making sure to keep adjacent to them), and waiting with "." to keep the zeds on the traps. It doesn't work very well on Shocker Brutes, and not at all on Hulks, though. It also needs to be set up well before they actually spot you, since it takes a while to set them all up. As a bonus, Mi-Gos, Grackens, and Zombies Scientists won't walk on them, so you can surround yourself with eight, and they won't close the distance to attack you.
1. Between the two, I'd go with knife spear. Using the fire function ("f" key, just as if you were shooting a gun) allows you to execute reach attacks that can occur from two spaces away. The same is true of any weapon that says in the description that it has a reach attack, and some of them, like the awl pike, can attack from three squares away instead of two. Just to clarify, two squares away means you in one square, then an empty square, then the zed. This works well against Mi-Gos, with the aforementioned Nailboard Traps, since they'll stand exactly two squares away from you as long as you're surrounded on all sides by the traps.
2. Which builds are best depend on what problems you are having, but I'm not really a master of this myself. Unless it's been changed, the Ninjutsu fighting style, taken from the Self-Defense Classes trait at chargen, or found in a book, is supposed to be totally silent, regardless of what weapon you are using, so I would recommend it. Light Step reduces noise levels from walking, and reduces the odds of setting off traps that you step on, but probably not enough to go skipping through a minefield. Fast Learner lets you raise skills more quickly through use, which is always good for low starting levels of dangerous skills, like dodging. I always put 4 stat points into intelligence, then two into strength, but that's just me.
3. Night is usually safer, since the zeds can't see you, and you can light a house on fire and run away from it to draw their attention to it, and probably kill them, but the fire won't prevent revival. Day allows you to see more, and the map is updated much further. Note that zeds will track sound secondary to sight, and scent tertiary so you're still not totally safe, even at night.
don't think so, but others might. The only way to know for sure is to try. This is a thread dedicated to wilderness survival, with some useful tips from some experienced people.
I'm not plugging the threads I started, honest. I just happened to have the same problems that you did.