This long post describes how I “gamed” Skalitz on Hardcore to the max. No cheating per se (only mods are Instant herb picking; More Perks; and uh . . . A Sorted Inventory), though I did make extensive use of Savior sauce in order to keep going. I include a bunch of links to Steam screen grabs that show the state of my Henry when I arrived at Rataje etc. Basically just to show how high one can level up by “gaming” Skalitz to the max (and maybe others could do even better than I have done).
First, pics showing the state of Henry’s character and inventory after awakening in Rataje. Let me know if these links are inconvenient; if there is interest I can see about getting them reformatted into image embeds . . .
TLTC (too lazy to click): around 1500 “pounds(?)” of gear and ~230 Groschen in the common chest when my Henry woke up.
Top of Skills Tab: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857546
Drinking 6; Herbalism 20; Horsies 1; huntin 2 (sheep, cattle, horses); Maint 20
Bottom of Skills Tab: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857574
Stealth 12; everythng else was zero.
Combat Tab: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857524
Defence 1, Warfare 2, Bow 4, Sword 2, Unarmed 2
I was surprised that I was able to level up bow that much. The sheep respawned at least once when I saved and quit and reloaded, so that might explain it.
Stats Tab: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857505
Main Level 8, Str 9, Agi 4, Vit 8, Speech 5 (note this was taking speech as both of the two starting points in dialogue with mother)
Reputation Tab: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857483
Skalitz rep -100. The interesting thing here, which I had never seen in previous versions of the game: my Skalitz crimes
seem to have been reported to the authorities at Rataje (which makes sense!). Rataje overall rep 35, though 50 or 60 with Civilians and -34 with soldiers (I murdered every single soldier at Skalitz so that is probably why). I did wind up doing my 10 days.
Skalitz View1: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857427
The poor soul stripped to his skivvies and trying not to collapse is the charcoal burner
Skalitz View2: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857455
Bianca dutifully sweeping the dirt
Skalitz View3: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857402
The whole town is depopulated. Only those NPCs whom Henry cannot attack, or whom are immortal are still around. Some interesting discoveries along these lines: Kunesh and the charcoal burner are immortal, but most NPCs can only survive two or at most 3 Stealth take-downs before it kills them. I think WH changed this since i last played the game, and maybe some of our comments on it being exploitable were the reason. I used to kidnap NPCs hold them in one of the small Earth lodge domiciles out in the boonies and repeatedly Stealth take them to grind up. Another interesting thing: I was surprised when, after taking down Zbyshek, I was able to mercy kill him.
Skalitz View4: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1923857388
I saved the traders for last. Easy pickings when there are no soldiers left in town!
I also have screen grabs of Henry after “finishing” Skalitz but before proceeding with finishing Sir Radzig’s sword if anyone is curious how much of a difference the Homecoming portion made.
So that pretty much describes the ballpark for maximum leveling/looting one can get out of the prologue parts of the game, assuming you are willing to completely break character and rub the fur of the narrative the wrong way hard. It is possible that another player could eek out another level or so on some of these or a few more groschen (I probably neglected a bit of loot to be had in Skalitz, but not much), but I’d say this is a pretty good indicator of just how much “leveling potential” the prologue of the game offers. I have been curious about this for a long time, and I thought it worth examining and noting for posterity. In the event anyone ever strives to make an “Alternate Start” type of mod, this information might be of use. Not to say that assigning these exact levels to Henry would be advisable, but these could define an “upper limit” of sorts.
So how did I accomplish this: well first it deserves to be said, no cheat. I only allowed myself to use Savior Schnappes or exit reloads. Here were the basic steps I followed:
- Go talk to father, get his quests, and grab the hilt. This is not essential but prudent nonetheless. The two guards at the castle gate remained non-aggro on some previous plays where I had already gained a wanted status (cannot recall if it was imprison wanted or just fine), but I thought it prudent to just go ahead and get my hands on that, just in case. Everything else can be left till very last, and yu just carry that hilt around with you the whole time.
- Start picking herbs. targeting nettles first (to get the Resistance perk). Picking herbs without Instant Herb Picking mod is like gouging your own eyes (which is sad that they designed it that way TBH), but with it, it is no big deal. Tedious and you might find you need to take a break, but doable. Once you feel like you are strong enough . . .
- Can try to take on Kunesh, or start doing stealth take downs on weakling NPCs. Best to do this in more remote corners of the village obviously. One sicko trick is to mug them, loot them then either leave them to wake up and wander around to be mugged again later, or drag them off to a hidey spot to mug them repeatedly until they croak. One can actually do a LOT of mugging before you inevitably become a suspect and gain a fine. The key thing though, is to get Stealth to at least Level 5 so you can get the Stealth Kill perk. With that, and the Clinchmaster perk, you have a fighting chance to be able to take down a guard. I’d say you want at least strength in the 4 or 5 ballpark.
- Hopping everywhere for Vitality
- Strategically trading to get more Saviour Schnappes and repair kits, use the looted gear from your mugging victims to level Maintenance.
- Stash everything in the chest in Henry’s Parents’ house. You can even leave stuff there permanently if you want. It doesn’t reset.
- Eventually do the shit slinging thing and get the saviour sauce from Bianca.
- Keep grinding on strength (punching animals, mugging NPCs, Leg Day Herb picking), vitality (hopping, skipping and jumping), speech (haggling) , and Stealth (mugging).
- Eventually, it seems that, no matter how careful you are, you WILL gain a wanted for a fine status, and that makes things a BIT more challenging but not much really. Your next level on your way to PsychoPath Deluxe is to mug a guard.
- Perform a Stealth Kill on a guard. The first time I tried this, I wasn’t strong enough and he broke free and I had to reload from a SavSauce. I cannot recall for certain how high of level I was. However, they get easier with each one you take down. Certainly by the time you get to Stealth 10 “Et Tu Brute” it is not too hard.
- Ideally, do stealth take downs on all the guards in Skalitz. If memory servers there are four guards plus the catchpole. You’ll want to take out most or all of them, obviously one at a time. If necessary, you can bait them to come look for you by committing a crime in sight of an NPC, and then run away and keep an eye on them from afar. When the lose patrolling status and turn around and start walking back to their assigned post, that is when you can nab 'em!
- Once all his men are dead, the Bailiff is a simple matter of walking up behind him, do a stealth take down (stealth kill wasn’t an option) then mercy kill him. The guy he is in permanent conversation with freaks out obviously, but with few if any guards to come and respond it isn’t a big deal.
- The “Shop Guard” will go aggro if you commit a flagrant crime in the main town square, and he is best dealt with by running, kiting and then stealth killing him on his return to post. Probably one of the more difficult to actually kill, but because he rarely leaves his post unless you commit a crime right in front of his eyes, not a big problem depending on how you want to play it.
- Still two guards left! Yes this one surprised me. The two guards up at the castle gate (Janek and Jaroslav?) WILL respond to NPC pleas for help if there are no more soldiers left in Skalitz. Again, these guys are best dealt with by the bait, kite, and stealth method.
- That pretty much sums it up! Obviously, once all the guards are dead you can do whatever you want! Practice bow, mug people, rob everyone blind, etc. If you can manage to find a lockpick then you could practice lock picking too, but I never did find one on this play. Seems like in the past you could talk to Fritz about that? Maybe I just messed up the quest?