So I've spent the last week experimenting... wrong word... single-mindedly polishing a build that builds upon stuff I've been using as a semi-casual player for ages. I have issues with it, ones that only expirienced players could help with. I posted it in the "share your builds" thread and got a reply, but I feel the need to elaborate on it a bit without hijacking anyone else's thread. Basicaly, the basics are working as intended it's the "advanceds" that are giving me a headache. Also, there might be some bugs I ran into here and there. So, the build is an XP monster, which is possibly the silliest and most masochistic way of playing the game, but it raises a few issues I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on. The build is as follows: 1) Burglary. I can't imagine playing without it. And I'm not even leveling it beyond the Lucky Pick. This raises the big question number one, because the skill is a complete must have, yet I don't need anything but the lockpicks from it. Why in the world are the lockpicks still only available through a skill which gives an endless ammount for free, yet lockpicking gives a) items b) expirience c) ability to close doors on zoos and actually get use out of your traps? And enough lutefisk for a bunch of altars on its own? This is an overloaded mechanic with a very, very strange in game supply/demand mechanism. Anyone can proffit immensly form having it, but almost everyone is practicaly burning one of the 7 skill slots just to have a steady supply of lockpicks. The fact that the game eats up the ones you have without asking whenever you click on something makes having infinite ammounts even more important. 2) Archeology I can't imagine playing without it. Again, I only level the Belongs in a Museum, not because I feel the need for all the XP (wait till it gets silly). I don't bother with krong, as I mainly use it to enchant 10* stuff and send it off. The reason I feel like I need to play with this skill is because so many items in the game are completely pointless and are at the same time the only potential rewards for mini-goals. Just about anything from Inconsequentia, to Superchests, to chests of evil, to wizardlands to small islands with artifacts to... anything... rewards you with something that can be sold for zorkmids (which you will have running out of your ears) or... sent to the warehouse. Since so much stuff is useless to any particular build, I feel the need to have the Send to Warehouse button in every game. It's a very well built skill tree, you excange artifacts for XP, get a skill which helps you reach those hard to reach ones, use krong altars to make big * stuff artifacts, use a skill to make the lousy ones worth XP and reset altars to do it all again. But without the ability to convert aritfacts to XP the game is just filled with so much vendor trash. Almost every action in the game is more likely to reward you with vendor trash than anything meaningfull. Spending just one point in Archeology has you playing an entirely different game where almost every action you make has you speeding away towards a DING!, and every DING rewards you with an ability. If I were a developer, or a modder or something, I'd simply give EVERY character a "convert for XP" button, and play the game with 7 skills instead of 6. Simply say that the war on the outside had had everyone run out of magic artifacts and that Dredmor's an ancient lich who's been hoarding them, and adventurers are being sent in there to kill the greedy bastard. It would explain why you start out with no pants on. The way it is now, I use this skill to maximum effect with the others to gain a lot of levels really, really fast. But I take it to have more tangible and motivating microgoals throughout the dungeon. 3) Tinkering Mainly for bolts and crossbows, and since you can create the +1 goggles, I max tinkering as soon as I find the necessary recipies and start cranking out Rail Launchers. Which I convert for 3600 XP per pop via one point in Archaeology. Because there's very little ways of making a better crossbow, and if I do find one, well, why not? A thought occured very recently that mass producing Maces of Windu might ba a much better and overally easier thing. Less XP, but a lot less resource investment. 4) Perception Makes Rail Launcher manufacturing easier with random crafting loot drops, as well as works as a healing tree with cheeze, bread, eggs and fairywodger and potion drops. I'm not entirely sure when exactly to get this to lvl 4-5, which is the problem with this build. The dodge and dodge removal is sort of necessary for the build endgame as well, so it's a really good tree with benefits incomparable to almost anything else by design. 5) Artful Dodger Gives me a nice little teleport at lvl 3, which along with burglary lets me use traps while clearing zoos. On top of that gives tons of dodge for cheezy endgame dodging - and since I feel obliged by silly game mechanics to have burglary and archeology to prevent every run from turning into a really mindless grind, it's a very lucky occurence that assembling a big bunch of dodge is so easy. Otherwise this build would have 0 endgame. Also, the second skill, if it indeed works (I have no way to tell excet that I seem to counterattack a lot), is really good with my main weapon skill. And I have no idea how the penultimate skill works exactly or what it does. 6) Unarmed When coupled with artfull dodger and choice tomes it gives so much item independant bouses it's unbelievable. Damage is mediocre to lowish, true, but you get a lot of dodge and counterattack along with a nice chance for double strike. Since bonuses work on crossbows (and thrown weapons which are even better with it, except you can't sell them for XP) and having 2 tomes doesn't mess it up, I see no reason to pick other weapons. More XP conversion fodder this way. It also gives 2 knockback abilities, and getting at least one of them is enough for the early levels provided you have enough stuff to chuck at monsters, and since you can't be make bolas with no smithing, you can safely spend your softballs. Just one universal principles along with this adds 10 to your bolts or softballs. And tinkering can eventually produce the sawblades with some luck, so as long as you come prepared, you can probably kill Dreadmor. Other tome's I find usefull are the cookbook (for stocking up on grilled steaks) and the Cloud formations one for confusion which feels rather gamebreaking since it causes monsters to go running around like headless chickens making every square a chokepoint. If I set mines down before I hit anything, the monsters ussualy run into them, so yeah. The problem is that the tree really shines when maxed out and is the only substantial combat/defense skill, so it needs early maxing - and sending points in it early delays the XP explosions. The most sucesfull build so far has been: Unarmed - Burglary - Unarmed - Unarmed - Archeology - Unarmed - Tinkering - Tinkering - Max Unarmed... This is clunky and needs improvement. 7) Big Game Hunter Gives XP for killing animals for no investment. What's not to like? It also gives me warrior levels, which is something the build is sorely missing. But on the flip side, its another pure-utility tree, but at least one that gives you the core thing with no investment. And I'm not sure if the 3rd and 4th skills work as intended at all. Hunters Lure doesn't seem to do anything (really, I've tried and tried in all possible ways), and the 4th skill seems to have a damage proc on something thats allready dead according to the Wiki. And I'd go for it early if it really gave more XP (or more XPchance) but I don't think it does. So, the build works, you get max dodge, cool crosbows, and max out before DL 10, and all that. But you don't have anything meaningfull to do with all the XP. I know that's supposed to be a trade off, but still - if lockpicks were available in different ways and if sending stuff topside was available outside of archeology, I'd have proper fun with different stuff - veganism supported by mycology, smithing along with actually taking crossbows for a crossbow character, thrown weapons even better, all sorts of stuff. The way it is now, I can't even figure out the optimal way to pick skills. Hell, without necessity for Archeology and Burglary, I could take Ley Walker and a Magic Skill to spend all the XP on and actually have FUN Ty for the long read and hope to hear comments.