Hand Starting Out
About this guide

This guide is an attempt to answer some of the more common questions asked by newbie Hands, both to make it easier to teach newbie Hands to ropes by directing them here, and especially to cover the things usually overlooked by teachers. At the moment, the guide is a little patchy but it will hopefully be compiled with more useful information as time goes on.

Getting Started

The Hand guild is one of the more difficult guilds to start out in, due to being a melee guild with low strength. Until you hit level 15 when you get stab, you're not going to be doing much damage, so it takes quite a bit of preparation to get there.

Step one is to get acquainted with your guild members. Type 'hand say <blah>' to talk on the guild channel. In particular, pay attention to the guild mentor and leader. The mentor has a huge MENTOR on his channel message, and the leader has HAND in all caps.

Urthdigger [MENTOR] —hand{-@ This is a message from the guild mentor
Kereth —HAND{-@ This is a message from the guild leader
Stabby —hand{-@ This is a message from anyone else

'hand who' can be useful to check who's on, as well as how many levels they've taken in the guild. A "Mustajib" is someone between levels 1-10. Between levels 11-20, they're called a novice. Players ranked Fidai are level 21-30. 31-40 is Initiate, and 41-50 is Dai. Sadly, Hands higher than level 50 are rare at the time of this writing, so it's unknown what the higher ranks are. There's also a few wizards who are on the Hand channel, they are Kana, Torso, Torch, Cullyn, and Gert. They all have their own titles. This information can be useful, as Hands ranked Fidai or higher can offer you an apprenticeship to offer bonuses to your skills, and can also teach you to lower the cost of training.


Any player ranked Fidai or higher with open apprentice slots can give you an apprenticeship. Your master will be able to adjust up to three of your abilities based on his own training (usually attack, dagger, and infighting), give you a title that appears next to your name on the 'who' list, and view your skills, quests, dues, and other things so they can advise you on your training. The only catch is that if you have any alts (secondary characters), your master can't do ANYTHING with those alts. Similarly, you can't do anything with your master's alts. Your alts and his alts can do stuff together however. All master and apprentice adjustments are done in the Supervisor's room (nicknamed Powint's room), and if you ever decide to quit your apprenticeship you can do so by typing 'apprentice leave' in there. You'll also leave once you graduate at level 20.


Similar to apprenticeship, any Hand ranked Fidai or higher can teach you. This won't do anything to skills below freemax (where your newbie advantage lets you train without paying gold), but reduces the gold and xp cost of skills above freemax. This reduction is based on the teacher's training in the skill, and stacks with any reductions from charisma.

Your first 10 levels

From when you start out in the game, you'll earn explore for every room you enter, provided you see the room description when you enter the room. If it's too bright or dark, you're blind, or have brief mode on, you won't see the room description and thus won't get explore. Similarly, you also don't get explore in anywhere like the overworld that has a grid map. The ASCII art maps in towns are fine though, you still earn xp there. As you explore, you'll gain xp. This amount goes up for every % of the Retroverse you've explored, so it pays to get a high %. Learn the guild like the back of your hand, and get to know the cities as well. Make a point to every area on every world, but you don't need to memorize your way around them.
Try to do every level quest you can, and freemax all your skills and spells at each level as you go, which is 70% for the skills from levels 1-9, and 60% for the skills at level 10. Once you reach level 10, stop here. Be sure to read 'help newbie advantages' in-game to know what you'll lose by levelling further (biggest loss being the newbie transport), so you'll want to make sure you can handle losing what you'll lose. You'll also lose access to a few areas by levelling further, so you'll want to explore stuff, and once you're level 10… you're ready to kill stuff too :)

The next sections will detail things to keep in mind when killing enemies, as well as where to level.


Playing as a Hand requires a great deal of preparation, and assassination is a great example. Type 'hand list' to see your assassination ranks, or 'hand list <race>' to check your rank in a specific race. 'help killing skills levels' shows the order of the ranks. You go up in ranks as you kill humanoid enemies, but it's a little complicated. In order for you to get advantages from a rank, as well as increase in rank for killing it, the monster must be humanoid. The easiest way to check this is to use the skill 'consider humanoid' on it, as it will fail if it's non-humanoid. You also can only dues corpses from humanoid enemies, and circling only works on humanoids, so both of those are also ways of checking.

Levels 10-15

Training and equipment considerations
Having a high rank immensely helps your damage against those races, especially once you get the assassination skill well trained, so it's a good idea to focus on raising ranks as early as possible. Once you've hit level 10, you should have attack, dagger, and infighting decently trained at the very least. With these skills, and especially if you've gotten an apprenticeship, you should be able to take on areas that lock up to level 15, though the areas that lock at 10 will be a little easier. Levellocks are things that keep you from entering an area once you've surpassed that level, so areas that lock at 10 are still accessible at 10, but once you hit level 11 you'll be locked out of them. They're to keep high levelled people from blowing through newbie areas so the newbies have a place to train, and are also a decent way to gauge the difficulty of an area.

Once you manage to get 3100 gold, there should be a dagger that costs around that much in the Hand guild store. It will be the best dagger you can equip for a while, though it's size 72 so if you're smaller than size 72 you'll need to get a merchant to resize it if you want to use infighting (merchant players can do this, it costs around 250 gold per dagger). If you don't have enough for storage (usually 10,000 gold a month to rent a room from a player), sell it back to the store at the end of the day for around 1500. Once you're confident in your money making, and especially once you get storage, buy 2 to double your killing power.

Areas to level
Level-lock 10
Perdow -
Newbie Village: Humans, goblins.
Asylum: Plenty of various races, may take a while to max them. Only easy source of the Lich rank.
Welstar -
Sheltered Vale: No known humanoid races :(
Sosel -
Native Village: Human

Level-lock 15
Crypt -
Ballach: Random Crypt monsters like Yaag-nesh and vampire. Locks at 16
Perdow -
Monastary: Human, anakim
Scarrowfell Mausoleum: Wight
Bandit camp: Various Perdow races like trolls and werewolves. Locks at 16, but it's close enough to count here. Take a small party here as it's a little difficult.
Raji -
Mage tower newbie-quest: Non-humanoid foes, explore it anyway
Kanku tree: Kanku, duh. Locks at 16
Wysoom -
Gromkin warrens: Gremlins. Also not too bad for getting gold.
Pirate ship: Various races, including human, selkie, and kuroa (kuroa may be non-humanoid).
Welstar -
Seraph Temple - Mummy, few other races.
Village of Chaplin - Human, skeleton, spirit
Necromancer camp - Random

Concentrate on the areas that lock at level 10 first. Explore them and get what ranks you can. It's very possible to get a Deadly rank in humans and goblins, but getting a Deadly in the races in Asylum is probably restricted to the clinically insane as you don't have a ton of a single race to work on. It's possible, but nobody expects you to. Make sure to use your Grisly Trophy skill on each humanoid enemy you defeat, you'll need the dues later. As soon as you feel ready (have explored the areas that lock at 10 and gotten a fairly high rank in the races there), feel free to level past 10 all the way to level 15. Once you hit level 15, you should be able to hit places that lock at level 20 as well, and the places that lock at 15 will be a bit easier with your better skills, including the most used skill a Hand will ever learn, the 2nd most important skill in your repertoire, Stab.

Levels 15-20

A whole new world!
Once you reach level 15, a few things change. First off, you'll need dues to level, but if you've been using grisly trophy on all the corpses you've been making while raising your assassination ranks, you should have way more than enough. Also, now that you have Stab you can go midrow in a party and use Stab to attack enemies while a tank takes the damage. This role in a party is called blasting. Hands can also tank, but if you haven't gotten any decent equipment it'll be difficult. Tanking becomes a bit easier if you've trained maneuver up to a decent level and set it by typing 'defense maneuver'. Also, level 15+ will see a difference in how you level. At this level, you'll be wanting to NOT spend your xp, instead saving up gold so you can buy equipment and training. Some of the areas that lock at 15 can be handy for gaining gold, so you may want to put off levelling until you've gotten some decent armor and weapons and trained your more important skills up as the following sections mention.

Important help files
help seek
help party

Level 15 is where you start needing to grow up. Your newbie equipment won't carry you much further, so it's time to start looking for better gear. If you don't have a castle room by now, get one. You'll want to get a better dagger ASAP. Two good ones are Needletooth (great stabber, 70% electric, 30% physical, 70 WC, 70% chance of special), and Sharp Dagger (Make sure it's the one from Artemis, typically called an Artemis dagger. Superb stabber, 100% physical, 70 WC). The Artemis dagger has the best stab rating, which influences the power of stab and backstab, but needletooth can be enhanced with the Bless Dagger skill to make them exactly the same in this regard. In general, Needletooth is better because physical is a pretty bad damage type, as well as the special attack, by the Artemis dagger has a special trick. Electric isn't that great of a damage type either, it's still mostly reduced by armor, and if plenty of people use electricity to cause damage, the power of electricity goes down while the power of disintegration goes up. Hence, electric can become a pretty bad damage type. Physical on the other hand, can become whatever you want it to. The spell Cyllyls Blade can replace up to 30% physical on a weapon with disintegration. In addition, a fair number of other guilds can replace physical on a weapon, such as a jomsviking's triumph rune or a discordian's chaos lace which add a random damage type, or an alchemist's elementalize, which adds a damage type of your choosing (except Sonic, Holy, Unholy, Psionic, or Primal). Templars can add holy if you're good aligned, and cultists can add unholy if you're evil as well. Most guilds can only add around 30% or so, though powerful alchemists, templars, and cultists can further increase theirs to 50%. As a result, the sharp dagger can be better as a 50% holy, 50% harm dagger is pretty much always better than 70% elec, no matter what the other 30% is. Finding a specialist who can do a 50% enchant can be difficult however.
There are a number of other decent weapons as well, check out www.retroeq.com to find out about some of them. Namely Ryukens, which have a healing special, Gnaws, which are a cheap dagger that, while bad for stabbing, has a 60% harm 40% physical, making it great for melee without enchanting first, and any type of bludgeon is handy if you're hoping to stun your enemy for anything longer than 1 round.

Next up, you'll want to find armor. This is a bit harder to write a guide for, as your race of choice will determine which slots you have, and thus what you can equip. Check out www.retroeq.com or ask other guild members for advice. In general, you want to focus almost exclusively on epr (EP regeneration) and agility, getting almost top of the line stuff. The real top of the line stuff will likely be quite expensive, while the lesser stuff probably won't be sold often. Some simple choices most races can equip are a Simple Sash, Wanderer's Rings, and an Executioner's Cloak. This will likely set you back quite a bit, so the 15-20 level is where you'll be really focusing on how much gold you'll be making.

You'll also want to venture into taking your skills past freemax. Take a good hard look at all the skills and think about what you've been using. Obvious choices to take up are Intimidation (take this up first, the main reason to train it is to get a discount on everything you sell, as well as reduce the cost of training. It will pay for itself), Attack, Dagger, Infighting, Stab, Ambidexterity, Cyllyls Blade, Cyllyls Grace, Innervate, and Maneuver. Take them to 80% at least, during your training, and all of these should be taken to your racial max once you can get the money. Additional skills that should be treated that way as you level up are Shadow Form, Instant Stand, Tumbling Attack, Enhance Criticals, Backstab, Assassination, and Opportunity. Just about everything else can be left at freemax without too many problems.

Now that we've covered all the things you're going to work for, here's where to work for it. If you didn't advance past level 15, you'll still have those areas to farm in. In addition, you can take areas up to ones that lock at 20, and as you level up your strength will grow immensely, enabling you to tackle far greater areas.

Areas to level
In addition to the areas that lock at 15, there are a number of other areas you can hit. Most of the places that lock at 20 can at least be explored, if not farmed in by a level 15 Hand, and these will really come in handy once you feel you're ready to continue on the path to 20.
Level-lock 20
Wumpus - Dwarf
Biological Station - Gnomes
Haelis' Manor - Ghoul, Zombie, Skeleton, (rest only have one foe for each of them) Vargoulle, Vampire, Frankenstein, Callicantzari, Lich, Grim Reaper
Moloc's Cathedral - Random (Crypt)
Entrance to a Valley (Minotaur Valley) - Minotaurs
Utopia - Humans
Boelir Camp - Boelir
Siggura's Excavation - Unknown at this writing
Kobold Caverns - Kobold
Danowyr Outpost - Human, demon
Quarry - Random
Nomadic Encampment - Human
Magic Lamp - No monsters, explore it anyway
A small house - Human
The Mound - Non-humanoid ants
A deep valley - Arakun, others
Ancient Fortrest (Ong's Hat) - Arakun (Actually locks at 21, close enough though)
Lord Ovid's Dinosaur Camp - Human, other (Locks at 21)
Orel - Tywimn
Barrow Downs - Muridan, Titan (only one), Undead (need confirmation on type)
Grand Hotel of Keystone - Random
Olgahoffen's Farm - Human, other
Azalin's Hunting Lodge - Vulpin, Giant, Leprechaun, Kreen, Hephestian, Shadow
Militiade's Hostel - Arakun, Catfolk, Human, Papua
Croshmok - Ettin
Corridor in front of Casino - Random (Wysoom)x
A balmy beach - Human, Jinn
3 Sisters Island (Cove) - Unknown (Locks at 22)

As you become more powerful, you'll be able to enter more dangerous areas. Levellocks become less of a way to determine the difficulty of an area, as some areas are made more difficult than others simply due to a low level lock on a place with more dangerous monsters with other areas that lock (Example: Elysium is an easy area that locks at 25. Drakhen Sanctuary is a hard place that locks at 25. Defeating the boss of the Cerulean grove will likely cause a few deaths even with a full party of level 25 people). However, there are a few areas you'll be able to hit as you near level 20, and especially once you hit it.

Various locks over 20
An Abandoned Outpost (Derencor Outpost)- Vampire, Gorgon (Levellock 35)
Gnomevale - Gnomes and kobolds (autognomes and megagnomes are non-humanoid). (No levellock. Gems dropped here are a great source of gold, ESPECIALLY if you can find a merchant player to cut and sell them for you)
Chovihani Guild - Humans (No levellock. Exit isn't on the map, but is in the hills on the perimeter of the forest)
Shadow King's Tower - 2 Humans. Fairly useless, but gives a world channel message when you beat the boss, making it a little fun. Fairly easy area, could be done at level 10 probably :P)
Warrenhome - Muridan, Slaad, Poucadd, Ratfolk, Dwarf, Goblin. (Levellock 39. Slaad's stun, and the elders have a few nasty spells. Most of the poucadds and the dwarves are good, rest are evil.
Adventurer's Challenge - ONE human. Very easy. No lock
Circle of Wagons - Human, Kanku, Elf, Atomy, others
Elysium - Anakim (Matrons and Patrons stun. Guards inside the city are fairly tough, recommended not to go inside once you get a slayer. VERY good place to get gold drops. Levellock 25)
Odie's Mansion - Jinn, random (Stick to the first floor, and the combat trainees stun and use a combat starter if you idle in their room. No levellock)
Lao-Lung - Various (Wizards (Human)on eastern side and monks(Random, large number of guaranteed Catfolk) on western side are farmable at newbie levels. Avoid the more powerful 'boss' monsters. North section leads to the Ninja guild, but the mobs there are way too powerful to solo. No levellock)
Besieged Castle - Uruk, Human (Levellock 25)
Palim Mountains Cave - Giant, Dwarf (No lock. Dwarves are incredibly tough, captains stun, and there are 3 bosses in the area that will attack on sight and are highly tough. Use enhanced peer and if what you see isn't an Oggre or dwarf, don't enter)
The Village of Moseyvir - Human, Werewolf, demon boss
Artist's Retreat - Painting, various (Only source of Painting monsters. Levellock 30)
Mysterious Iceberg - Devil, Golem, various (Stick to the frostlings and slaves, avoid the others. You need a pair of lockpicks for the entrance after you find the hidden door, need to be around size 80 or smaller to explore the area, and need to use magical flight such as Hand Spring to get back up the shafts. No levellock anymore)

There may be other areas you can go to, or some of these areas may be too difficult depending on your race, equipment, training, and other factors. Past the areas that lock at 20 it becomes more difficult to solo, and you will need to get a hang on partying to start making the serious xp and gold. Train Stab and Assassination as high as you can, put yourself on seek as a blaster, and take what parties you can get to get the hang of things. Eventually once you get the hang of things and train your defensive abilities more, give tanking a try in some of the easier areas you've blasted for, or ask the midrowers for suggestions on where to go. Popular locations for a low level tank are the thunderfist guild and chantry. Many of the areas in the over level 20 list can be made easier by partying. If you're blasting you can probably get pulled into some areas quite a bit above where you can survive such as Stonehelm, mad merchant mines, dwellers, and other such places (these 3 listed are great for gold, and can really help you get the training you need)


Once you pass level 20 you'll need to look into your secondary guild as you have now graduated into being a Fidai. Even once you're approaching 20, the various races make for all kinds of various choices in what's easy and what's hard(Arakun for example has a much more difficult time in areas that stun whereas Papua don't, but arakun can fly and use a 2handed weapon along with a 1handed by equipping the 1handed in their right hand and the 2handed in their left hand, supported by their third hand (tail)). It's very difficult to give a general guide on what to do past 20 as not only is race a concern, but your secondary guild, and once you branch out in tertiary guilds it's even more of change! Besides, part of playing Retro is learning what to do. While I've done my best to give you the information to survive your newbie days, you'll learn a lot on the path, and you should be more than capable of using the information you have to make your own decisions, though feel free to ask for any opinions considering secondary or tertiary guild choices.

All in all, the most important thing to remember while playing Retro is to get along with others and have fun playing the game. Your fellow players are what make the game it's most enjoyable, and once you get out of the newbie levels and into the real world you'll be forced to learn how to cooperate. Make some friends, get started roleplaying, and pass along whatever advice and help you've gotten on to the newbies that come after you, and you'll find Retro to be very enjoyable.

See you out there, and make Cyllyl proud!

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