The Native Path
This page offers guidelines on playing a native in Shartak. It is intended as a serious alternative to the Newcomers Guide (which has some shortcomings) and focusses on the info needed to get a native off to a good start on Shartak.
The first two of these huts are often referred to as resource huts as they can be searched for essential resources. Searching in the Weapons Hut will yield blowpipes, poison darts, machetes, knives, daggers and sharpening stones. Searching in the Healer's Hut will yield healing herbs, gourds of water, gold coins, machetes (usually blunt), knives (also usually blunt) and sharpening stones.
The Trader's Hut is not strictly a resource hut. NPC traders maintain a stock of goods that may either be purchased using gold coins or bartered for using other items. The traders may also be persuaded to buy, or barter for, items in the player's inventory.
When starting out a native player should consider carrying 2 or 3 machetes (they can become blunt or break during use), a blowpipe, poison darts, a knife or dagger, a sharpening stone and plenty of healing herbs / gourds of water. Keep a few empty gourds and suchlike, you can refill them with fresh water. Remember that anything can be traded in sufficient quantity. Note also that gold coins do not take up any of your inventory space whilst all other items do require inventory space. Gold is best saved for buying consumable resources such as poison darts and healing herbs, use everything else as a trade item.
Skills For All Classes
There is a Golden Triad of skills for all characters on Shartak i.e. Combat, Healing and Movement. By developing this triad as early as possible the character will maximise the rate of XP gain. Early development is very important as XP costs for skills increase progressively. A poor start can result in a character being stuck at lower levels for longer than is strictly necessary.
Close quarter combat, Advanced close quarter combat, Body building then Balanced stance represent the skills that are available to all natives and should be purchased in that order. For warriors there are additional skills (see below) that offer a faster rate of XP gain.
If you plan to advance via combat you should get the HTH combat skills as soon as possible. However, until you have Close quarter combat and Advanced close quarter combat (and Body building too if you want to be really picky) using a blowpipe is the most efficient method of killing animals for XP.
Tip: HTH combat vs animals results in greater damage to the player than ranged combat vs animals. This can be used to the player's advantage i.e. to gain more XP from combat and self-healing.
Tip: Only the warrior class should purchase Basic blowpipe use. It is a dead-end skill for non-warriors and the XP should be used instead for the HTH skills.
Triage and Natural medicine are exceptionally useful. Triage offers no XP in and of itself, it merely allows identification of wounded players and helps prevent wasteage. Natural medicine doubles the HP healed by a herb and means that one herb can gain you as much as 10 XP (as opposed to 5 XP without the skill). It also makes herbs go further, meaning less time spent gathering herbs. Together these skills offer an XP income stream that does not rely on hunting or combat.
Tip: Wounded players who have run out of herbs usually head for the nearest Healer's Hut.
Tip: Those who wish to roleplay as healers should seriously consider the Villager class (see 'Other Skills' below).
Everyone benefits from getting the Exploration and Trekking combination as soon as possible, ideally after the combat and/or healing skills. Exploration enables the player map and Trekking halves the APs required to travel through jungle of density 6 or less. If you are playing as a Scout, then Trailblazing is also rather handy as only density 10 jungle can then slow you down (and moving through dense jungle can help throw off angry pursuers). The primary reason for purchasing the movement skills is to preserve more APs for activities that gain XP i.e. hunting, combat, healing, searching for goods et al.
Tip: Although movement skills don't earn XP in and of themselves, chopping jungle can earn a few XP and trading with a trader from another settlement can earn 100 XP for each 'first' visit (see 'Haggling' below).
Tip: Trekking should always be purchased immediately after Exploration as the latter is of very limited use on its own.
Skills For A Warrior
Although all classes begin with the same combat abilities, Warriors can gain skill levels very quickly by playing to their combat-related strengths. Hunting animals (or outsiders) is one of the best methods by which a new character can accrue XP. Obtain a blowpipe, machete(s) and a large quantity of poison darts. Whilst darts can be found in the Weapons Hut it is often quicker to get them from the trader if he has stock. It's also worth finding a few herbs in the Healer's Hut as the more aggressive animals will fight back and you will gain XP for healing your own wounds as well as for dealing damage and killing your prey.
Tip: Trading a single healing herb can often yield 2 or 3 times the number of poison darts that a gold coin can purchase, so don't forget to grab some herbs when restocking.
The Warrior-specific skills Blowpipe training and Advanced blowpipe training are a good route to levelling quickly as they offer the highest hit rates and the greatest damage (particularly vs animals) but they use up poison darts. Basic blowpipe use was recently added to the native skill tree for all natives and is now an essential for Warriors, ideally taken after the two Blowpipe Training skills. Basic Blowpipe Use improves the new base rate-of-fire for a blowpipe. With this skill the blowpipe is on more of an equal footing with the outsider rifle and carrying multiple preloaded blowpipes is no longer necessary.
Tip: As of May 2008 the blowpipe mechanics have been amended such that a fumble will cause a dart to stick in the blowpipe and render it useless. A wise warrior will now carry one or two spare blowpipes, just in case.
Tip: Don't neglect the HTH combat skills! These are the base-level combat skills for everyone.
Skills For A Shaman
Three skills are unique to this class and also unique to the natives - Exorcism, Spirit Summoning and Malevolence. Outsiders have no equivalent skills and thus no means of dealing with spirits. Spirit Summoning allows a shaman to force spirits from the nearby area to come to the shaman's location; with this skill the shaman need not search for spirits. Successful use of Exorcism will banish and scatter spirits from the shaman's present location and grant 5 XP per spirit so exorcised. Malevolence will force all spirits at the shaman's current location to wail and cause damage to those living souls present, granting XP based on wailing damage.
The value of these skills is heavily dependent upon the roleplaying POV of the player. Exorcism is the only way to keep a location spirit-free and is, technically, the province of the good shaman who protects a village. However the XP rewards from Exorcism are not particularly high and it is therefore not a good early purchase for a shaman seeking XP to help level up. Malevolence can bring significant XP rewards from wailing damage, particularly if there are many spirits and/or living souls at the target location. Technically Malevolence is the province of the wicked shaman as it can be a useful attack if conditions are favourable and the shaman is creative. Spirit Summoning is a utility skill that is useful for both shamanic types and it does not offer any XP rewards.
Tip: A shaman should consider taking at least one of the XP-earning options from the Golden Triad (if not all) before obtaining any of the shaman-specific skills.
Skills For A Villager
Scavenging is a must for Villagers playing either as healers or traders. Searches in the Healer's and Weapons Huts are 50% improved by this skill and the APs spent result in finding a lot more useful (and tradeable) items and a lot less junk. This is a powerful, subtle skill even though it has no direct XP-earning capability. It does allow a community-minded villager to flood the local trader with poison darts and herbs so that others can obtain them easily. And it allows the villager to spend less time (APs) searching and more time on other activities (hunting, healing, trading). As a consequence of the benefits conferred by this skill the Villager class is potentially the best class both for healers and for those who wish to accumulate money by trading.
Animal Affinity is a skill that results in good and bad effects. Villagers who possess this skill will be attacked by animals less frequently. This is good for ensuring that you survive a night sleeping in the jungle. However it also results in less XP earned by way of healing the results of animal attacks. Consequently this skill is less useful for lower-level characters who need XP and more useful for higher-level characters.
Tip: Scavenging is best purchased after one of the XP-earning options from the Triad. It is especially useful for restocking as a precursor to extended hunting or trading trips.
Tip: Scavenging works in all resource huts, including outsider Medical and Weapons Huts. A villager who visits an outsider camp should make time to stop off at the outsider Medical Hut (for example) in order to scavenge goods for trading.
Tip: Animal Affinity is useful for those who hunt dangerous game (e.g. the Kraken Hunters) as it greatly improves their survival chances in a dangerous encounter.
Skills For A Scout
Trailblazing is the only class-specific skill for the Scout. For trailblazers all jungle costs 0.5 AP per square moved (with the exception of level 10 jungle) and 0.5 AP per jungle square chopped. This makes Trailblazing very useful for getting around but it confers no immediate method of earning XP. It should ideally be purchased as a secondary skill after combat or healing skills.
Tip: A scout who engages in combat should always make a getaway through jungle of level 7 or higher. This will cause a pursuer to use their APs less efficiently and they will be less likely to catch and kill the scout (unless the pursuer is also a scout or an explorer).
Skills For A Cannibal
Ritual Feasting (and the more advanced child ability Ritual Gluttony) are class-specific abilities for the Cannibal native. These abilities have two functions - healing and boosting. An injured cannibal may feast on any human corpse and heal lost HP. An uninjured cannibal may also feast on the corpse of someone they have killed and by doing so boost their HP above the normal maximum for the class i.e. gain power from a defeated enemy. Although a small amount of XP and a larger amount of HP are gained for dining on a corpse, these gains are balanced by the AP used and by the risk involved in cannibalism when near areas of higher population.
Note that Stamina is a prerequisite for the class-specific cannibal abilities. Ritual Feasting cannot be taken prior to level 5. Ritual Gluttony cannot be taken prior to level 10. Ritual Gluttony reduces the AP cost for dining on a corpse but also reduces the XP yield. Both abilities provide the same HP gain, 10 HP healing for a wounded cannibal and 5 HP boost for an uninjured cannibal consuming the flesh of a victim.
Cannibals who wish to advance quickly should strongly consider the Hunter path detailed below. Killing and eating victims offers a cannibal the highest rate of XP yield of any HTH-combat-oriented class. A cannibal can eschew most healing needs and, with periodic kills, has the potential to remain out in the jungle for longer than other classes.
Tip: Although feasting on a corpse will raise HP it will not heal bleeding injuries caused by Shartak's dangerous animal predators. Always carry healing herbs to deal with such injuries.
Tip: The isolated village of Rakmogak is the home camp for cannibals. Opportunities for earning XP are rare on Skull Island; the risky cave network is the only notable exception to this rule-of-thumb. Cannibals who wander to the mainland will find richer pickings. There are two routes to the mainland - negotiating the cave network or the swim SW across the deep, shark-infested waters. Arguably the fastest route to the mainland is to revive at the nearest roaming shaman after dying.
Once you have maxed the three main groups (Combat, Movement, Healing) the skill choice becomes much more subjective.
Stamina is a good purchase. The extra HP can mean the difference between death and collecting the head of your attacker. It has no direct XP-earning capability but it does mean that you can take (and self-heal) a lot more damage.
Tip: Stamina should only be purchased when the character has four healing herbs in hand to immediately heal the bonus HP from stamina (and earn 20 XP for doing so).
Haggling is another nice-to-have but should not be taken too early. Traders can be visited repeatedly but XP from trading can only be garnered by continually doing the rounds of the traders at all settlements (not just your own). You have to move from trader to trader (camp to camp) to get the most out of trading transactions. Haggling can offset the negative reactions of a trader who is visited too frequently but it is not guaranteed to do so.
Outsider knowledge is useful to everyone. For natives the GPS greatly eases navigation around the island (an irony that the Shartak coder needs to address). It is also handy to be able to use outsider FAKs although they only heal 5 HP as opposed to native herbs healing 10 HP. Rifles and bullets are a waste of time for a native who has mastered either the HTH or blowpipe skill tree.
Tracking skills are enormously useful to those defending an area as, at higher levels, they allow you to track specific people if you have them in your contact list.
The following initial advancement paths are suggested for each class. Within each path certain skills can be swapped around based upon the preferred style of play. It is advisable to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a chosen strategy before implementing it in play.
(1) Blowpipe training -> (2) Advanced blowpipe training -> (3) Close quarter combat -> (4) Exploration -> (5) Trekking -> (6) Basic blowpipe use -> (7) Advanced close quarter combat -> (8) Bodybuilding -> (9) Stamina -> (10) Triage
This path is dependent upon the character maintaining a good stock of darts and relies upon hunting animals / outsiders as the main XP generator (the latter is especially rewarding as the blowpipe greatly improves the chance of kill bonus XP). It uses the higher accuracy of the blowpipe to obtain XP as quickly as possible for levels 1 and 2. A single secondary HTH skill is taken at level 3 to supplement the blowpipe. Movement skills are purchased at levels 4 and 5 to enable wider range of hunting and conserve APs. Levels 6 to 10 are used to round out the character and levels 8 to 10 can be swapped around as appropriate to circumstances. Following this path a growth rate of 1 level per daily AP cycle up to level 6 or 7 is achievable (and was achieved in practice). After this point the increasing skill costs will reduce rate of growth to a more normal level.
Villager, Shaman, Scout (Hunter)
(1) Close quarter combat -> (2) Advanced close quarter combat -> (3) Bodybuilding -> (4) Exploration -> (5) Trekking -> (6) Scavenging -> (7) Triage -> (8) Balanced Stance (9) Stamina -> (10) Natural medicine
This path relies upon hunting animals / outsiders as the initial method of XP generation and therefore establishes the primary HTH combat and movement skills as early as possible. At level 6 and 7 healing is established as a secondary method of earning XP and by level 10 the character is fairly well rounded. Note that this path works as a basic combat-oriented path for any class; a Scout should substitute Trailblazing for Scavenging and a Shaman should ignore the reference to Scavenging.
Villager (Healer / Trader)
(1) Triage -> (2) Scavenging -> (3) Exploration -> (4) Trekking -> (5) Natural medicine -> (6) Bodybuilding -> (7) Stamina -> (8) Haggling -> (9) Animal affinity -> (10) Outsider knowledge
This path relies upon healing as the initial method of XP generation and requires access to the healer's hut for supplies during the initial levels. Scavenging as a level 2 skill yields additional herb and trading stocks, the movement skills at level 3 and 4 allow for a wider range of play and XP-gathering trading visits to nearby villages. The lack of early combat skills does not preclude hunting as a method of obtaining XP; it just means that animals will not be killed as quickly and will likely inflict more damage before they are dispatched. Obtaining level 5 results in less need to restock at the healer's hut and opens up greater freedom to roam. Levels 6 and 7 improve survivability versus dangerous animals / outsiders. The level 8 skill presumes that the character is making frequent trading visits and it will help offset potential negative reactions but will not result in more XP. Everything from level 8 onwards is optional and almost certainly subjective.
(1) Close quarter combat -> (2) Advanced close quarter combat -> (3) Bodybuilding -> (4) Exploration -> (5) Trekking -> (6) Stamina (7) Ritual Feasting -> (8) Triage -> (9) Natural Medicine -> (10) Balanced Stance
This path assumes that the cannibal will be reverting to type and hunting animals / outsiders for XP. The primary HTH combat and movement skills are maximised as early as possible to increase hunting range and kill probability. The prerequisites for Ritual Feasting mean that it is taken no earlier than level 7. The prerequisites for Ritual Gluttony mean that the healing abilities are instead taken prior to level 10 to aid in personal survival.
Note that in this build the skill Balanced Stance is not taken until level 10 at the earliest (and may indeed be taken later). The default weapon for cannibals is the wooden club which cannot deliver glancing blows. The club has the same HP per AP damage ratio as a machete wielded by a character with Balanced Stance. As a consequence cannibals wielding clubs do not gain any benefit from taking Balanced Stance in the early stages of development. XP that might be spent on Balanced Stance is better spent elsewhere.