Precision Games

Birth Of Shadows

Introduction

This document provides help information on various game options. You can also view all of the information within the game via the help window.

Credits

Created by Michael Vitt

Game art by Mark Jones

Interface and cover art by Drew Benton

Updated scenery by Meagan Bowden

Music by Jesse Hopkins

Sound effects provided by Indie SFX

Special thanks to Ian Brown for assistance with quest content and testing

Legal counsel provided by Kurt E. Anderson, Tara L. Benson & Melissa V. Skrocki of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C.

Setup options

You can open the window for setup options by pressing the 'Setup' button at the bottom of the screen. From this window you can change many different game settings.

If a display option is unavailable for your video card, it will revert back to the current setting. The desktop resolution must always be at least as big as the desired window size to work properly.

Tool tips provide useful information for various game options. You should keep tool tips at the maximum setting until you become comfortable with the game.

You can hide or show the help window by pressing the 'Help' button.

Use the 'Hotkey' button to set the configurable hotkeys.

Choosing 'Ok' will set all new options and close the window.
Choosing 'Apply' will set all new options, but keep the window open.
Choosing 'Cancel' will close the window without making any changes.

Choosing a game

The campaign game is made for a single player. You fight against enemies with a story that progresses from board to board. The first board contains a tutorial to teach you how to play the game by using quest objectives. This is the best option to choose when first learning the game.

The skirmish game is made for a single player. You can play the same saved skirmish board in multiplayer games too.

If you want to play a skirmish game against other human opponents, then you have two options. The first option is to host a game, where other players will join you. The first time you host a game, you might be prompted by a window asking if it is ok to allow the connection. You will need to accept the option to allow computers to connect to your machine. You might also need to configure your router to forward data to your computer. Other players will need to know your IP address as well.

The second option is to join someone else's game. You will need to know the IP address of the host machine. The first time you join a game, you might be prompted by a window asking if it is ok to allow the connection. You will need to accept the option to allow your computer to connect to the host machine.

The game editor is used to create new skirmish boards and has several editing features.

Main hotkeys (shortcuts)

F1: Setup window

F2: Quest journal

F3: Character display

F4: Main menu

F5: Toggle the FPS/UPS display

Left-click: Interact with object

Right-click: Move to clicked location

Tab: Cycle enemy targets in range

Arrow keys: Scroll map

Pause: Toggle pause in game

Home: Take a screenshot of game ('screenshot.bmp')

Esc: Clear cursor if input box has selection focus, else cancels current action or selection on board

Enter: Gain input focus for chat dialog and broadcast message to players over network

Alt + Enter: Toggle between window and full-screen

Editor hotkeys

PgUp: Move quest selection up

PgDn: Move quest selection down

Insert: Copy selection

Delete: Remove selection

Add: Increase tier of selection

Subtract: Decrease tier of selection

Ctrl: Toggle selection

Tips

Press the PAUSE key during crucial moments to plan the tactics and again to resume action. You can still use abilities while the game is paused.

Pay attention to enemy buffs and the debuffs placed on you. Strip powerful enemy buffs like harm shield, which prevents damage. Cure powerful debuffs like poison, which prevents healing.

Fear can be used on multiple creatures at the same time. It can also be used after creatures are no longer enraged. Each rage level increases the chance to resist fear by 10 percent.

Make sure to gain player rage when enemies are enraged. Player rage greatly amplifies the amount of damage for harm touch and plague as well as heal amount for lifetap.

Gameplay

A basic encounter will involve using most of your abilities. Use your pet at the start of combat to absorb damage. Choose creatures that are immune to fear as the initial target. Keep your enemy debuffed for damage output and mitigation. Buff your character to gain long duration benefits.

Every ability used upon an enemy causes rage. An enemy enrages when its rage exceeds the limit. While enraged, the enemy is immune to fear. It has increased damage output and mitigation. The amount scales with the current rage level, which increases every time enrage is triggered.

Use torment while the enemy is enraged to gain player rage. When the enemy is no longer enraged, use harm touch to cause damage and lifetap to heal. You will always receive a critical bonus to these two abilities when player rage exists.

Many enemies have a buff or debuff ability. Some enemy abilities need to be 'countered' or the fight will be very difficult. Enemy buffs will be displayed as icons to the left. The buff that will be stripped by your ability will display its timer over the hotkey. Likewise, enemy debuffs on you will be displayed to the right, next to your cure debuff ability.

Multiple enemies need to be feared so that only 1 is engaged at a time. Feared enemies will change to translucent and blink when the duration is at 5 seconds or less. Any ability used on a feared enemy will break the fear effect. It will also break if fear is applied while close to enraging.

Prestige

You gain prestige by completing quests, defeating bosses, and destroying strongholds. The amount of prestige gained for completing quests depends on the number of items required. The amount of prestige gained for defeating bosses and destroying strongholds depends on the number of enemies that spawn. Bosses add an additional bonus due to their increased difficulty. The total amount of prestige that can be gained is capped at a maximum value.

Prestige determines the tier of your player, which is also indicated by title. The prestige tier affects several attributes of your character. Players gain additional health, better chance for a critical bonus when using an ability, and increased chance for a deadly strike.

Deadly strike is a damage bonus that can happen when the enemy tier is lower than the player tier. If the deadly strike succeeds, a multiplier is applied to the damage amount. The multiplier is equal to the difference in tiers.

Gems

You gain gems by completing quests, defeating enemies, and destroying strongholds. The gems provide various bonuses to your character. The quality of the gem determines the amount of the bonus. Upgrades always replace the lower quality gem.

The different gem qualities include fractured, chipped, cloudy, mediocre, uncommon, exceptional, pristine, and flawless. Those gem qualities are in order from weakest to most powerful bonus.

Resistance gems provide a mitigation bonus against enemies with that damage type. Creature gems provide bonuses only against those types of creatures. The strength gem provide a damage bonus for your player versus all enemies. Fortitude provides a mitigation bonus for your player versus all enemies. Focus gives your pet a damage and mitigation bonus versus all enemies. The remaining gems increase damage and mitigation versus specific enemy bosses.

Player pet

Players can summon a pet to attack the target enemy. The chance to summon a pet depends on the rage level of the target enemy. It is more difficult to summon a pet as the rage level increases. At rage level 10, it is impossible to summon a pet.

Once the pet has been summoned, it will begin attacking the target enemy. Summoned pets have a limited duration, which is displayed as a red bar over it. Once the red bar reaches the limit, your pet will retreat to the underworld.

Your pet will also despawn if the target enemy is slain or its own health reaches zero. Furthermore, your pet will flee if you use nightmares or fear on the target enemy.

Nightmares

Use nightmares to flee the battle or help split creatures from each other. The ability will project nightmares, which hides your location. Any action will break the effect. Players that are projecting nightmares change to translucent.

You must use nightmares when at least 2 blocks away from the nearest enemy. Your target can not be enraged or it will block the nightmares from its mind. The ability should be used to lose aggro as enemies will hunt players until roughly 3 times the visible distance from the player. Players begin to regenerate health after all aggro is lost for around 6 seconds.

Sometimes a group of creatures will be too difficult to fight at the same time. Players can use nightmares to help split the group to make fights easier.

One possible tactic is to engage the group with your pet. Next, use fear on the creature that you want to split. Finally, move away from the group and use nightmares on a third creature. The feared creature should remain. Simply wait until the regen message appears and engage the feared creature with your pet. You will only have to fight a single creature as long as the others are no longer visible.

Your snare ability may be needed if there are creatures in the group that are immune to fear. Try experimenting with different methods to learn the best technique for each situation.

User interface

Left-click a non player character or object to interact with it. Also left-click an enemy to target it. All abilities require an enemy target.

Hotkeys at the bottom of the screen are used to request abilities. A player can cast an ability every 2 seconds. The next ability can be queued before it is cast. Timers are displayed over hotkeys to show remaining time for buffs and debuffs.

The green bar above players and enemies indicates health. The health bar disappears when at full health. The red bar above players and enemies indicates rage. The rage bar disappears when none exists. The gold bar above your character indicates the remaining recovery time from using an ability. While the recovery bar is active, you can queue your next action, such as another ability or a move request. The recovery bar disappears when the recovery timer is no longer active.

Moving your character

Pressing the right mouse button will send your character to the current cursor position. The selected destination must be reachable.

Scenery

Scenery can block the vision of entities, which is called line-of-sight. Stealth enemies can make use of scenery to ambush you.

Game editor

The game editor is used to create or edit new skirmish boards. It will default to selecting items that are left-clicked. Switching the editor to fill mode will add the current selected item to the board. Right-click will switch between select and fill modes. Selected items can be copied to another part of the board, or flipped either horizontally or vertically. The items can also be removed.

Select a single interactive item, creature, boss, or stronghold to display the options dialog for that entity. New options are applied to all selected enemies.

Press the 'add' key on the number pad to increase the tier of all selected enemies. Press the 'subtract' key on the number pad to decrease the tier of all selected enemies.

You must add at least one player spawn point to have a functional skirmish board. These are the locations where players are spawned during a new skirmish game. The spawn point is randomly chosen if more than one exists. The same spawn point is used for the entire game.

Troubleshooting

If you have trouble starting the game due to a bad display mode, try deleting 'GameSettings.data' file from the settings folder. This will revert all of your settings to the default.

If you have trouble connecting to a host or starting the server, make sure you allowed the connection through your firewall. Sometimes the message box can be displayed behind the game. It is also possible to accidentally click on the wrong option, which blocks the connection.

If your computer freezes while trying to host a game, it is most likely due to a firewall on your computer. Some firewalls will block the connection, which will deadlock a single-threaded application such as this game. The game will automatically switch to window-mode for the first host attempt to ensure the computer does not deadlock. Try manually switching to a window and then attempt hosting to see if this fixes the problem. Once you accept the connection, the firewall should no longer block the game unless it is updated.

If the game occasionally crashes, make sure the video and sound drivers are the latest WHQL certified drivers. Most crashes are due to faulty drivers. Updating your drivers will help ensure they are working properly.