Balrum: Archer Guide

A complete guide to playing an archer character. Advice on character creation, advancement, equipment, combat, and important items.


Character creation

In my free time I usually: help out Ida on her farm (Farming)
This isn’t essential, but it lets you grow magic seeds and the other options aren’t helpful.

and often times I practice: archery with Fox (Archery)
Duh, this is an archery build.

I’m more eager to help out: Aron with smelting (Mining/Smelting)
Lets us smelt iron from which to make arrows.

Attributes: 3 Dexterity, 3 Strength, 2 Vitality
We care most about Dexterity, but the others are somewhat helpful.

Extra starting supply: 2 magic seeds
Other options aren’t good for us, and we might get something decent from these.

Extra item: Phoenix ring
Lets you resurrect your pet when it dies, which will happen a lot. The other item that lets you do this, phoenix egg, isn’t rare, but it’s a consumable and this way you don’t have to worry about it.

Difficulty: whatever you like

Slower hunger/thirst: your choice
I don’t particularly enjoy this part of the game, but you do you.


When deciding which equipment to use, I think Weapon Critical Change, Weapon Hit Change, and Dexterity are the most important boosts, in that order. Strength, Vitality, and Armor are nice, but ideally you should be doing a lot more ranged than melee combat.

I recommend a dagger for your off hand. That way you can freely switch between ranged melee attacks without taking a turn to swap equipment. Daggers do almost as much damage as other melee weapons, they have a higher hit chance, and there are some Archery combat abilities that only work with a dagger (Precise Cut, Dirty Stab, Shadow Blade). When fighting golems, though, you’ll need to switch off between a bow (with fire arrows) and the two-handed Golem Slayer sword (get from Fox in NW Balrum 4).

Most of the time, plain arrows work fine. You can make these by c’O’mbining wood with an iron bar, and you can make iron bars by smelting iron ore. You’re going to have more money than you know what to do with very quickly, so I suggest buying all the arrows, iron bars, and iron ore you see for
sale. Fire arrows are essential for fighting golems, but you can’t make them (wood + iron bar + fireplant) until you know Archery 3. Steel arrows are also great (wood + steel bar), but you need Smelting 3 to make steel bars (iron ore + coal in a smelter) and I’m not sure it’s worth the LP since by
the time you can get it the extra damage won’t matter much.

You can stack a ton of arrows in your readied slot, much more than the usual 64 items per slot limit. This is great until you need to switch to fire arrows to fight golems, at which point they’ll expand to their usual size. I recommend dropping them on the ground and coming back for them later.


When you spot an enemy, wait for your abilities to cool down, then send your pet in to attack it first. Once combat begins, have your pet move back towards you, and the enemy will follow. When it’s in bow range, start shooting and tell your pet to attack again. Start with your best bleed attack (Clean Shot, Improved Clean Shot, Arrow of Misery), then attacks that do more than 100% regular attack damage (Perfect Shot, Piercing Arrow), then the regular Shoot attack. If the enemy gets within 2 squares of you, use Blinding Shot. If that wears off and they’re still not dead, use Spider Web
(Spider Cave, SW Darkwood 37) and/or Laughing Skull (Larva Cave, SE Darkwood 25). If an enemy gets next to you and your Laughing Skull is on cooldown, use Blind and walk away from them until it wears off.

If melee is unavoidable, use Stun first, then attacks that do more than 100% regular damage, like Strong Strike, Slash, and (if applicable) Opportunity and No Mercy. In the worst case, you can use a Random Teleport and/or Speed potion to make a quick getaway.

Golems (regular, crystal, and swamp) are the hardest enemies in the game. They don’t take damage except from fire and special Golem Slayer swords. They have multiple stun and blind effects, and are themselves immune to stun. Consider going around them if possible and coming back later, especially if you don’t have fire arrows. Try to get your pet to soak up their initial stun attack (golems will attack the pet even though it can’t damage them), and use Blinding Shot, Blind, and Laughing Skull. Dropping fire traps in their path can also help.

Enemies in this game are rarely grouped close together. Usually you can engage them one at a time if you attack with your pet while remaining a safe distance away.

Many creatures (frogs, rats, larva, etc.) aren’t actively hostile and you can safely ignore them. But be careful when engaging enemies nearby or they may turn hostile and attack you. Deer are (annoyingly) a special case, as they’ll initiate combat but not actually attack you, preventing you from using auto-walk. Wisps will never attack you unless you attack them directly.

All NPCs have a level rating which indicates generally how hard they are to fight. As levels increase, they have more HP, do more damage, and have access to more special abilities. Most enemies in map quadrant are about the same level. If you cross into a new map and are having trouble with enemies of higher level, try going a different direction first. If you see an enemy with a much higher level than the ones around it (e.g. the sick troll at Darkwood NE 13), think of it as a boss and feel free to come back to it later.

Quests & Advancement

If you want to level up, do side quests. They give more XP and are generally easier than fighting. If you want to be a completionist, doing all the quests and fighting all the hostile enemies will get you to level 11.

When you level up, spend your stat points on Dexterity, or Strength if you have a particular item you want to use that requires a higher Strength.

Spend your first LPs on the first level of Pick Locks (learn from Rhys in the first town, Darkwood NW 27, after completing the Cardew/Rhys quest) – you don’t need any higher. Then level up Archery, learning as many new techniques as you can (these only cost money, which is plentiful).

You’ll probably also want to learn Swordplay, as melee can be unavoidable early in the game. You may want to boost Dexterity and Strength with LPs. If you can’t find enough snake fangs in strange bushes/mounds of dirt by midgame, you also might need to learn Hunting 1 to finish a quest.


Be sure to grab the plans for the bag of holding (NW Darkwood 39). If you like collecting, you’ll want to construct several of these in your Safe Place to hold items that don’t fit in your inventory. Even if you’re not a collector, be sure to hang onto the following:

  • Snake fangs, black blindweed, flameberries, apples, bread, silver bark, and a skull (for quests)
  • Iron bars, steel bars, iron ore (to make arrows)
  • Fireroot (to make flame arrows when you get Archery 3)
  • Crystal fragments (to make teleporters in Safe Place)
  • Ancient linen (to make bags of holding)

You’re going to find lots of non-stacking loot that’s not better than what you already have, mostly weapons and armor. You’ll probably run out of space in your inventory before you can find enough merchants to sell it, so stash the extra in bags of holding at your Safe Place. Eventually you’ll get access to Perry (Balrum NE 48) and the invisible merchant (Balrum NW 37), who can buy tons of stuff.

I suggest picking up the skull of the ghost deer (NE Darkwood 14) and shard of the mine (Darkwood SW 17), both of which generate better light than torches. With both, you can keep a light source running continuously and won’t have to worry about torches.

When you first touch a teleporter (Darkwood NW 43, SW 30, NE 29, SE 19 and Balrum NE 27, SE 41, SW 49, NW 51) you’ll learn the building plan for it. You should build one of each of these in your Safe Place. Combined with the various teleport runes, these will eventually give you the ability to quick travel to your choice of two locations in each quadrant of the Darkwoods and Balrum maps.

For an unlimited supply of wood, find one of the wisps in your safe place. Build trees to pen it in, then cut them down. As the wisp moves around, it will cause the trees to regenerate. You can use your Wisp in a Bottle item from outside the pen to recharge it.

You don’t need to farm if you don’t want to – you’ll find plenty of food to keep you from starving for the length of the game. However, you should have a couple of fields to plant magic seeds which can give you some items that are useful in early-mid game. Build them outside your wisp pen (see above) to make sure they won’t get diseased.

Make sure to eat and drink enough to keep the Full Belly and Fully Hydrated status effects up. That way you’ll recover health over time and not need to use items / rest to do so.

Build a bed in your safe place, then when it gets dark you can just go there and sleep. Of course, you can continue exploring using a light source, but eventually you’ll get the Tired status effect.

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Post Author: Robins Chew