This page is a Beginner's guide to King of Dragon Pass.
Due to the nature of the game, this beginner's guide cannot guarantee victory.
This guide assumes you have never played KoDP before. You can also check out the very thorough game Manual over on the official website. (The A Sharp site also has a tips page .) The iOS version has a very brief intro if you tap Info from the launch screen.
King of Dragon Pass is a unique game with a unique set of mechanics. In this game, you will help a clan of people, mostly farmers, settle in a new magical and dangerous land, Dragon Pass. You will lead them to prosperity, to glory, overcoming a number of obstacles such as mighty wars, natural or magical disasters, unhappy neighbors, and demands from a great number of gods.
Still, you will strive to unite all the neighboring clans together, and ultimately become the King (or Queen!) of Dragon Pass.
Time & Turns
King of Dragon Pass is a turn-based game. An in game year is broken down into 5 seasons, each with a set number of turns, as follows:
- Sea Season (2 turns)
- Fire Season (2 turns)
- Earth Season (2 turns)
- Dark Season (2 turns)
- Storm Season (2 turns)
And one extra "season" representing the two weeks at the end of the year where preparations are made for the new year to come, called Sacred Time. During Sacred Time, you may only allocate magic.
Random events that come your way do not take up any turns. Only basic moves initiated by you, like sending a caravan off, exploring, etc. do.
When you start a new game you will begin with the recounting of your clan's history. You will notice that the gods have an important role to play, and are still very present in the Gloranthan world. Follow the history along to determine what choices your ancestors made in the past or click/tap on the Skip button to get a pre-generated history that you can still edit to your liking.
These initial choices impact how you will react to events later on. For example, if your history shows that you have accepted strangers into your clan instead of making them slaves, the spirits of your ancestors will make you pay if you take slaves later in the game. You are expected to follow in the footsteps of your ancestors, and honor them with your actions.
See Clan Creation for an idea of how these initial choices will affect your game.
The safest choices you can make during clan creation for your first play through are arguably the following:
- Whooping and drinking with Orlanth
- The Clan-making Dance (or the Healing of Orlanth for iOS players)
- Taking strangers as adopted family (slaves are difficult to deal with sometimes)
- Tada the Green, champion of the flat land called Prax as the ancestral enemy
- Balanced clan
- Uralda, the cow mother (cows are basically your gold)
- Neutral towards the dragons
- Claim more land than we needed, to grow into (more than that is harder to defend, less leads to overpopulation)
After you've made your choices your clan has settled in Dragon Pass and is awaiting the first allocation of magic for this coming year. Spending points on Crops and Herds is highly recommended, as this directly increases your wealth. Mysteries is also useful in the early game so that you can reliably unlock critical blessings. A point or two can be put into War magic if you can spare it.
You'll then be able to take stock of your early clan ring -- the leaders who run the clan. They can be re-arranged and replaced by hopefuls waiting in reserve. It depends on what sort of clan you want to have, but in general an early clan should have representatives of Barntar, Ernalda and Uralda on the ring. Chalana Arroy worshippers help bring down disease (again useful for the clan) and tricksters of Eurmal can be a boon too. Issaries followers and those seeking the wisdom of Lhankor Mhy aid in trade and negotiations whilst followers of Humakt, Orlanth and Elmal aid in battle. Choose well and pay attention to their stats, age and such. Old fogies may have higher stats, but they may not last as long and younger ones can be trained. If you're having trouble deciding, just try to get a variety of gods and skills represented.
Next, pay attention to the sowing of the crops and the distribution of lands in your Tula. The default settings leave you with less cropland than your oxen and farmers can support. Consult your advisors and adjust your land according to the numbers they give.
You will soon meet a clan of Ducks adjacent to your tula. The easiest option is to ask for a peace pact. They will agree to a demand of 50 bushels of food per year, but they will resent you for it a long time and launch raids. Don't bully them too much, because they have friends who are much meaner than you.
Then consider getting a shrine to Vinga, Dragon Pass has a hoard of discoveries for you to find, but guards it like a cranky old dragon. Without the blessings of Vinga, any party sent has a high chance of "disappearing". Shrines to Uralda, Barntar, and Chalana Arroy are also useful.
If you would like to launch raids, target one (and only one) of your adjacent neighbors. Raiding a clan repeatedly will anger them, but it's better to make one enemy than several. Construct a watchtower and other cheap fortifications as soon as possible.
By now you'll be looking to make a tribe, preferably with a king or queen of your clan. Try to settle any grudges and lavish some gifts upon your neighbours before sending envoys to entice them into forming a tribe with you. Be wary of making too many promises, especially if they conflict with others. If, for example, you where to promise one clan to praise Alynxes above all other critters and then enlist a dog raising clan your tribe will soon tear itself apart. Generally speaking, the various clans have enough variety to not step on each others' toes too much. Try your best, and it just might work out.
Your first goal is to become tribal monarch and complete 7 heroquests since your tribe was formed. You have unlimited time to meet this condition. Once the conditions are met, you will soon see the Tribal War event, and you are committed to see the endgame through.
This is the planting season, and you should not send out raiding parties unless you're quite sure your food reserves will last. If you do decide to raid, other clans will tend to be surprised. Cattle raids can be effective if you aren't caught.
This is a good season for explorers and trade missions.
This is the traditional time for raiding. The crops are growing and farmers are free to muster without fear of dire consequences. Clans expect raids this time of year and will be harder to surprise. Expect to be hit with at least one raid a year, possibly more.
Once again, explorers and traders have a good time this season.
The crops need to be brought in. Raiding is not a good idea, for similar reasons as in Sea. Similar advice applies regarding trade and exploration.
This is a winter season. Most orlanthi stay at home, away from the bitter cold and snow. Raiding is generally impossible, though one of the ancestral enemies can make it easier, and obviously people don't expect to be hit with full-scale assaults in such horrible weather. Exploration and trading are almost impossible, and best avoided. Use this season for feasts and sacrifices, and possibly fortification building. This is a good season to make sacrifices to magic and mysteries since there is little else to do outside of your Tula.
This is Orlanth's season, and anything is possible. It is a decent raiding season, though not perfect, and the weather can be unpredictable. It is excellent for heroquests to Orlanth, and almost anything else you care to try.
Send out as many emissaries as you can to improve relationships, the fewer people who want to raid you the better.
Try to avoid going to raiding during any season but Fire and Storm.
Trade is de facto one of the more important aspects of the game. It's the only way for you to gain more "cash" to purchase necessities like food after a poor harvest. You begin your game with 2 trade partners (friendly clans, usually not neighbours) unless you have chosen a few Issaries options during the beginning of the game.
These few suffice for a short while, so send out emissaries to flatter a few clans before sending in a trade caravan with hopes of establishing a permanent trade agreement.
Trading with ducks
Our feathered friends make good trade partners, but be mindful that they don't raise cattle or horses and have views on trading treasures that make it nigh impossible to get treasures from them.
As mentioned previously, a shrine to Vinga is damn near mandatory in light of the dangers inherent in exploration. First of all, you should thoroughly investigate your own Tula. To see it's borders press m when the exploration option has been selected. Aside from treasures your party is likely to find rare materials like green clay, meteoric iron, gemstones, glowstones and others. Such material finds oft prompt a visit from a neighbour's trader to get a good deal out of you. If you decide to sell them then you'll get a steady stream of payment, but if your clansmen work on the materials themselves you may make more profit.
Start slow with exploration. Explore your own tula repeatedly until you are no longer finding anything. Then explore nearby in any direction. Then explore the nearby landmarks several times. Faraway locations have more risk and more reward. Try not to overdo it in Dragonewt or Beastfolk lands. Too many visits in a short time will make them upset.