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These are my guidelines for those who want to make the most of the initial play, keeping enough time and resources to fulfill all the tasks providing merit and success. Starting from 11., you may then take any paths you want and you'll have plenty of resources (including remaining time) to do so.

General tips:
Only visit major temples (not minor ones) and only when you are asked to (opportunity).
Most valuable trait is intelligence--gets nice paying jobs, and significant price reductions in shop (almost half down). Another valuable trait is speed--you'll need it wandering about places.
If possible, always choose a different path when travelling (except if taking the train or stables--you should always pick the train and stables over other options because of speed and often cost); you will gain the most (experience, events, merit) this way.

Now to the initial play (first 20%):

0. At the beginning, talk to everyone you pass (hold Ctrl to see all). You will gain initial merit to sweet your bargains. Initial 110 drachmas will be sufficient to survive until the major milestone of the sixth fulfillment of this list.
1. In the Lahore Wonder House, learn about Punjab for a simple intelligence boost.
2. Take the Train to Umballa; spy on the clandestine chap.
3. Catch the next train to the station to the east, Saharonpore, and help the woman there. Continue with the assignments along the railway, and only travel by train or nearby (with options Hurry, sleep inside, buy food).
4. Major milestone: Eventually, you'll spot some priests--do the talking first with the lama (he'll ask about the soldiers) and then with the priests and you'll get the valuable opportunity to enter the school in Luckmore.
5. Enter the school, opt for current events to boost Intelligence.
6. Major milestone: Now you're educated and wearing a nice Imperial uniform, head (by train) further east to Ahanabad and enter the newspaper (special building). Take higher offered jobs and you'll have plenty to buy gear and go to serious expeditions, while building up stats you want. Make about 450..750 money to ensure fast travel afterwards. This is the best opportunity ever in the game--makes you smarter, defter, happier, even healthier, and finally much richer, all for a small time cost and no merit cost compared to other methods!
7. Return (by train) to Luckmore, buy some books. Read a few on the way that help you with what you still seek, e.g. intelligence and speed. Keep one or two to replenish happiness on the way as needed. You can also buy clothes.
7. i) Hint: Once you have the corresponding cloth, whenever you meet a fellow person, change your clothes to meet her style and you'll get extra merit for making contact with her.
8. You may now sell finished stuff (extra uniforms, books read) in Delhi on your way. You may also enter the club for some easy dough. You may start buying rumours to grab the assignments now you won't be spending significant time to earn and study.
9. Head to (by train, and possibly enter/resolve a few opportunities along the way) Amristar and load chai (about 15 will do). You won't have to rest and pay for rest along the way. Also check opportunities in Lahore. Buy oranges too, they are tasty and full of energy!
10. Now head to (and possibly enter/resolve a few opportunities along the way) Dehra-Dun above (north of the) Saharonpore. You can start north from either Umballa or Saharonpore (recommended), depending on your target assignments. Once you arrive to Dehra Dun, take all the gear you need: in particular, canvas tent, compass, rucksack and survey equipment will speed up your journeys considerably. With your intelligence and Dehra's price reduction, you will not spend a lot. If you feel travelling to far places, also consider buying maps. Everything for journeys is plentiful and cheap in Dehra Dun.
11. Before starting your cross-country journey, sell gear you do not need. You might collect some items on the way, also heavier stuff like weapons, and you don't want for extra weight (exceeding 120 lb which happens fast!) to drag you down.

To summarize, essential equipment you need for a long trip across regions:
Rucksack, canvas tent, survey gear, compass, maps, oranges (15), chai (12), some curry (lightweight strong and lasting effects), at least 100 money, clothes for the religions you might encounter often, and perhaps some medicine and a light weapon.

Always travel with options: Hurry, sleep outside (if you have the tent), buy food.

Now you are well equipped with gear, you can pick you lama (again), and head on exploring with sleeping outside, having money to avoid begging and otherwise sacrificing merit and time, and you can speedily travel from place to place! Have a good trip! (:
Thanks for this. This game is ridiculously hard to get started without this information. There is no way for Kim to earn money unless we know he can go directly to the school and from there to the newspaper. I didn't even know the character HAD stats that were modifiable to start with, let alone how to do that.

When I saw that the St. Xavier's cost 300 rupees to attend I assumed I would have to earn that before attending. I know, the lama offers to pay - but if he has 300R for me to go to school, why does he not have a single anna for food?

This game is unplayable without this knowledge. Unless you count restarting from the beginning after rage quitting because your character keeps fainting from hunger as "playing".

BTW, I would add that if you see stuff lying around that has a "take" and "take all" button (and that's all), TAKE IT ALL. This is apparently NOT stealing. Sometimes it is stuff sitting out on what appears to be a table, but at least once I have found stuff on a dead guy lying on the ground. Got a dagger from the dead guy.

Also, the world map does not seem to reset between plays. GIVEN that the map is too stupid to show you the city name unless you have traveled to the part of the map where the name is written, it seems useful to me to take Kim around exploring just to get the map filled out so you can tell where you want to go, even if he keeps fainting. You can ACTUALLY VISIT a city on the rail line and not be able to tell what the city name is on the map if you didn't travel outside that city while you were there, to the specific section where the name is written on the map. That map is REALLY REALLY braindead.

Note that the quest log doesn't save all quest details such as location of the quest, but you can check the map for flags for open quest locations. Thus I don't trust the quest log to keep all quest details and I try to write info down as I go just in case. I think this came in handy at least once already but I've already forgotten the details. Just don't necessarily trust the quest log implicitly.

Another useful note: WHILE YOU HOLD the CTL key down, characters walking around that have important information/quest will be surrounded by a many pointed star. Other NPCs will be surrounded by a circle. In either case, an NPC with NEW INFORMATION/INTERACTIONS for you will ALSO be outlined in black. Saves time otherwise wasted clicking on NPCs who have nothing to say to you.
Post edited January 27, 2019 by pahster
Hi pahster, I just wanted to answer a couple of your points. You do make some valid criticisms, I can hopefully explain the design intention behind some features.

First off, you're right that we don't explain everything up front in tutorials, there is a fair amount of learning as you go, which isn't always the easiest. We hoped it would be fun figuring stuff out and we didn't want to lock you into a long tutorial phase at the start. I think this works well for some players and obviously not so well for others. Since the game uses a lot of procedural generation, we wanted players to start again at least a few times so they can see the differences and try different approaches. This is where it is more a roguelite than an RPG, we wanted the optimal strategy each playthrough to be governed by what opportunities presented themselves e.g. if you find a weapon, perhaps you become more violent - you can always steal your supper!

Regarding the lama paying for you to go to school but not seeming to have any money, this is an interesting point. The first thing to say is this is exactly how it is in the book but the English characters are shocked to hear he can afford to so you are not alone in thinking it's odd :) My guess is that the lama's monastery is rich and he gets them to pay but he wants to travel as a pauper as part of his religious quest and he knows the people of India won't let him starve if he devotes time to begging. Kim can also beg for food at any Grocer and he will mention the lama and have more chance of getting some food if the lama is with him.

As for your comments about the map, you're right that it doesn't reset between playthroughs, discovering it all is the 'meta quest' of your time with the game. We felt that you needed longer-term goals that applied beyond a single playthrough. We also have the photo album to complete by visiting different buildings/landmarks/etc and of course getting the highest score you can.

However, the map should show you the name of every town you visit and indeed does for me (just tested it!) so if you get out of the train at any town and don't see all of it's name on the map, we will look into this for you. Riding the train through a town but not getting out doesn't reveal any of the map beyond the tile the track is on, this seemed like the best compromise to us so you don't reveal too much of the map too quickly when on the train.

Thanks for your feedback and sorry it hasn't been a smoother ride for you so far. I'm happy to share some tips to, for example, earn Kim more money if you like, just send me an email at to avoid spoilers.
Post edited January 28, 2019 by hoguean
This may be necroposting but personally, I liked the fact that I was left alone in the world and not sure what to do - at least for my first playthru. I learned some things, like hunger and tiredness tolerance, that made the next start way easier.