Getting Started

Starting Quickly

Blades of Exile is designed to be as simple as possible to learn and play. If you, like many game-players, dislike reading the manual before jumping into the game, go ahead. It is recommended you read the Introduction (the next section), the overview of the most important commands (the section before), look at the illustrations to see what the buttons do, and, if you plan to design your characters from scratch (eventually a good idea), read the section describing what the skills are.

If you were lucky enough to have played Exile: Escape From the Pit, Exile II: Crystal Souls, or Exile III: Ruined World, you will have a very easy time getting into the swing of things here. The commands are basically the same, and the differences will be pretty easy to pick up as you go along.

Introduction to the World of Exile

The world of Exile is a huge place. Actually, it's two very different worlds in one. First, there's the surface world. The surface world is ruled by the Empire. That's what its called. The Empire. Not the Empire of Something, or the Something Empire. Just the Empire. It's understandable. There's no need for elaborate names when there's only one game in town.

The second world is the underworld, the networks of thousands of miles of caverns and tunnels, ever hidden from the sun, spiraling down to depths unimagined, filled with bizarre races of creatures, some friendly, most hostile. For many years, the Empire, in its arrogance, banished everyone it felt didn't fit in. Eccentrics, petty criminals, malcontents, they were all regarded as undesirable by the Empire. And, for many years, these unwanted citizens were sent into this underworld. There, against horrible odds, they formed their own nation. They called it Exile.

Exile is a network of hundreds of miles of caves and tunnels, forming an enormous, weblike labyrinth of warrens under the surface of the world. Kept lit by magic, fed by fungus, and populated by the unending stream of humans (and humanoids) from the surface, the people of Exile struggled by as best they could for many years.

They were opposed by demons. Many of these creatures, led by the demon lord Grah-Hoth, had been Exiled from the infernal realms to the caves where the humans were sent. There were the Nephilim, a barbarian race that once roamed the surface and, like the Exiles, had been banished from the surface. There were the slithzerikai, a subterranean lizard people, many of whom considered humans to be foes at best, meat at worst.

It seemed that there was no way for the humans to survive in this alien environment, opposed as they were by so many hostile creatures. When Exile was established, however, the Empire, complacent and arrogant, made its greatest mistake and gave Exile the boon it needed to survive. It sent down several mages, powerful mages, who were on the wrong side of a political struggle. The winners, Emperor Hawthorne and the archmage Garzahd, were confidant that sending down these archmagi would not be a problem. They even thought that maybe their skills could later be harnessed, once they were beaten down by several years of rotting in the sunless lands.

They could not have been more wrong.

Some of the exiled wizards, like Rone, and Solberg, and Patrick, were content simply building a better life for the Exiles. They united the Exiles into one nation, raised an army, and beat back the Nephilim and slithzerikai and, in one huge battle, imprisoned the demon Grah-Hoth. From there, the wizards tried to form a healthy, peaceful life, doing their best to forget the humans who had sent them from the light of the sun.

One of the wizards, however, was named Erika Redmark. A harsh and vindictive incantatrix, she enlisted a band of adventurers, made tough by their years below, in a wild, dangerous, and eventually successful scheme. She wanted to assassinate Hawthorne, brilliant and evil Emperor of the surface world.

Five years later, Hawthorne was killed in his own throne room.

The response was immediate, and vicious. First, the portal into Exile was closed. Nobody was to be sent through. Second, other portals were created in remote areas of Exile. Soldiers were sent there, the finest soldiers in the Empire's army. They had one mission: Vengeance. Not one citizen in this subterranean den of vipers was to escape alive.

In launching this invasion, however, the Empire made their critical mistake. They discovered a new, bizarre, humanoid race living even farther down in the caves - the Vahnatai. These creatures were highly intelligent and resourceful, and very skilled in the use of crystals for magical deeds. In fact, they had the ability to take the spirits of their ancestors, and bring them back in crystalline form. These revered forefathers, the Crystal Souls, were their spiritual guides, and the beings most revered by their people.

The Empire, seeing how strange and powerful the Crystal Souls were, kidnapped three of them. The Vahnatai, appalled by the magnitude of this crime but unsure of the identity of the perpetrators, attacked Exile.

Fortunately, aided by the peaceful Vahnatai Bon-Ihrno, a group of bold Exiles were able to infiltrate the Empire lands, steal the Crystal Souls, and return them to their rightful owners. In return, the Vahnatai joined forces with the Exiles, and used their mighty magic to slaughter the Empire troops. The Empire War finally ended, bloodily and victoriously.

Aided by Erika Redmark and their new Vahnatai allies, the Exiles built a mighty teleporter, a magical machine able to send many people in an instant from the caves to the surface. The Exiles hoped to find a part of the world as yet uncrushed by the Empire. Little did they know that the Vahnatai had plotted a savage revenge against the Empire. Their fury at the Empire for stealing their Crystal Souls was so great that they tried to kill every person on the surface, by inflicting them with plagues of vicious, lethal magical monsters.

Fortunately, a band of Exiles, seeing the surface world they so longed to rejoin threatened, opposed the Vahnatai and brought the plagues of monsters to an end. The leader of the Vahnatai, Rentar-Ihrno, was defeated. She fled to the lowest depths of the underworld, but not before she slew Erika.

Empress Prazak, the leader of the Empire, who is a good deal wiser and kinder than her predecessor, rewarded the Exiles with a corner of Valorim, the wildest and most unsettled portion of the Empire. Half of the people of Exile left the caves they loathed to return home. They now live on the surface, and have an uneasy peace with the Empire. The rest of the Exiles stay below, having come to regard Exile as their home. They have been joined by many friendly slithzerikai and Nephilim, although the barbarian members of those races raid Exile settlements whenever possible.

And, below everyone, ever lurk the Vahnatai. The Vahnatai still nurse a constant fury against the humans that defied them, and they are nervous about the other races that are constantly advancing through the caves they consider theirs. On the other hand, many of them, in their hearts, long for peace. It is a constant political struggle in the Vahnatai homeland, and the few contacts between them and other races tend to be very eccentric.

There are many forces in these two worlds, above and below ground. The people of Exile, above and below the surface, try to survive. The Empire tries to hold control, even as forces of rebellion keep poking up all around. The Vahnatai want to be safe. The Nephilim and slithzerikai fight to survive, often at the expense of others.

It's a tumultuous world, filled with combat and confusion. What better environment for a group of adventurers (like you) to make their fortunes?

Starting the game

Once you run Blades of Exile and see the title screen, you have five options:

Load Saved Game
Resumes a game you've already started. Select the save file to resume. If that party is already in a< scenario, you will pick up in the scenario where you left off.
Make New Party
Creates a new band of adventures. A window will come up, and you can edit them however you want. When you're done, you will be given a chance to save your new party.

How to Order
This screen gives the relevant information for when you decide to register Blades of Exile. This includes cost, address, and the registration code (or codes) you will need to give when you register. Since the game is now free, of course, this is obsolete.

Start Scenario
Once you have a party loaded (by opening a save file or selecting Start New Game), press this button and select a scenario. This is how you load one of the four scenarios which comes with Blades of Exile. Click on the scenario to play.

Custom Scenario
Lets you play a scenario besides the three which come with Blades of Exile. Press the button by the scenario you want to enter it.

When you are just starting, you'll want to select Make New Party...

What is going on?

Before you can do anything, you will need to create a band of adventurers for yourself to control. This group of adventurers, called a party, will be your agents in the strange worlds you find yourself in. You can control them, talk to people through them, and sometimes even get them killed. You have to have a party before you can start an adventure. To make a party, select Make New Party on the title screen.

What is a party?

A party is the group of up to 6 adventurers, called player characters (PCs for short). You can play a party of your own making, or get a prefabricated party provided by the game. When you first run the game, select 'Make New Party' from the opening screen. You can then choose whether to play a prefab party or make one from scratch.

When you hit Make New Party, you will see the Party Creation window. You will be given six prefabricated characters, each with preassigned skills and abilities. To get rid of a prefab PC, hit the Delete button by its name, and then hit the Create button. When your party is how you want it, press the Done button to start the game.

Using the party creation window, you can select each of your character's names, graphics, race, advantages/disadvantages, and skills.

Race, PC Traits

Each of your characters can be one of three different races, and have any of several advantages or disadvantages. These traits will help or hinder your character in various ways. They will also affect how quickly your character gains strength. If you take a character with lots of advantages, he or she will gain skills at a much lower rate. If there are lots of disadvantages, the character will gain skills faster.

These are the races and character traits. The percentage following each trait is how much slower this character will gain experience. A negative number means the character will gain experience faster.


Human (0%)
The default race. The vast majority of Exile citizens are human. Being human conveys no notable advantages or disadvantages.
Nephilim (12%)
The Nephilim are a race of nimble, feline humanoids. They get a bonus when using missile weapons. Also, when character creation is completed, each Nephilim character gains 2 bonus points of dexterity.
Slithzerikai (20%)
The Slithzerikai are an ancient race of reptilian humanoids. There are two faction of Sliths in Exile. Some of them are friendly and allied with your people, and some of them are cruel and barbaric, and fight you whenever they get the chance. Slithzerikai are trained from birth to use pole weapons, and get a sizable bonus when attacking with them. Also, when character creation is completed, each Slithzerikai character gains 2 bonus points of strength and 1 bonus point of intelligence.
Vahnatai (18%)
The Vahnatai are an ancient race of spindly, grey-skinned humanoids that periodically enter a dormant state to allow the caves to regenerate. They are strong in magic, but tend to be weak physically, though there are exceptions. They have a penalty to strength and can't carry as much as other characters. Also, when character creation is completed, each Vahnatai character gains 2 bonus points of intelligence and 2 bonus 4th-level spells, Capture Soul and Simulacrum.

PC Traits

Toughness (10%)
A character with toughness is protected from damage. Practically any sort of assault does less damage.
Magically Apt (20%)
This powerful trait makes most spells cast by the PC more effective.
Ambidextrous (8%)
When using a weapon in each hand, the second weapon is used with a large penalty. This trait removes that penalty.
Nimble Fingers (12%)
This trait makes the owner much better at picking locks and disarming traps.
Cave Lore (4%)
The character with this trait is very familiar with the flora and fauna of the caves. When traveling, you will occasionally gain food from hunting. Also, this trait has other, subtle effects. Make sure at least one PC has it.
Good Constitution (10%)
This trait makes the character more resistant to poison and disease.
Woodsman (6%)
This trait is like Cave Lore, but comes in handy in the forests and glades of the surface. You will be able to hunt, move more stealthily, and occasionally notice interesting details. It's recommended to give this to at least one PC.
Highly Alert (7%)
Some of your foes will try to magically put you to sleep. Having this advantage makes you more likely to resist this nefarious effect.
Exceptional Strength (12%)
This powerful advantage makes the lucky character be able to carry more stuff and do more damage in hand to hand combat.
Recuperation (15%)
This is a powerful trait, indeed. The PC with this trait has almost supernaturally good health, and will heal damage at a much faster rate than normal.
Sluggish (-10%)
This character has much slower reactions. He or she will get one less action point in combat.
Magically Inept (-8%)
This character never got the knack of using magical items. For some reason, they just don't work on him or her. The PC with this trait cannot use magic items.
Frail (-8%)
This PC is a natural target for colds and other illnesses. They easily take advantage of the PC's weak constitution. Poison and disease have a harsher effect.
Chronic Disease (-20%)
This poor character has been cursed with notoriously poor health. Illness constantly nips at his or her heels. This character will occasionally, spontaneously become diseased.
Bad Back (-8%)
Owning this trait makes the character unable to carry as much.
Pacifist (-40%)
For whatever reason, this PC has taken a vow of non-violence. They will not be allowed to attack in any way, whether with a weapon, magic item, or by casting spells. They won't even get an attack of opportunity if a monster runs past them. Such a PC is automatically relegated to a supporting role in the party. Note: It's probably impossible to play through most scenarios with a party composed entirely of pacifists, so be sure to have someone in your party who does not have this trait.
Anama Member (-10%)
The Anama is a religious sect with a hatred for arcane magic (ie, mage spells). Members of the Anama get a bonus to priest spells, but are absolutely forbidden from casting mage spells. They also get an additional bonus to the spells Turn Undead, Dispel Undead, and Ravage Spirit. If you gave the character points in mage spells, they will be taken away at the end of character creation (but your skill points will be returned, and you still get bonus spell points from those levels). This trait doesn't prevent you training in mage spells later; however, should you choose to do so, you immediately lose 2 points each of strength and dexterity and 4 points of intelligence, your luck drops to 0, and you lose this trait and any advantages it confers.


A PC created from scratch gets 65 skill points. Skill points are a sort of money you will spend on abilities.

When you press the Skills button, you will see a window where you can increase and decrease this PCs skills. To spend skill points to increase an ability, press the '+' button next to it. Press the '-' button to undo the action. The cost in skill points to increase your value in each skill is the number before the slash in the 'Cost' column. The number after the slash isn't relevant yet (it becomes important when you train your characters).

Should you spend the points and be satisfied, press the 'Keep' button. If you want to start again, press cancel. When you buy and keep you skills, you go to the next step...

PC Graphic

To assign a PC's graphic, press the Graphic button. Click on the button beside the graphic you want to use to represent your PC, or press cancel to begin the whole process anew.

If you have a Nephilim or Slith character, it is recommended (though not necessary) that you pick a graphic from that race.

PC Name

To choose a name for your character, press the character's name. It must begin with a non-space character.

What about gender?

You won't be specifically asked whether your character is male or female. If you want your warrior to be a woman, select a female graphic and appropriate name.

Making a New PC

Should you start with less than 6 PCs or drop one later on, you can get another. Certain towns (usually the town you start the scenario in) allow you to create PCs in them. Go to such a town, and select Create New PC from the Options menu.

To find out what all these skills are good for, keep reading...

Getting To Know Your Characters

Your little computerized people are, basically, a whole bunch of numbers, each determining how well he or she deals with the horrid threats the game will come up with. These are the most important statistics.

Level and Experience
These two numbers (starting at 1 and 0 respectively) represent how much stuff your character has done. Your experience goes up when you kill stuff and complete missions. For every 100 experience points you get (adjusted up or down for race and PC traits), your level increases (up to a maximum of 50). When your level increases, you gain some health points and skill points (described below), and become a little better at everything you do. Alas, the higher your level, the fewer skill points and health you gain.
Skill Points
As mentioned before, these points are the money you will spend to increase your skills. After creating your character, you will spend them at training schools, located in certain towns. For example, in Valley of Dying Things, Lillian in Sweetgrove does training.
Current Health
This very important number represents how much punishment your PC can take before dying. Every time he or she is damaged, the number goes down. Time and magical healing raise it again, up to your maximum amount. Keep an eye on it!
Every skill point spent on health increases your maximum by 2. You can have a maximum of 250 health points.
Spell Points
This number represents how many and how powerful spells your PC can cast. Whenever a spell is cast, you lose some spell points. Time and certain magic items bring the level back up.
Every skill point spent on spell points increases your maximum by 1. Also, every level of Mage Spells and Priest Spells (described below) bought while creating your character gives you three bonus spell points.
You can have a maximum of 100 spell points.

The myriad skills you can buy for your characters are described below. Each can attain a maximum level of 20, unless otherwise specified. The cost for each skill in Skill Points is in parentheses after its name. Note that, when training in these skills later, each point of increase will cost gold, too.

Strength (3)
Measures how much brute strength the character possesses. High strength increases damage done in combat, improves odds of kicking down doors, and has other, more subtle effects.
IMPORTANT - Strength also affects how much health you gain when you attain a level, and how many items you can carry. Buy strength up to 3 as soon as possible. Otherwise, you won't gain much health when you gain levels.
Dexterity (3)
Measures how nimble the character is. High dexterity gives a better chance of hitting in combat (esp. with missile weapons) and makes the character harder to hit. High dexterity also makes picking locks and disarming traps easier.
Intelligence (3)
Measures mental strength and dexterity. High intelligence also makes your spells more effective, sometimes very much so. Intelligence below 4 makes your spells work poorly.

The above three skills are important. When high, they give many bonuses in the things you do. On the other hand, when one of these three skills is below 4, the PC will have penalties in any situation involving that skills. A PC in combat with a 1 dexterity will miss a lot.

Edged (2)
The higher the skill, the better the chance to hit with daggers, swords, axes, and other bladed weapons.
Bashing (2)
The higher the skill, the better the chance to hit with clubs, maces, flails, hammers, and other blunt weapons.
Pole (2)
The higher the skill, the better the chance to hit with spears, halberds, bardiches, slith spears, and other pole weapons.
Thrown Missile (1)
The higher the skill, the better the chance to hit darts, thrown daggers, and most other missile weapons.
Bow (3)
The higher the skill, the better the chance to hit with bows and crossbows
Defense (2)
This skill has three effects. It determines how well a character does at parrying, decreases the penalty in combat from bulky armor, and occasionally decreases the damage taken from enemies' weapons.
Bulky armor prevents a character from casting mage spells. However, when your armor is only a little too bulky, sometimes casting a mage spell will sometimes work when the mage has high defense skill.
Mage Spells (6)
This skill is very expensive and very powerful. It enables the owner to cast Mage spells of a level up to the level of skill owned. The maximum level is 7.
You automatically know most spells of level 3 and below. It takes some time to find spells of level 4 and above. Thus, getting these skills above level 4 at the beginning may not be a good idea.
Priest Spells (5)
This skill is very expensive and very powerful. It enables the owner to cast Priest spells of a level up to the level of skill owned. The maximum level is 7.
You automatically know most spells of level 3 and below. It takes some time to find spells of level 4 and above. Thus, getting these skills above level 4 at the beginning may not be a good idea.
Mage Lore (1)
You will occasionally need to decipher strange magical readings. This skill determines how good you are at this. If your skill is high enough, you may gain a spell or a valuable piece of information. What is important when trying to decipher something is how much of this skill is present in the party. One character with 18 Mage Lore is equivalent to 6 characters with 3 Mage Lore.
Alchemy (2)
You will eventually gain the ability to make magic potions. To make a given potion, however, your Alchemy skill must be above a certain level. The higher it is above this level, the better the chance of succeeding.
When one PC is trying to make a potion, only that PC's Alchemy skill counts. Thus, it is much, much better to have one PC with high Alchemy skill than several PCs with low Alchemy skill.
Item Lore (4)
When you kill a monster, there will occasionally be items on its body. Normally, you wouldn't know what they were. However, Item Lore skill makes it possible that when you find the item, you will know what it is. Otherwise, you would have to take it to town and spend money to identify it.
The higher the Item Lore, the better the chance of the item appearing identified. In general, several PCs with low Item Lore is better than one PC with high Item Lore.
Item Lore does not affect items already in town when you enter, or items gained in special encounters.
Traps (2)
Many chests and some corridors will have traps on them, which can be devastating. You will, however, be given a chance to pick a PC to disarm it. Chance of success depends on this skill.
Pick Locks (2)
Many towns and dungeons will have locked doors. A PC with some of this skill and lock picks equipped can try to pick them. The higher this skill, the better. Beware. Some locks are magical, and cannot be picked. Try the spell Unlock Doors on these.
Assassination (4)
Sometimes, when a character attacks a much weaker monster, the blow will do a good deal of extra damage. The more of this skill you have, the better the chance of this happening, and the stronger the monsters it can affect.
Poison (2)
You will find poisons, which you can put on your weapons for a little extra punch. Having a few levels in this skill will make it more likely you will put the poison on at full strength, and the less likely you will nick yourself with the poison accidentally.
Although you can buy a lot of this skill, 3-4 levels should be sufficient.
Luck (5)
This skill is expensive, but can be a bargain at twice the cost. Its effects are pervasive, subtle, powerful, and sometimes irreplaceable.

Eventually, one way or another, you will have a party to control. At this point, you will be returned to the main menu, where you can select a scenario.