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Low-Spoiler Guide to Return to Krondor: Hints and Tips

Welcome to my Return to Krondor hints page. (-: If you're new to my series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea is to point gamers towards things they might not have thought of in each game rather than divulging puzzle solutions or giving step-by-step instructions. There's not much point in playing a CRPG if you know the plot twists and puzzle solutions in advance, particularly not one as short and linear as Return to Krondor.

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So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible while still providing some valuable Return to Krondor hints and game recommendations. If you are looking for a more explicit hint, there's another walkthrough available here, which also includes a strategy guide and link of alchemy ingredients. My site here focuses on exactly the things traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical bits of Return to Krondor, detours you can take, little things you can do to smooth the gameplay out for yourself, extra details you might miss if you did only what was strictly necessary to complete the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether to buy the game, for example, and want to know whether there's anything you're going to detest in it--please try my Return to Krondor Review page to find all the pertinant information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

Now, on with the game!

Return to Krondor Hints and Tips
Return to Krondor Walkthrough
Return to Krondor Quest List
Return to Krondor Game Spoilers
Return to Krondor Patch and Links
Return to Krondor Cheat Code
Backseat Game Designer: Return to Krondor Critique

Return to Krondor Hints and Tips

Return to Krondor is a short and rather linear CRPG, but its flexibility and the general quality of its writing keep its linearity from grating at you as you play. There are no bugs in this game (at least, none that I found), and no serious gameplay issues. However, there are a number of things you may want to be aware of before beginning to play in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the game. Without spoiling anything:

Time Management: The passage of time is very odd in Return to Krondor. During the prologue and the first two chapters, time does not pass at all. You can spend hours and hours scouring the streets and sewers of the city, having dozens and dozens of combats, yet the sun will never rise. Then in Chapter 3, the game clock will suddenly start moving, and the sun will begin to rise and set as time goes by--a fact that is briefly important in Chapter 3, as there is one character who will die if you haven't gotten to him by the end of the first night. After that, time stays in motion, but becomes completely irrelevant. The sun seems to rise and set every couple of steps you take in the wilderness, but this has no effect on anything. As far as I could tell the interaction with Old Tom in Chapter 3 was the only time-dependent incident in the entire game.

Characters: You play with five pre-assigned characters in Return to Krondor, who join the party at pre-ordained plot junctures. This is a CRPG style that normally annoys me, so I was a little surprised to find it didn't bother me at all, probably because players are allowed to make significant character development decisions both in terms of skill advancement and personality. However, there is one thing I wish I'd known in advance, and that's that William the knight would be leaving the party at the end of Chapter 2 and never returning to it. Not only was I taken off guard by his departure (leaving gold and equipment in his inventory that he would never be able to use), but I was so sure the party would eventually be reunited that I had James carrying around a heavy suit of magical armor to give to him for the entire rest of the game. To no avail. William does nothing but combats from that point on, so he can't use gold, shouldn't bother with loot, and will never be under James' command again. Bummer.

Inventory: Inventory management can be sort of a hassle in Return to Krondor. In the early game, from the prologue through Chapter 3, things are pretty standard for a CRPG: get into fight, collect all loot, repeat until inventory full, go to store, identify/sell all loot, buy healing potions, and start over again. But once Chapter 3 ends, the party will be leaving Krondor for the wilderness and will never return to it--or to its stores. There are a couple of shops in Haldon Head, but they don't sell anything expensive. So once Chapter 3 is over, money is basically nothing but dead weight. Counterintuitive though it seems, from then on you never want to pick up gold pieces. Seriously. They're heavy and they're useless. In fact, except for quest items and magic items you actually want to use, you don't want to waste time or encumbrance picking up anything after Chapter 3 ends.

Alchemy: Frankly, I found alchemy a worthless skill to pursue. You can't use it until Chapter 3 anyway, and by that point, you'll have so much money you will no longer need it. The multi-piece apparatus takes up too much inventory space and dealing with all the fussy little ingredients is a waste of time. It was nice to be able to brew spellcasting potions, which there weren't enough of in the game, but the inconvenience of dealing with the alchemy apparatus was greater than the inconvenience of simply sleeping to recover spell points would have been, and the skill points I spent on alchemy would have been much more valuable elsewhere.

Making Decisions: There are many points in this game at which you will need to make decisions for a character or for the party. All of them have consequences, but except for the confrontation with Bear at the end of Chapter 10 (save before leaving the ice floe), none of them will prevent you from finishing the game. The best and most rewarding way to play this game is to role-play each character as you imagine him or her. Is James sly and suave, or is he brash and easily distracted? Dozens of small interactions go differently depending on how you play each character, and reloading each one is impractical, so you might as well just go with your gut instincts. If you want to see the alternate endings to those quests which actually have significantly different outcomes based on the choices you make, I've listed them here.

Random Encounters: During the prologue and first three chapters of the game, while you're in the city of Krondor, you can enter any building you please. Most of them contain a random encounter, a treasure chest, or both. The respawn rate is startlingly high, to the extent that if you stand on the street in front of two doors and alternate entering the left door and the right door, you will get a new encounter or treasure chest nearly every time. It absolutely isn't necessary to do this, but you can find nifty magic items and advance your characters' levels this way, and since you're always right around the corner from a helpful storekeeper, there's no downside to it, either.

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