Softcore Roadmap

© 2007,2008,2009 by Jef Poskanzer

When I started playing Kingdom of Loathing I jumped into hardcore almost immediately. I wanted the stainless steel and plexiglass equipment, and playing hardcore is the only way to get it. Now that I have all the stainless and plexi I wanted, plus a bunch of Mr. Store equipment, I play softcore so I can actually use the equipment I worked so hard to get.

Softcore turns out to be significantly different from hardcore. It's not just 'easier'. Managing the trade-offs between turns and pulls is fairly complicated. This guide gives you a roadmap to a fast softcore playing style, and will also help you understand the trade-offs so you can add more optimizations on your own.

Note: this is extremely spoileriffic.

Table of Contents


There are a few things to do before starting your run.

Day One Pulls

Your twenty pulls on day one are a critical resource. Twenty is definitely not enough to pull everything you want to have on day one. You must prioritize and pull only the things you absolutely need.

For instance, if you're pulling Epic Weapons from various classes so you can cast buffs with greater duration, do you need all of them on day one? Maybe you can postpone pulling some until later.

My current day-one pull list looks like this:

That is twelve pulls. It may be less for you if you don't have as much Mr. Store gear.

Your food and booze pulls depend on whether you're going to eat at level 4 and drink at level 6 or vice versa. Eating at level 4 is simpler but takes more pulls:

That is nine.

Alternatively, you can drink at level 4 and eat at level 6. This can be a little more complicated to manage but uses fewer pulls, possibly a lot fewer. The basic pulls are:

That is seven - because reagent pastas are so filling, the basic consumables with this strategy use fewer pulls. For a few extra turns, try making it to level 6 on only two advanced cocktails instead of three; then you can pull and drink a supercocktail.

However it's possible to do even better than that. The Typical Tavern quest gives you three flagons of swill as rewards, and you should complete it before hitting level 4. These can be mixed with all three of the Advanced Cocktailcrafting garnishes, so instead of pulling advanced drinks you can pull a bartender-in-the-box and mix your own advanced drinks. This saves two pulls.

Similarly, if you spend a few turns in the Knob Kitchens while looking for the lab key, you can easily pick up two Knob mushrooms or sausages. Then you can pull a chef-in-the-box and cook your own reagent pastas, saving another pull or two.

If the above contingencies work out, you end up with maybe five spare pulls (plus you get your chef and bartender installed). You can use the extra pulls on more Mr. Store equipment, a chefstaff, ring of conflict, or whatever. Skip ahead to the Day Two Pulls section and pick something.

Day One, Levels 1-3

Your first goal is to reach level 4 without eating or drinking, using only your initial 40 turns. This is fairly hard. You should adventure in the highest-level areas you have access to. The Safe Adventuring page will help you pick an area. Don't worry about completing all the low-level stuff now, you can come back to it later.

Day One, Levels 4-5

Your next goal is to get to level 6 with either eating but not drinking, or drinking but not eating. This is a little easier.

Day One, Level 6

Now comes the really hard part: getting your day-one Liver of Steel. If you make it to level 6 with at least fifty turns left, you have a good chance. If you don't make it today, it's not a disaster, just finish up tomorrow. But getting day-one Liver will help your whole run, and it means you're really starting to be super speedy!

Day Two Pulls

Time to pull all the stuff you really wanted on Day One but didn't have enough pulls for.

My current day-two pull list looks approximately like this:

The milk of magnesium vs. goat's milk choice is because if you're a Sauceror with Advanced Saucecrafting, you can summon a scrumptious reagent and cook that one glass of goat's milk into three milks of magnesium. Other classes only get one milk of magnesium, so they might as well pull it directly and save the reagent.

Day Two Catchup

You skipped a lot of things on Day One in the race to get Liver of Steel. Now is the time to go back and clean up.

Level 7

You should reach level 7 early on day 2.

Levelling Up

Now that you have Spookraven all opened up, you can use it to level up between quests.

Muscle Class:
Hang out in the Haunted Gallery with +non-combats. Your goal is to get the Louvre and map it out to find the muscle stats option. It's near The Scream. If you have Transcendent Olfaction, you could use it on the cubist bulls - they drop a lot of meat, and the broken swords pulverize to elemental nuggets you can sell.
Myst Class:
Use the Haunted Bathroom, again with +non-combats. When you get Don't Hold a Grudge choose "Declare a thumb war" to get myst stats.
Moxie Class:
Go to the Haunted Ballroom with +non-combats, look for the Curtains choice adventure, and pick "Watch the dancers" for a big moxie stat boost. Also boost +items so that the zombie waltzers drop more dance card. When you use one of those, three turns later you get a huge moxie stat boost. If you have Olfaction, by all means use it on the waltzers - you will get way more dance cards than you can use, and the extras sell well in the mall.

Also, if you have any clovers, go ahead and use them for levelling - the Gallery for muscle, the Bathroom (not Bedroom) for mysticality, and the Ballroom for moxie.

Level 8

You should get to level 8 late on day two or early on day three.

Level 9

Some time on day three.

Level 10

Some time on day three.

Level 11

You should get here on day four, or if you're speedy late on day three.

Level 12

The Island War. Day five.

Level 13

The Naughty Sorceress. You get here on day six, or if you're super speedy late on day five.

Before Ascending

There are a few things you should do before starting your next run.

Jef (#889940)'s pages / KoL pages / Softcore Roadmap