13 things I wish I knew before playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a massive game, and the lengths it goes to simulate life as Henry—a nice boy, complete dork, and unremarkable swordsman—can make navigating an unforgiving medieval land quite the challenge. Things we take for granted in similar RPGs can have a permanent effect on your playthrough, and without the dough or deft sword arm to bribe or slash your way out of trouble, chances are you'll be spending a lot of time in jail (or dead). Don't worry, whether your goal is to become a valiant knight or roguish thief, we know a few tips and tricks that will make your first venture into 1400s Bohemia relatively easygoing. 

The 'real' game starts when you get to Rattay, so don't delay too much 

The first 10 or so hours of Kingdom Come can feel a bit frustrating without a proper combat tutorial, a reliable horse, money, or incentive to explore the world. Push through until the main quest brings you to Rattay, the point at which you get the actual combat tutorial, the means to make some money, a bow, and a few quests in, a horse. Mine is named Pebbles and we'll never be apart. Here, you'll also start getting more frequent side quests and incentives to explore the entire map. None of this is to say you should rush through the early hours, just don't veer too far off the path before getting your medieval adventurer's starter kit.

You're meant to suck at combat at first 

Henry is going to feel slow and clumsy with a sword to start, but that's baked into the role you're playing. He wasn't born an expert swordsman. You need to get him there through training, leveling up, unlocking combos, and perks. You'll also just get better through natural play. Until then, here's a few things to keep in mind. Enemies are dealing with the same systems you are, meaning if they swing a lot or block a lot of blows, they're likely going to be low on stamina. Try to keep track of how much they've been swinging, blocking, and time your flurries for when they're likely their most tired. Take stock of what kind of armor your enemy is wearing, too, as each material handles weapons differently. It won't matter that much in the early game, just try to aim for the skin or thinnest clothing. One decent jab to the face can take down the toughest looking brutes. 

Learn new skills and train with Captain Bernard

It's yer boy. 

To accelerate your combat skills, spend some time with Captain Bernard in the combat yard outside of Rattay. Once you reach certain levels, he'll teach you new moves, like the riposte. And while you train, you'll also level up your weapon arts as you would if you were in actual combat.

Don't eat too much 

The inclusion of a hunger system might make you want to hoard food and chow down as much as possible before heading out on an adventure. But, as with many of the systems in Kingdom Come, the game is one step ahead. Eat too much and you'll actually get a debuff that makes you slow and sluggish for a few minutes. A pig's head stands in for the debuff too, which is quite the mark of shame to carry with you throughout a world that operates on class and appearances. Don't be like me and get gutted in a river because you're too full to escape some amateur bandits. 

And save your inventory food for life on the road 

Pretzels, the true enemy. 

Speaking of hoarding food, don't do that. If you inspect food items in your inventory, they have a quality stat that denotes what kind of risk they pose to your health. Leave them for too long and you're almost guaranteed to get food poisoning, a status effect that drains your health and stamina over time. If you're near civilization, chances are there's a pot of stew nearby you can eat from without much worry. Otherwise, only spend money on a few food items if you're venturing out. Don't be wasteful, Henry. 

Poison your enemies' food, you monster 

If you find deadly ingredients, you can sneak up to an enemy camp's cookpot, usually at night, and drop whatever you like into the stew. Come back the next day to see how your buds are doing. Let us know your deadliest recipes. And don't taste any yourself, no matter how good it smells.  

Don't punch too many people in town 

Unless that's the Henry you want to be, I suppose. I'm not too clear on what affects the system yet, but your reputation with each town is kept in check. I do know that getting into fistfights with people in broad daylight doesn't do it any good. Now when I walk through Rattay I can't get across town without a guard stopping me to check my person for stolen goods. As a self-professed thief Henry, life has been difficult. Dig into your character menus to see how you stand with each community and be sure to play nice, if you can manage. 

If you're the sneaky type, be sure to pay Theresa's uncle ASAP 

It's yer other boy. 

Once you wake up in Rattay, you'll be in debt to the miller that paid your medical expenses and housed you during your recovery. You can pay the guy or do him a favor. Opt to do him the favor, even if it sounds a bit unsavory for a good lad like Henry. Dark times call for dark measures. Once you find the ring and deliver it, you'll unlock a merchant that buys stolen goods and a thievery questline. Get rich while taking the nobles down a notch. A fair exchange. 

Buy at least two lockpicks right away

Whether you're a valiant Henry or not, you're going to run across some early instances where the only thing standing between you and your goal is a locked door or chest. Be sure to buy at least two lockpicks as soon as you can. Don't use them on anything too hard or they'll snap right away. Instead, practice the unlocking minigame on some easy or very easy chests, and don't get too sad if you break a pick in the process. Once you get the hang of it, the only way you'll break that second pick on easier locks is through sheer clumsiness. Once you get Theresa's uncle on your side, he'll also offer to teach you how to lockpick. You can either pay him for a quick boost or practice on a chest he has out back. 

Repair your gear 

While adventuring your gear’s quality will drop, represented by the broken shield icon. If it gets too low it can never be repaired, so make regular stops at towns to get your stuff fixed. Armorsmiths fix armour, tailors fix clothes and gambesons, cobblers fix boots and shoes, and weaponsmiths fix weapons.

Choked-out people don't stay unconscious forever

He asked me how I was doing. I choked him out. Sometimes the job is hard on a man. 

In most games, if you knock someone out they function as a dead NPC except you get to live with a clean conscience. Not so in Kingdom Come. People come to pretty quickly, sometimes 30 seconds or so, though that time may vary on conditions we're not quite sure of yet. If you're going to knock someone out, plan on making a run for it before they get up and try to return the favor.

Save your Saviour Schnapps for risky maneuvers  

At the start of Kingdom Come, you'll get three bottles of Saviour Schnapps for free. If I could reach out and grab you by the shoulders and shake you, I would. Cherish them. Keep in mind that the game autosaves often while questing, and that you can always pop down for a nap in a nearby bed to save too. Saviour Schnapps should be used only when you want to try something risky, like breaking into a noble's room and stealing all their shit. It doesn't help that Saviour Schnapps are pricey early on, usually 100 groschen or more. Save your money for more useful stuff, like nice gear or bribes. 

Cheat with your bow aim 

Stick a small piece of tape or paper to the center of your screen, or pinpoint it by shooting some arrows at the practice range in Rattay. Henry still sways like a drunk at first, so you won't be able to bullseye bandits with ease—it's just a tad easier than without it. Know that great shame comes with this. To break the roleplaying contract is a grave sin. If only headshotting bandits with arrows wasn't so grimly satisfying. It's just so damn difficult.

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.