Ultimate Starting Guide (4.1 to 7.1)
ACOK has a reputation for being a tough mod to start. Renown is required to hire units from villages and if you can't hire units it's very difficult to solo the bandit parties in the early game. I really enjoy the quests, lore and gameplay of this mod but I find it most enjoyable after the early game grind. This guide details the FASTEST way I have found to level up, make money, and be able to run around the map with out being scared of your shadow. Most of this guide applies to all versions after ACOK 4.1 but this is written specifically around ACOK 7.1.
Some general Tips:
- Quests give renown and xp. Completing the first 4 easy quests should give enough renown to start recruiting. Outside of that, you can farm renown and honor by donating money in random events.
- Explore the ruins. Each area can give up to 800xp and most have a hidden chest with valuable items. You can get to level 5-8 and over $4000 within 5-10 game days just from exploring areas in Westeros.
- Talk to Guildmasters to get easy 300exp. Village elders gives you 150exp.
- Start the game with a minimum of 12 strength. You need that much to hold a sword, but if you prefer to be an archer Power Draw is also a strength-based skill (4 ranks of Power Draw will last you a fair amount of time).
- Armor is VERY powerful. You need 20 strength to wear the best Full Plate armours (80+ body, 30+ leg). If you like to be an archer the best armor I've found without penalty is the Brigandine (43 body) (Reach cities). Best Bow is Dragonbone bow (Essos cities).
- Hidden chests can have VERY nice items. They are in towns, ruins, and a few special ones: one in the hills of Dragonstone, and one in Brookwater Keep (only accessible while doing a quest).
- Tournaments are the best way to make money (as of 7.1). 2k-6k if you bet 500 on yourself and win all the one on one duels. A good set of armor and a fast weapon make it a LOT easier. War cleavers are usually a good one-handed weapon choice as they are fast, hits hard, simple (it's a slashing-only weapon), and relatively cheap - a masterwork one-handed one usually runs at 1500 or so.
- Companions get exp from area exploration and quests too so I like to start with "gather companions" option and get all the free ones to start leveling them up. If you are playing a melee character, consider getting 2 ranks of Shield because one of your companions (Martyn Snow in 7.1) has an unused shield in his inventory.
- Enlisting in a Lords army can get you great armor and weapons. Ask for personal leave immediately and then you are free to continue doing tournaments, exploring and quests. It is much faster to level up on leave than in his army. If you return to service before 7 days and you have enough xp you will get the weekly promotion and you can immediately ask for personal leave again. Doing this perfectly you can become a Heavy knight in less than 60 game days (but usually more like 80 if you never teleport). You can give all the equipment to a companions inventory before your promotion to keep it. Make sure you have Strength 20, Riding 3, and Shield 3 so you can get promoted into a heavy knight. This is the easiest and cheapest way to get top tier equipment for you and your companions. Join Retinue - ask for personal leave - Give items to companion - Return and retire - Repeat every 3-5 days (you can only ask for leave every 3-5 days)
Optimized start sequence (First 20-30 days):
After getting "A new Begining" in Weeping town go the the Castle talk to Septon Garibald and start all the quest lines he gives. Also find the hidden chest in weeping town for some mail gauntlets and easy early game armor.
Do the "Terror in the Cairn" quest and explore the two areas nearby. You'll be level 3 or so when you come back and finish the quest. You'll also have about $1k in loot from the hidden chests from the two ruins.
Next head towards Oldtown to do "Knights of the mind". On your way find a Reach lord (they have the heaviest armor) and enlist in his army. Immediately ask for personal leave. Stop by Ashford, get the hidden chest and Guildmaster xp. Explore the 4 areas in Dorn (Tower of Joy, Vultures Roost, and two more in the middle of the Dorn desert). You will leave those places with a LOT of valuable loot so avoid bandits at all costs because they will utterly crush you.
At Oldtown get the hidden chest talk to the guildmaster (see the pattern, do this when you get to new cities. The hidden chest guide is below.) Go to the Citadel and give the letter to Haradon. When he asks, say you believe in the Seven. Go to the Archives and talk to every single maester in there. You should get a couple extra quests. Also there are some books in a chest at the back of the room.
Head to Lannisport to do "Illuminations". You need to bring at least $500. Explore the 1-2 areas on the way. Explore the 4-5 areas around Lannisport and Stoney Sept. (Castamere etc). At this point you should be around level 6-8.
Head back to Oldtown for your reward and xp. Find your lord with "8 days to finish your leave". Get your promotion and new equipment the next day. If you are going to miss your promotion day just continue doing your thing until the next promotion day and return with "1 day to finish your leave". Don't become a deserter.
Head to Kingslanding to start "Lost Knowledge" at Malko's book store. On your way the north to the quest location (Northern part of the Vale) explore the ruins near Harrenhall and Saltpans. When you do the quest bring a couple men with you. Even if you cant recruit from villages yet you can pick up a couple mercs from taverns. Complete the quest and return to kings landing. Return to your commander and get your promotion within 7 days or 13 days if you were gone too long.
Or while you're in the north head to Bravos and and complete the "Tombs of the Andals" quest for loot, renown and xp. Also go to the castle in Bravos and talk to the "Black Pearl" and another woman. You get free renown if you kiss them.
Go to Dragonstone and complete "Seeds of the Dragons" quest.
At this point you should have 20 Strength from leveling up. Go take a walk around Dragonstone. Jump off the wall and run out towards the "mineshaft" entrance. Next to it is a hidden chest with a dragon egg in it. This will sell for $24000. None of the merchants have that kind of money so I always take it to Tumbleton or Ashford and trade for the best armor, helmet, boots, and gauntlets. There is also usually enough left over to buy your companions a couple great sets of armor. They really start popping off when they can survive through battles.
At this point you should be near day 30 and near level 10 with decent stats. You should have several thousand dollars, top tier equipment, and decent companions. You should also have plenty of renown to start recruiting.
After, I like to do the higher level quests (They're really cool) ,do tournaments to make money, and level up to the top tier in the Lords army, start hiring the more expensive companions (if you haven't already) and buy dyeworks in Essos. (If you want to start your kingdom in the Westerlands). Also the if you go to Essos and explore all the ruins around Volantis there are some high priced items in the hidden chests. (Gold nuggets - $2400 and various other stuff)
Hidden Chests Guide:
Below are the hidden chests in the towns with the items and directions to some.
- Ashford - Wine x3 - Front gate, first left, first right on wall to right.
- Arbour - Chalice, grapes x3 - Inside an alcove in the left walls
- Barrowtown - Armour x3 - Keep left.
- Bravos - Iron Bars - Up slope from boat with triangle sails
- Draconys - Dried meat x1 - Just in front of the door to the castle
- Dragonstone - Dragon Egg - Outside walls towards mineshaft in the distance.
- Duskendale - Book: History of Iron Bank - Through first arch after entering.
- Fairmarket - Arrows x5 - Keep left after entrance
- Gulltown - Dagger - Against back right sept wall (in graveyard)
- Hull - Heavy Robe x3 - Against back right sept wall (in graveyard)
- Kayce - Iron; tools - Before entering city turn right to the three houses
- Kingslanding - Wildfire - Turn around, take the first left and the chest is in the back in front of a door
- Lordsport - Metal ingots - Under Bridge
- Lorath - +1 to Pathfinding book - under the bridge outside the city, beside a log
- Lannisport - Salt; Gauntlets - Outside City,near a tank with a waterpipe coming out under a cart.
- Lys - Lys Alchohol - Inside the triple tunnel
- Maidenpool - Wool - under the bridge outside the entrance.
- Myr - Myrish Bolts - At entrance on a cart
- Oldtown - Book: Seven Pointed Star - Under the bridge
- Planky Town - Grapes x6 - Opposite of the ship
- Qohor - +1 to Trainer book - Behind a wood pile, to the left of the main square
- Saltpans - Salt x6 - At the docks at the back of the city by two barrels on the left side.
- Selhorys - Old wine bottle - Right on the street to the castle
- Sisterton - Against the wall next to a Guardtower
- Stoney Sept - bread - to the left between to hay piles
- Sunspear - Wool - Up stairs, turn right, on the left side of the next stairs.
- Tumbletown - Stones x6 - Straight ahead via eshafot and then left
- Tyrosh - Grape x2, Penthoshy Brandy - Right to the entrance of the castle on a roof
- Valysar - Salt, Oil, Spice - Entrance of the castle
- Volantis - Book +1 Engineering, Helmet - Between two houses, turn right, in front of a barrow
- Volon Therys - Bow - in front of the tavern
- Whiteharbour - Gambeson - Go to the fields in the city, below a tank with a pipe.
- Weeping Town - Gauntlets; dagger - Outside town gate next to the gibbet.