Steamband Gameplay

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This is a guide designed to help play the steamband roguelike.

Starting the Game

Choosing a Race/Class Combination

Steam Mecha are walking steampunk tanks. They are widely regarded as the easiest race in Steamband. Class doesn't much matter with a Steam Mecha, although something that does well in melee (including a martial arts Rogue) is an excellent choice.

Giants and Rakshasa have ranged attacks as racial powers, which means they can be developed cheaply. This makes them very useful for builds that need a lot of points for other things, like a Rogue trying to get full martial arts/stealth development and maybe a couple of handy side skills.

Officers, Dashing Hussars, and Adventurers all make fine fighter-type characters with interesting class powers. These are probably the easiest classes to try when starting Steamband. One warning: you should have some attack beyond melee and guns/thrown weapons. A straight-up pulp hero really isn't playable because some monsters will just shrug off all conventional attacks. You need device skills to use ray guns or some spells. That said, any race with big hit dice makes a decent fighter. Of the humans, the French are probably the best, because their racial power eventually provides excellent healing powers. Russians are also worth considering for intrinsic confusion resistance, as that is one of the resistances that you need to get pretty early to avoid tragic annihilation.

French Aesthetes are terribly appropriate, but run into the fact that enchanting items mainly just brings unlimited cash, which can't make up for weaker fighting skills. If you developed one as a fighter-mage type, it might turn out pretty potent.


You should carry stacks of various healing potions, much more than in other *bands. You should also carry escape items if you do not have another method of escape. Even Phase Door is pretty vital to buy time to reload a gun or use some of that healing.

In selecting your equipment, bear in mind that the most important resists to get early are fire, poison, and confusion. Lack of any one of these can get you killed fairly early in the dungeon. You can generally cover two of them with rings. Good luck taking care of all three at once. If you can remember to use swap items, running around with three rings is not an unreasonable tactic.


Town monsters do not provide treasure (except the uniques), so forget Town-scumming.

Kudzu is not dangerous and can be farmed for experience. "Mowing the kudzu" is effective up to about level 8-10 before slowing to unbearable boredom. You do need to be careful holding down the direction key, because other monsters will appear. Also, you won't be getting items with the experience, so you'll be weaker than if you'd earned the experience exploring.


How do I develop my skills?

You need to press 'G' to open the skills screen(s).

Gaining Skill Points

Skill points come from several sources:

  • Starting the game - You begin the game with a supply of skill points.
  • Gaining levels - As you advance in levels, you gain skill points.
  • Books - Turning books in to the library gives you additional skill points.
    • Be sure to identify your books first, by 'I'nspecting them. This also gives you a chance to read a passage from the text and soak in the local color.
  • Quest rewards - This is why you ought to do quests in Steamband and do the tougher ones as soon as you are able.
  • Skill potions - Very rarely, you will find a Skill potion that will give you some skill points.

What skills should I develop?

This depends on what type of character you are playing and what abilities you want to have. General considerations are that you cannot develop all skills and that you need to develop certain skills to a given level to open up other skills. Focus on those skills you need to open up the advanced skills that you want.

You should probably work on two methods of attack. Sadly a classic pulp-hero guns-and-melee is not a good choice as there are a number of nasty monsters that will resist firearms and all forms of physical weapon. You will need a method like ray guns or magic to deal with them. However, a thrown tonic (potion) can sometimes do the trick in the early game. Some races have innate offensive abilities that can be adapted.