Alternate Reality: The City - Guide
Welcome to The City of Xebec's Demise. Read this guidebook
before entering; it gives vital pointers to help you survive.
There are many establishments in The City. This list will
help you in your travels: 15 Shops; 7 Inns; 14 Taverns; 3 Banks;
4 Smithies; 2 Healers; and 12 Guilds. The City doesn't allow you
to interact with Weapons Trainers and some other institutions.
Also, you'll discover entrances that require the use of a disk you
don't yet have. Alternate Reality - The City is designed to be
expanded. Future additions include The Dungeon, The Arena, The
Palace, The Wilderness, Revelation, and Destiny.
In addition to the game, you need a blank disk to use as a
Character Disk. Without a Character Disk you can't save a game.
You're kidnapped by an alien spaceship and find yourself in a
room with only one exit. Through this doorway you see The City of
Xebec's Demise. An energy field moves across the opening.
Overhead is a panel with constantly-changing numbers. The moment
you step through the door, the numbers freeze. This sets your
levels of Stamina, Charm, Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Skill,
Hit Points, and Wealth. The higher these beginning Stats, the
better your chances of surviving in The City.
During the first few days, you're extremely vulnerable to
foul play (of which there is an annoying amount), The safest area
is near the Floating Gate. Of course, safety isn't your only
consideration; there are benefits to discover in the more
dangerous locales (cheaper food and lodging, better treasures,
Keep a low profile until you're familiar with the ways of The
City. And, avoid Encounters with life forms that are obviously
superior (don't tease a Wizard during these early days!) Note:
Save games and backup your Character Disk regularly.
Once your familiar with The City Square (the area you begin
in), it's time to be more daring and explore further afield.
The object of your sojourn journey in The City is to become
oriented to Alternate Reality, build your Stats, and become the
sort of Adventurer who can survive hardships, fight heroic
battles, and solve the quests presented in The Dungeon and
Stats The values at the top of the screen show all you know
for certain about your Character. Increasing them is crucial for
your development. Stats and increased by certain Potions, by a
first visit to any Guild, and by moving up a Character Level.
Charm, Strength, and Intelligence also improve with use.
Experience is gained through Encounters with life forms in
The City (you start the game with Experience points and Character
Level at 0). The more Encounters you survive, the more,
Experience points you gain. When Experience builds to somewhere
between 250 and 300, you move up a Character Level (all your Stats
influence how many Experience points you need). When you move up
a Character Level, you usually gain other Stat points as well.
Each Character Level requires twice as many Experience points as
the one before.
Stamina is important if you're to survive. This Stat
determines your health, endurance, and how long you can hold up in
Charm detrmines how other life forms react to you. If you
aren't "charming" enough, you're more likely to be attacked
withour provocation. Bribing an opponent is easier for a
"charming" Character: and the battle tactic of charming (an evil
act - See Encounters) requires a great deal of Charm. The more
you use these tactics, the higher your Charm level becomes.
Strength is very advantageous when fighting. The stronger
you are, initially, the better, since you enter Encounters armed
with nothing but your bare hands. Later, when you acquire
Weapons, how well you're able to use them depends on Strength (and
Skill). Strength also determines the size and number of objects
you can carry. Fighting prolonged battles in which you're
ultimately the victor improves your Strength.
Skill helps you avoid blows from your adversary. It also
helps in wielding certain close-combat weapons during battle:
Short Swords, Daggers, Stillettoes, and the like.
Intelligence enhances your Wisdom and is crucial for
tricking your enemies (see Encounters - this is an evil act).
Using your Intelligence helps you increase it.
Wisdom is for discernment. when you find a Treasure,
Wisdom is the Stat that helps you discover whether it's Cursed,
Magical, or Mundane (see Treasure). It's also important when
you're trying to decide whether or not a Potion is one you want to
quaff (see Potions).
Hit Points are very important: the more you have, the
harder you are to kill! As you build Strength and Experience, you
also build you Hit Points.
You are closely monitored ! Many things, including your
personality, are constantly being taken into account by the
computer. But the Stats on the screen don't tell the whole story.
Physical Speed when you enter one Guild (discover which
one for yourself!), you are given an increase in Speed. That is
the only time you'll ever know how high this Stat is. Speed
controls how fast and easily you can escape undesired Encounters.
Moral Alignment You enter The City with Neutral morality
(neither Good nor Evil). It's up to you to develoop your
personality. The City is designed to be harder on Evil Characters
than on Good ones (although, as in "real" life, it's often
difficult to see the whole picture).
Evil acts include things such as charming and tricking
Good or Neutral life forms, or attacking them with no provocation.
To develop a Good Character, you must really be on your
toes! Try to avoid battles whenever you can, especially with good
life forms. Be careful about which Guilds you join and what sorts
of Spells you use. The straight and narrow is not an easy path!
Time A city year has twelve months, 30 days in each. There
are 24 hours in a day, divided into 12 hours of darkness and 12
hours of light (allowing for dusk and dawn). Each AR hour is
equal to approximately 4 actual minutes. However, when you're
sleeping in an Inn, working, or attending classes at a Guild,
time passage is (thankfully) speeded up so you don't spend forever
waiting to wake up, finish work, or get out of school!
Weather Rain, cold, and heat can hit any time in The City.
The weather can affect your Stats if you aren't dressed properly,
so it's a wise idea to ensure that you're adequately protected
against the elements. If you spend too much time in the rain, for
example, without proper attire, a bad cold could be the
consequence! Heatstroke or a chill are other possible results of
being unprepared. Being out in severe weather can make you tire
more easily too; and heat definitely produces thirst!
Secret Doors and One-Way Walls A Secret Door looks like a
regular wall, but you can walk through it (accompanied by a
whoosing noise and an odd melody). One-Way Walls are visible on
one side; you can pass through the invisible side but trying to
go through the visible one will only prove embarassing!
Objects How much you can carry depends on Strength and
Stamina, plus the size and weight on the items you're lugging.
Check your inventory occasionally to see how efficiently you're
managing your objects. Otherwise, you may be unpleasantly
surprised when items your Stats don't allow for start falling on
You can drop objects any time during gameplay (press D). Any
item you drop can be picked up again (press G), if it hasnt' been
stolen by Thieves or whisked away by magic.
Carrying objects is not the same as using them. Press U and
follow the prompts to use an item. This goes for absolutely
anything you carry, except a Compass (it's always in use, if you
Some objects are listed in your inventory permanently,
whether you acutally possess them or not. If you aren't sure
whether you own an item, try to use it.
Clothing You enter The City with a mininum of clothing.
This is fine for summer afternoons but you could be in trouble in
there's a sudden cooling trend or rainstorm you could be in
Aside from protection from the elements, clothing has a
"dapper" value. Some life forms you Encounter are influenced by
the style, color, and fabric you wear.
Food Packets and Water Flasks You begin the game supplied
with three Water Flasks and three Food Packets. These are
important as you will become hungry and thirsty as the game
To use a Food Packet or Water Flask, press U and follow the
prompts. Replenish your stock at a local Tavern.
Compass This is a very important item for newcomers to The
City. It is essential in order to find your way around and help
you from getting lost. To obtain a compass go to any Shop and
when the shopkeeper asks you if you want to see his wares tell him
you are not interested. He will then offer you a compass for 5
The compass arrow will always point to the North. Your
direction heading is always at the topmost portion of the compass.
Treasure Treasure is found lying about after a successful
Encounter. Treasure takes many forms: Watches, Gems and Jewels,
Money, Weapons and Armour, and Potions. All treasure, except
money is potentially Magical or Cursed. Magical items are usually
valuable, Cursed items are a source of despair.
Watch Usually, to find out the time you must go into an Inn
and ask the Innkeeper. However there will be occassions when you
aren't near an Inn and could use a Watch.
Watches are precious commodities in the City; you can't buy
them and can only be found in treasure after an Encounter. If you
find one type U and follow the prompts.
Gems and Jewels These valuable items aren't legal tender in
The City. They can be exchanged for money in Banks. On occasion
Gems or Jewels can be absolutely worthless.
Weapons and Armor Three ways of acquiring Weapons and Armor:
1. Finding them after an Encounter;
2. Finding them after uncovering a Treasure;
3. Buying them from a Smithy.
When you defeat an opponent you won't always get the Weapon
he was fighting with or the Armour he was wearing. Often, they
were broken in battle or were magical and simply disappeared!
Always examine Weapons or Armour before picking them up. The
higher your Intelligence and Wisdom, the easier it is to tell if
they are Magical or Mundane (normal). Magical means they have
special properties. Once you pick up a Cursed item, you can't
drop it; you need help to get rid of it (see Guilds).
Armor comes in pieces that protect body parts: head
(helmets, caps) torso (breastplates, mail coats) legs (greaves)
and arms (gauntlets). To use armor you must you each part
Press U to use a Weapon or piece of Armour (follow the
Here are a few hints: A longsword is better than a dagger;
a Flamesword is the most effective of any sword; shields come in
many forms and sizes, the Tower Shield being the most defensive;
mail Armor gives better protection than leather or quilted; plate
Armour is better than any mail and crystal plate is the best.
Continous use of a certain Weapon weakens it after a while
and decreases it's potency. It is wise to find a new weapon and
discard the old one.
Potions Some potions are beneficial. When you find a potion
there are a number of things you can do. Press U and follow the
prompts. You can taste, sip, examine, quaff, etc. Each sip or
taste tells you a little more about it. Quaffing it gives you the
potions full effect. Caution: Sipping a potion causes you to
receive some of the full effect but not as strong as if you
Potions of Delusion and Drunkeness are two of the worst.
They aren't deadly like potions but they are permanent unless you
can find a healer. Until then you won't be able to navigate
Potions such as Invulnerability and Treasure-Finding are well
worth the trouble though.
Employment Part time jobs are available at any Inn, Bank, or
Tavern. Job offers are all determined by the "boss". Careful
though, there is some risk of on-the-job injuries and there is no
Workman's Compensation! Here are the requirements for each of the
Bellhops, Janitors, and Clerks You need a certain Strength
for a bellhop, Stamina for Janitors, Charm for Clerks
Bouncers, Hosts, and Dishwashers Strength is the criteria
for bouncers, Charm for hosts, and Skill for the delicate
Guards, File Clerks, and Coin Rollers These Bank jobs are
harder to get. Guards require both Strength and Stamina, File
Clerks need high Intelligence as well as Skill, Coin Rollers need
Skill and must be honest (Evil characters can forget it!).
Inns offer lodging - for a price. When you enter an Inn you
have choices of several rooms. The better the room the more the
chance of rebuilding lost hit points. You use up food while
sleeping so watch it. Inn's also serve as Time and Date centers.
Taverns When you buy food and beverage at Taverns you
automatically eat them. Buying Food Packets and Water Flasks
makes it unnecessary to be in a Tavern to eat. Just hit U and
If you want to make friends buy rounds for the house. This
endears you to the Tavernkeeper and his customers. This comes in
handy if your broke and hungry and you enter a Tavern where you're
Taverns also sell alcoholic beverages. As in real life you
can get drunk, movement is hampered, and manipulating screens is
hard. You can even black out! Find an Inn and sleep it off.
Pay attention to the items you purchase. Some of them not
only satisfy your immediate hunger but give you a Food Packet.
Banks Banks offer investment plans for your money. The
higher the interest, the higher the risk. It's a good idea to
spread your money between accounts and other banks.
You may also turn in your Jewelry and Gems for money.
Smithies As you approach a Smithy you can hear the Smith
hammering away on his anvil. This helps if your trying to find
one in an obscure area of the city.
Smithies offer a variety of Weapons and Armor. His stock
chanages hourly (AR time). Prices and quality change so haggling
is essential. Many Weapons or Armour you find after an Encounter
are not available at Smithies.
Shops Here you can buy clothing or a compass. When he asks
you if you want to see his wares just say no and he'll give you
the option of buying a compass. Shopkeepers also update their
stock hourly (AR time).
Guilds Guilds reward you with Character-enhancing knowledge
the FIRST time you enter. For a fee, any Guild can rid of you of
You may also join a Guild. Each Guild has certain Stat and
Level requirements so don't get upset if you're turned down the
first couple times.
You can belong to as many Guilds as you want to, membership
is for life.
Spells Once you're accepted into a Guild, you're given the
oppurtunity to learn a spell. You must attend classes on a
specified number of consecutive days in order to learn a spell.
These classes last 8 hours (AR time), so you can become hungry,
thirsty, and fatigued. If you miss a day of class you have to
make it up.
Each Guild has a limited number of spells it can teach. The
Guild director selects which spells you're allowed to learn and
will never offer you the same one. The quantity of items you're
carrying limits the number of spells you can learn.
There is no guarantee the spells will work. The more you use
a certain spell the better your ability becomes to cast it (just
as Strength improves when fighting). The better you know it the
better the chance of it working. Caution: Spells can backfire
and cause you to lose Hit Points.
Poison When Poisoned you sustain intitial Hit Point and
neurological damage in line with the strength of the Poison. If
you're lucky enough to find a potion that cures Poison, drink it!
Otherwise find a healer right away! Your Stats keep dropping
until you die.
These are the ways of getting poisoned:
1. Swallowing poisonous Potions;
2. Being clawed by a poisonous creature;
3. Being bitten by a poisonous creature;
4. Being stung by a poisonous tail.
Disease Left untreated, it can be fatal. Some disease dont
show until a couple of days have passed - incubation period. If
you're Diseased quaff a potion that Cleanses or seek out a healer.
These are the ways of being diseased:
1. Contact with bacteria from Mold or Slime
2. Being clawed by a Diseased creature;
3. Being bitten by a Diseased creature.
1) Attack. You move offensively while maintaining a decent
2) Trick. If you're intelligent trick an opponent. You
aren't prepared for defense if a trick fails. Plus it's
an Evil act when used against Good or Neutral life forms.
3) Charm. Charm them if you have a high Charm. It's Evil.
4) Offer. Offer an item to a life form. May save your
5) Leave. Get out of the Encounter. Sometimes this is the
6) Lunge. Two-handed blow that lands with great force. If
you fail you have zippo defense.
Tailor your Encounter strategy to fit your condition and the
kind of life form confronting you. It's easier to trick a Warrior
than a Master Thief. Don't expect to charm or trick mindless life
forms; you'd look pretty silly to try and charm a Mold!
You may also (whether or not you are in an Encounter):
C Cast a spell
D Drop an item
G Get an item
U Use an item in your inventory
W Switch Primary and Secondary Weapons
P Pause the Game
S Save the Game
. Switch between options
Healers can restore Sight (heal Drunkeness); restore clarity
(remove Delusions; cleanse Poison; diagnose Diseases; cure
Diseases; and heal wounds (both Major and Minor).
Occasionally a Healer isn't in, either you wait or go to the
only other clinic in town.
Life Forms Here is a list of some things you can Encounter.
Paupers have no ambition or been in some catastrophe
that has put them in dire straits.
Commoners possess no special skills or distinctions. This is
your class when you first enter The City.
Merchants work hard to keep The City's economy healthy. You
usually see these capitalist types on their way to or from
Couriers deliver messages and parcels.
Guards police The City. Don't mess with them! If you're
being attacked by Guards, it probably means you've become evil.
Gladiators fight in the Arena games.
Noblemen live in the Palace and are fond of Arena games.
rich and powerful, they're attended by private Guards when out in
Dwarves resist many Poisons and Magic Spells, have excellent
night vision, and are terrific close-combat fighters.
Mages and other magical types dwell in The City. Most are
associated with Guilds or other learning institutions. Acolytes,
Novices, and Wizards belong to this category.
Thieves take anything that isn't nailed down! They abound in
the City and each has his own criminal specialty (Muggers,
Assasins strike swiftly, without warning. One blow can end
even the strongest character's life.
Brown Mold and Black Slime leave you with horrible Diseases
that are neither diagnosed nor cured easily.
Giant Rats and Wolves carry Rabies and love to share it by
biting and clawing you.
Imps lash out with long, dagger-like, poisonous tails.
They're nasty creatures; avoid them.
Dragons attack with claws and flame. There are Blue Dragons
and Green Dragons, small and Large. They usually can't be
defeated with ordinary weapons, so use caution!
Wraiths, Ghosts, Spectres, and zombies hover menacingly.
They're Evil creatures that require a stout heart in any
adventurer who Encounters them.
Night Stalker is a legendary creature on the night. It's an
extremely powerful beast that no one can be sure doesn't exist.
--- These are docs and maps for the ST version of Alternate Reality.
The Amiga version should be identical...
The letters on the Maps stand for...
D=Dungeon Entrance (Can't go here until the Dungeon disk is released)
Typed by Ford Prefect