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Cheating is the use or abuse of the debug system, of various exploitable bugs, doing something another player would not approve of, or anything that causes you to suddenly loathe your own avatar. Only three of these things are true.

Cheating and you!

Many new players use the things discussed here to assist in survival. While this is 'approved' for new players, these god-like powers shouldn't be relied upon as you learn to handle problems through the tools available to your avatar.

This page is organized to roughly match the degree of fun you're giving up by cheating on yourself. The methods range from neutral to severe, and the consequences of using them from momentary joy to a complete loss of respect for your performance. Like mutations, cheating creeps up on you. You have been warned!

Being too prepared

Call this a pro-tip to remind you that there is no reason to rush anything in this world. Taking the time to cook up decent amounts of Zombie pheromones so that they will high-five you as you are cleaning out liquor and clothing stores to make a million bandages is very very good form by which your character can gain a high degree of character to ameliorate the deleterious effects of the actions described on the rest of the page. If you just grinned or went to look up the fancy words then you might just be ok with the info on this page.

Using Game mechanics to the fullest

Warning! Understanding that turrets shoot you from 24 or fewer tiles away, messing with the viewport and font-settings so that you get to actually see on-screen what your in-world avatar sees, pulling mobs from far away instead of stumbling into them blindly, digging pits in strategic places and gloating about how you cleaned out an entire town -- doing these things could be thought of as cheating by some people. Ultimately though understanding items, reading the rest of the wiki, starting 20 new games just so you can understand the variety of tweaks offered by Cataclysm, that's to say, being interested in playing this game the way it was designed to, will boost your skills and wean you off of bad habits you might have picked up in other roguelikes.

Overdoing it

When you first start playing Cataclysm you get what seems to be very few points to invest into your character. So you crank up that number and look for the least damaging negative traits to boost your guy/gal into the stratosphere. This will work at first but off all the options on this page, its the one that ruins your long term fun if you keep it up for more than a few games or in-game years. Since you're on this page, chances are that you have already discovered this way of overdoing it. So here I'm suggesting that you wean yourself off of it slowly by starting the next character with all the skill-points you want .. but without taking a single negative trait to buy you further advantages. Its like a bad in-game addiction at first, but you will get over it. Next, slowly reduce the number of starting points you take so that you're forced to specialize your character's style a bit. Doing this will give it 'character' that enables you to wind up using some or all of the following ideas without suffering real-life morale penalties! So, go on, investing fewer points at startup is like taking your vitamins, it keeps you going strong!

Abusing Save-Points

By pressing S to save your game as you run into a difficult situation .. and then closing the program window before you die, you can explore different time-lines and strategies with the only risk being that you will lose your avatar should you die. If you're new to the game, have no idea how a weapon or a drug works, this will speed your learning a lot. Just restrain yourself from using this to min/max outcomes and you might actually be ok with this for your first few games.

Copying old characters to new worlds

If for some reason you want to copy an old character to a new world, you can follow the following procedure.

  • Make sure you've got everything you want to bring with you on your character. Leave your artifacts behind; they're stored in a separate file.
  • Save and exit the game.
  • Go into your game's save/worldname folder and find a file with a name that looks like #Uml2ZXQ=.SAV and make a copy of it.
  • Generate a new world like normal.
  • Copy the .SAV file into the new world's folder.
  • Start the game up and load the save file. Note that you won't begin in a starting shelter, so you may find yourself someplace ‼FUN‼ when you start out.

Creating a Story

Making a save-point and then archiving your ./save folder can allow you to play the meta-game of chronicler. Just name your archives '01 (notes' to '99 (notes)' and you can get a memory jogging log of your travels through the land for very little effort. It gets problematic and cheaterish if you wind up relying on your chronicles to explore the map or engage in reckless actions that result in many death. It might be ok to explore 1000 ways of dying in a newbie situation, but there will come a point when you're better off starting anew. EXIT the program before you restart from an archived game.

Exploiting the Dead

You will die. And if you revert to a chronicled point you might find yourself in a situation where you are looking at your own dead body. The proper thing to do in this case is to wish for an acid bomb lest you incur the wrath of the RNG by picking up the cloned items. (This does not apply if you have the Cannibal trait and do the unspeakable.)

The Debug Messages

~ — Toggles the sometimes annoying debug messages which can give you some deeper insight into the game mechanics on and off. Gain insight into the health mechanics here. Eat all your vitamins right away (read about health effects of the provisons too) and revel in the fact that you understand how you have just beaten the number one new player affliction - the common cold! Watch them for a bit longer and maybe you learn some other stuff too!

The Scent Map

UnassignedScent map. Shows the trace that forms around you as you linger in a building or move through town. Asks you what scent sensitivity you would like to view your surrounding with and requires that you enter a number from 1 to 9 specifying the 'sensitivity of your nose.' This ranges from 1 for the greatest smeller to 9 for the dullest nose. (Entering 0 divides by 0 and causes a crash').

The Debug Menu

This menu is the most terrible way to CHEAT yourself out of a fun game. Unless you are in a situation caused by bugs (e.g. you spawed in a windowless doorless room) or are testing game features.

To enable this menu, you will need to edit the Controls, go to the help page by pressing ? followed by the keybindings list by pressing 1. Close to the bottom of the list will be the Debug Menu which should be in red and unbound. Press + followed by the appropriate letter to assign a key of your choice. Note: many keys are already bound to other features, using the ` key is a good option as it's unbound by default and is in the same place as the Debug messages and Console Commands present in many PC games.

UnassignedDebug menu. Open's up a list and asks you what Debug you want to do.

1: Wish for an item. — Type /hammer to search for "hammer", then press up and down to cycle through jackhammer, hammer, sledge hammer, etc. Hitting enter will exit search, hitting enter again will ask for an amount. Entering a value will add that value times the default stack size number of items to inventory. q exits.
2: Teleport - Short Range — Select a location in sight to move to.
3: Teleport - Long Range — Asks to what map square you want to move to, then places you randomly in the selected map square.
4: Reveal map - Instantly explores the current overmap.
5: Spawn NPC - Spawns random NPC nearby.
6: Spawn Monster — It works the same as item wishing for the most part; pressing f will let you make the monster friendly if you want. After making your selection, move the cursor to pick a location to place the monster.
7: Check game state... - Shows game state, planned events, active monsters, and active NPCs and locations of these NPCs. And your location.
8: Kill NPCs - Kills all NPCs
9: Mutate — Allow to toggle your traits & mutations.
0: Spawn a vehicle - Spawn vehicle from the list.
a: Change all skills - Allows you to increase and decrease skill values using a menu.
b: Learn all melee styles - Unlocks all melee styles, including a debug one.
c: Unlock all recipes - Unlocks all recipes, including unlearnable recipes.
d: Edit player/NPC - Allows you to edit the player or NPCs. See below for options.
e: Spawn Artifact — Creates natural artifact and forms anomaly around it.
f: Spawn Clairvoyance Artifact - Adds clairvoyance artifact to inventory, allowing you to see through walls.
g: Map Editor - Opens map editor, use q to cancel.
h: Change weather - Select a new weather to start.
i: Kill all monsters - Kills all active monsters. Processes their death effect as normal.
j: Display hordes - Displays the hordes on the map. Also displays hordes created by Fungal blooms, Anthills etc.
k: Test Item Group - Tests item groups, this submenu is only quitable by selecting the 'cancel' option.
l: Damage self - Damages torso with inputted amount. Negative values heal.
m: Show Sound Clustering
n: Lua command - Opens a Lua command console.
o: Display weather
p: Display overmap scents - Shows player scent values on the overmap.
q: Change time - Change the current year, season, day, hour, minute, and amount of turns.
r: Set automove route - Moves player to selected location, by walking normally.
m: Show mutation category levels - Shows the levels of the various threshold mutations.
t: Overmap editor - Allows you to edit the overmap. Locations in red will not be changed. Follow on screen instructions.
u: Cancel

Edit player/NPCs

Looking at an NPC with this debug feature shows the name, class, destination, internal values (Trust, Fear, Anger, Owed, Aggression, Bravery, Collector, Altruism, and the needs of the NPC.

s: Edit skills: - Allows editing of the NPC, or player skills
t: Edit Stats: - Edit the player or NPC maximum stats.
i: Grant items: - Grants items using the same interface as the main debug menu item grant mechanics.
d: Delete all items: - Deletes all items and clothing on the character.
w: Wear/Wield an item from NPC/Player's inventory: - Selects item to (un)wear/(un)wield.
h: Set hit points: - Set the hitpoints on a bodypart. Can go over and under natural limits.
p: Cause pain: - Enter a number of pain to cause, negative numbers removes pain.
a: Set health: - Allows you to edit the health values.
n: Set needs: - Allows you to see and edit the Hunger, Thirst, Fatigue and Vitamins levels of the NPC/player.
u: Mutate: - Edits mutations/traits of the NPC/player using the same interface as the previous menu.
@: Status Window: Shows the status window. Same window as the normal @ would show.
e: teleport: - Performs short range teleport, like debug feature above.
m: Add mission: - NPC ONLY - Adds a possible mission to the NPC. NPC's can have multiple missions, this mission is probably added to the end of the possible mission list.
c: Randomize with class: - NPC ONLY - Select a new NPC class, and randomizes the NPC given this class. Creates new name and items.
q: quit: - Quits this menu.


These are still some bugs and oversights that people can use to help themselves in seriously cheaty and completely unfair ways. For example, many things with NPCs are broken and are exploitable. Trading with NPCs is one example as it is completely unfair to the NPC. That's not the only thing however and if you read to here and are seriously bored you will eventually discover just how borked the NPC dialogue mechanics are at this point.

Operators of completely spoiled and exploited characters have even been known to read the Cataclysm DDA 'Issues' page on Github. The worst offenders will even download the source code and study it to discover even more of the hidden dynamics of this fantastic game. Once you have reached this ultimate level of cheatiness your only redemption is to help the project by fixing the code or posting detailed reports of your devious strategies in the forum or on github.