Character Creation & General Information

Archer Not worth it, use another Knight or Paladin instead, and give them bow skill; this will be better in the long run then the archer.
Armor Everyone must have an armor skill. I cannot emphasize that enough. While it is more efficient for some classes to buy it instead of picking it as a start, get it for them before heading into combat. But don't select this when creating your character, you can buy it before you get into any combat.
Bows Again, absolutely vital that everyone has this skill at least at level one, although you will probably want everyone to become an expert as time goes by.
Disarm Traps and Perception Put these on the same character and master them ASAP. You take a lot of damage from traps and there is nothing more annoying than killing off the four Spell casters of Annoying Doom only to not be able to get their treasure because you die every time you open the box.
Identify One of the more useful skills to begin with, especially since identifying things can get expensive. At least level 1, try to bring higher as soon as possible.
Repair Useful, but not essential. It is nice however, and running back for repairs is annoying, to have an expert in Identify and Repair is good (probably should be on the same character).
Merchant A must for your characters. Things get awfully expensive without this skill. Not needed to start with, but you'll want it before leaving New Sorpigal.
Magic Get someone to be an expert in Spirit Magic quickly and save yourself a lot of pain. A Master in Water Magic should also be an immediate goal, but not at the cost of neglecting the other magical abilities. If you're like me, and I know I am, get Body magic for the paladin as healing touch is not worth it. Body is good, but with Spirit at expert, Bless and Heroism affect the whole party. Don't forget to get Fireball for really mass killing.
Diplomacy Not worth it at all. The affects are too small for it to work well for the party.
Meditation, Bodybuilding, and Learning All very useful, but should not be considered essential. You will probably want all your characters to become experts in these, but it can wait.
Horseshoes Get the all! They add 2 skill points when you use them on a character. A good strategy is to save a few so that when you just miss the skill you want you can boost it with a horseshoe.
Bows Another must for everyone. They don't need to be masters, but at least have a skill level of 1.
Rings Buy enchanted rings and switch your rings during combat as necessary to accommodate the various monsters on each turn (from fire to cold resistance etc...).
Wizards Eye Always make sure this is cast! Either hire someone to do it, or get the spell and do it yourself.
Potions Read the potion guide, know it, learn it, use it, love it!
Merchant Skill Either get it right away or hire someone who has it. You want to be at least an expert in this as soon as possible! Hopefully ALL of your party but first concentrate on one.
Chests Use the chests to store stuff for later, especially things labeled "Double Damage against Demons"
Enchant Spell Learn it as soon as you can, it's an easy way to make money. Buy items that are "enchantable" and cast enchant on them and then sell them back. This can keep you from going broke.
Skills Pick a few skills for each person in your party and raise that skill as high as possible (10+ or even more). Bows, Body Magic, Fire Magic, Air Magic, etc...

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