Medieval RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance allows you to become a dashing knight or Robin Hood-esque bowman, but another path to success is becoming the sneakiest rogue in 15th century Bohemia. Here are some handy tips to master stealth in KC:D.
Sneaking is useful for solving all sorts of problems in KC:D. Player character Henry is super squishy in a fight and facing more than one opponent at a time is basically a ticket to game over, at least during the early game.
Sneaking will allow you to get the drop on one or more foes, or avoid the problem altogether. Stealth and the other thief-related skills, lockpicking and pickpocketing, will also enable you to get rich quick by stealing loot.
The basics of stealth are simple. Crouch to enter stealth mode, where you move more quietly and are harder to see. While crouched, you can knock people out when you get behind them. Once you level up your stealth skill, you can unlock a perk called Stealth Kill: if you’re behind someone and have a dagger equipped, you can kill a target while in stealth mode. To put it bluntly, as long as no-one sees you and you don’t make too much noise, you can do as you please.
But nothing is that simple in KC:D.
Plan your heist
Obviously, the stealth skill is the most important factor in how good Henry is at skullduggery. This skill shortens the distance at which enemies can see you and increases how long it takes them to spot you.
You improve the skill by moving in stealth mode near and around enemies. A quick way to gain experience in the skill is sneaking up behind people and knocking them out (then stealing all their money). The best target for this are wayfarers, the random NPCs wandering along the roads of the green Bohemian countryside. But stealth isn’t the only factor in, erm, stealth. Light, noise, smell and what you wear have a big impact.
If it’s a bright day, you’ll be easily seen. If Henry is a dirty boy with unwashed clothes, guards will smell him coming. Wearing heavy armour will make lots of noise and Henry will become a living alarm bell. Weather is also a factor: it’s harder for guards to spot Henry on a cloudy or rainy day. Are there obstacles or bushes you can use to block line of sight?
If you plan to do lots of sneaking, plan your approach. Wait until it’s night, make sure you wash or visit the baths beforehand, and decide what you’re going to wear.
Be a fashionable thief
What Henry wears doesn’t just determine his armour rating, it affects three other factors: visibility, conspicuousness and noise. Hal’s starting outfit is a green shirt, hose and red scarf, which sets these three ratings at around 50 points out of 100. To be a sneak king, you need to get these scores as low as possible. So that red scarf might be the height of Bohemian couture, but it’s loud, visibly and somehow literally.
A surprisingly good outfit for sneaking at the start of the game is to just deselect all your clothes on the armour tab of the character screen, so Henry is just in his underthings. This will bring his noise rating fairly low. Unequip certain weapons as well. Having a sword drawn or a big axe strapped to your back are pretty conspicuous and will ruin your whole thief aesthetic.
Keep an eye out for dark-coloured or black clothing, hoods and boots, and experiment with different clothing combinations to get your visibility, conspicuousness and noise scores as low as possible.
Slow and steady wins the burglary race
So you’ve kitted Henry out in Medieval Batman cosplay but you’re still getting spotted by guards? Maybe slow down a little. While crouching, stick to a walking pace; any faster and your footfalls will make lots of noise. Going slowly also gives you a chance to watch enemies and see where they go, so you can avoid their patrols.
Knocking someone out or performing a stealth kill also makes a lot of noise, so be ready to fight or make flight if there are others nearby
How to pick locks and pockets like a boss
Lockpicking and pickpocketing are important skills for a wannabe thief. Lockpicking in particular allows you to open chests and doors to steal whatever is inside. However, first you need a lockpick; you’ll need several, actually, as they break if you fail at picking a lock too many times. You can get your first lockpick during the prologue. Later, when you get to the town of Rattay, Miller Peshek will give you the quest The Good Thief. If you follow the quest line, Peshek will give you a bunch of lockpicks and give you a tutorial. This will help you level up this skill.
The lockpicking minigame is pretty difficult. You move the icon around the lock until it turns gold. This is the sweet spot. Once you find it, you have to rotate the whole lock, while keeping the icon hovering over the sweet spot! On a controller, you basically move the right joystick to the sweet spot, then try and rotate both sticks at the same time. It’s a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time.
Further into The Good Thief quest, you can ask Peshek to teach you the pickpocketing skill and give you another tutorial. To pick someone’s pocket, sneak up behind them and hold down the prompt button. A circle will appear on the screen with a yellow notch. Hold the button until the bar passes the yellow notch then release. This will bring up another minigame, where you have to select an item, then select the exit icon, before the timer runs out.
The usual factors such as noise and light will affect lockpicking and pickpocketing. If someone spots you in the act of committing a crime, they’ll send guards and bailiffs after you.
Just as with every skill in KC:D, Henry will be rubbish at lockpicking and picking pockets, so you’ll have to practice, practice and practice to build up your skills.
Don’t shit where you eat
So, you’ve mastered the light-stepping of stealth, you can jimmy open a lock in seconds and you can pick a pocket or two, boy, (you’ve-gotta-pick-a-pocket-or-two), now it’s time to rob everyone blind, right?!
Not so fast. Think carefully about where and who you want to steal from. Shop owners aren’t likely to buy stolen goods and getting caught for your crimes will ruin your reputation in the town, making people less friendly to you and making it more difficult to haggle for better prices.
However, Miller Peshek and his friends are more than happy to fence stolen goods. Choose a base of operations and spare the locals from your thievery, while you target distant towns and isolated villages. You’ll start in the town of Rattay and it’s a pretty good location for your base, with several quest-givers and shop owners.
Basically, don’t rob thy neighbour. Have fun robbing everyone else instead.