Dawn of the Mexica Beginner’s Guide and Tips

An introductory guide based on my observations and compiled advice from the Steam forums.

Brief Introduction

Dawn of the Mexica is a great game, but hard to get into. Most of the information found here is my own observations as someone who hasn’t yet beaten the game, but will still be helpful to newcomers. The remainder of the information is sourced from the Steam forums, I will link the threads used at the bottom. I will not write anything regarding the basic information taught in the tutorial, but will go into detail regarding some more advanced things.

Character Creation, Classes, and Stats.

Character creation is simple, pick your class and roll your stats. At first, you only have access to the Warrior class, a straightforward fighter-type class; and the firefly, a fire mage. You can unlock others by performing certain actions, which will be at the bottom of this section.

You can reroll stats as much as you want. You may also use the ‘c’ key to reload the last character you played if they had really good stats.

Each class has a different focus for stats, which is in the description of the class. The warrior in the picture has strength as its primary (shown by the little green slash in the top left of the strength bar), it has constitution and quickness as secondary, and all others as tertiary. What this means is that strength, constitution, and quickness will likely be 9 or higher, often closer to 10, whereas all others are likely to be 8 or less. Your stats will improve as you level up, to a max based on what they started as. 10.1 or 10.2 seem to be the max for class-focused stats, and 7-9 for non-focused stats.

Stat breakdown:

  • Strength: Affects melee combat skills and carry capacity.
  • Constitution: Health, health regen, and stamina.
  • Dexterity: Affects defensive skills such as dodging and light armor, as well as ranged weapons and a few other niche skills such as stealth and disarming traps.
  • Quickness: Affects how quickly you move and act, very important
  • Charisma: Affects a few skills such as berserk and first aid, there doesn’t seem to be any dialogue, so it’s not useful for talking.
  • Intelligence: Used for some casting skills, reading, and artifact identification. Also affects skill gain from levels.
  • Intuition: Affects skills that rely on ‘gut feelings’ such as perception, trap detection, foraging, and identifying liquids.
  • Faith: Affects casting with some classes, and may also affect praying at altars.
  • Luck: Seems to affect defense and attack, ammo breakage chance, and possible loot.

Class Breakdown:

  • Warrior: Best fighting skills available, including heavy armor use and offhand weapon wielding. Lacking in most other departments, however, I used it heavily until I unlocked Plunderer. Stats: strength, constitution, and quickness
  • Otomi: Barbarian, who specializes in berserk skill and melee combat, cannot use ranged weapons. Berserk is fairly unreliable to activate in combat and rapidly makes you hungry and thirsty so you don’t want to use it out of combat. Stats: strength, constitution, and luck
  • Hunter: Ranged focused, starts with bow, atlatl and sling, all with ammo. Can only train in one-handed melee weapons. May also take the tracking skill to grant vision all around, even through walls, for one turn. Optional stealth. Stats: Dexterity, quickness, and luck
  • Rogue: Stealth-focused class with good skill variability. Stealth can be difficult to use given that you can’t use a torch and sneak, meaning you generally can’t see, however, the rogue has access to track which can be used to briefly spot creatures to attack from range. One-handed melee weapons and thrown weapon focus. Skills include detect and disarm traps. Stats: quickness, dexterity, and luck.
  • Plunderer: A mix between warrior and rogue, has access to most skills warrior has with the exception of heavy armor, off-hand wielding, and berserk. Unlike warriors has access to important artifacts and the skill to identify high-quality loot easily. Stats: quickness, strength, and dexterity.
  • Beastmaster: Cannot describe it as I do not yet have it unlocked.
  • Adventurer: Not yet unlocked.
  • Healer: A defensive-based caster, with healing magic and self-buffs. Limited weapon access and no armor, but better at fighting than the other casters. However, spells can provide natural armor, and buff combat abilities. In my experience, easily the hardest to get going, as buffs cast at level 1 last only a few turns, but increase in duration as you level. Starts with several unidentified potions. Gets extra mana from prayer skills. Stats: Faith, intuition, and constitution.
  • Nahualli: aka shapeshifter, no real combat skills, must use spells to shift into combat forms, the earliest effective one is the fire imp, can be cast with 2 points in shape mastery at level 1. Also benefits from prayer as ala healer. Stats: faith, charisma, and quickness.
  • Teciuhtlazque: aka earth mage, no real combat skills, uses spells for combat (earth mastery) or to affect the entire map or protect yourself (weather mastery). Stats: intelligence, quickness, luck.
  • Firefly: Fire mage, much more offensive than the other mages, but just as bad at fighting. Stats: intelligence, quickness, luck.
  • Night Wind: Not yet unlocked.

Unlocking Classes

  • Otomi: Successfully berserk, start as a warrior, max out points in berserk, and keep trying (‘b’ key) in town until you succeed.
  • Hunter: Get a certain number of kills with ranged weapons, I don’t know how many, got it almost immediately playing warrior so probably less than 10. Use your starting atlatl and kill things.
  • Rogue: Hide successfully. Unlock hunter and max out stealth and hide, and keep trying until you succeed.
  • Plunderer: Disarm a trap. Use rogue, and get to the temple on the second map, there will be a number of traps there. I simply maxed out detect/disarm traps and rushed north, avoiding enemies, as a rogue has a bit of a tough time-fighting at level 1.
  • Beastmaster: Have the dog survive to Mictlan, have it stay in town until you clear everything between the village and Mictlan. Credit to Shadowdweller on the forums.
  • Adventurer: Reach either temple at bottom of Cincalco caves or by entering Mictlan. Once again, credit to Shadowdweller.
  • Healer: Use bandages to heal someone other than yourself. Have your warrior friend or dog accompany you and heal them when injured.
  • Nahualli: Use the forage skill (‘e’ on bushes) to find a herb that transforms you into an owl. Can be found in the first area, and may take multiple tries, I got it first try from sheer luck.
  • Teciuhtlazque: Eat teotlacuilnanacalt mushrooms, which may be found in containers in the village.
  • Night Wind: Reach the end of the temple in Chapultepec forest. Credit to Shadowdweller on the forum.

Notes on Skills

Going from untrained (0 ranks) to trained (1 rank) in a skill improves the modifier by +6(!!), each rank thereafter improves it by just one

Each time you improve a skill in a given level the cost doubles. If the skill costs 4, the second rank in a level costs 8, the third 16, and so on (unlikely you’ll get more than 3 ranks in a skill in a given level.)

Stat impact on skills is odd, for instance, on a recently generated plunderer, 9.3 intuition results in a +5 to detect hidden (2 ranks), whereas 8.1 intelligence is +4 in artifacts (with 2 ranks), and 9.9 dexterity is +8 in dodging (with 2 ranks). There seems to be a big gap between lower and upper 9.x, with a smaller gap between 8 and 9.

Combat skills seem to improve odds of dealing more damage, or reducing damage taken in case of defensive skills. As well as reducing fumbling attacks.

Tracking: may be used to briefly glimpse enemies hidden in darkness and attack them. Only visible for one turn. Useful when stealthed.

Prayer: increases mana and casting success rate for healer and nahualli. May also affect results from shrines.

Spellcasting: As prayer but for fireflies and earth mages.

Meditation: can be use to improve casting chance.

Casting mastery: unique to each school of magic, improves casting chance and how many spells you know.

Liquid identification, artifacts, reading, and foraging: improves odds to identify items relevant to the skill. Reading also affects casting chance from reading scrolls, and foraging also affects odds to successfully retrieve herbs and fruits from bushes. I believe you only get one chance to identify items per rank you have in the skill. At rank 1 you may try, then at rank 2 you may try again, and so on. I’ve never successfully identified an item after failing to, without leveling up.

Endurance: improves stamina.

Physical/mental resilience: improves HP and mana regen, respectively. Worth at least one rank per level.

Tactics: general combat skill, seems to improve a little of everything, but not by as much as specialized skills such as one-handed blades. Worth one rank for the +6.

General Tips

Loot all the chests in the starting village, looking especially for replacement weapons/ammo and torches.

Use the ‘e’ key on your friend who joins you, he’s guaranteed to give you a +luck ring.

You can use the ‘o’ key to order your friend and dog to wait at the village. Their kills do not give you experience.

Try to avoid being attacked by more than one enemy at time.

Always top up your stamina after a fight (‘.’ key).

Keep an eye on weapon durability, if your only weapon breaks, you’re screwed.

Macuahuitzoctli swords turn into clubs when broken, which uses a different skill (blunt vs one-handed blades). If you’re untrained in blunt weapons, it’s pretty much worthless then.

Ranged weapons do not really have durability, they can be broken by being on fire, but not from use. This makes magical ranged weapons far more valuable than magic melee weapons.

Use light to your advantage. Once you start fighting humans, they can have bows. You can drop your torch near a chokepoint and retreat into darkness, using the fallen torch as a light source to take shots at the enemy near it, whereas they won’t be able to see you to fight back.

Similarly, use of two-handed weapons is difficult to the ever present darkness. You can use the drop torch trick to use two-handed swords and bows, or eat the glowing herbs in water (they don’t last long and rot quick, not a long-term solution), night seeds also provide you with night vision.

If you’re using ranged weapons, you cannot target adjacent enemies with them. Solution? Use ‘k’ to kick them back to get a few shots in, you might even stun them briefly.

The greenish water found in the first two areas can make you sick. It’s fairly unlikely and the only real issue is a small amount of damage and increased thirst. The Cincalco caves, the third area has fresh water which is safe to drink.

You can use a canteen of water, greenish or safe, to douse yourself if you catch fire from traps.

It’s a bad idea to try to identify items by putting them on yourself, they may be cursed and unable to be removed without magic. There are scrolls of remove curse you may find but they are fairly rare, and require the reading skill to successfully use. The exception of course, is rings and such you may find in the starting village, it’s early enough you can restart if it’s cursed.

The counterpoint to that, it is generally safe to use identify potions, as long you have a spare to make proper use of.

I do not believe there is a functional difference between bone and cotton armor.

You can tear apart clothing (not armor) for bandages.

You can bandage yourself while stunned or knocked out.

You can still move while stunned.

Permanent injuries may negatively affect your movement speed and/or combat abilities. You can use herb plaster to tend to them, I’m not sure if first aid affects treatment, but it’s reasonable to assume. The basic ‘hurt’ status heals on its own, however specific statuses such as ‘back hurt’ will not.

Fire seeds may be thrown to ignite a square, most enemies will avoid walking through it.

You can butcher slain enemies for raw meat. It is safe to eat raw, regardless of source, even human. Some enemies are instead butchered into inedible meat, which is presumably unsafe (wasn’t desperate enough to try it).

  • Shrines: All effects are temporary, except Toci’s hunger restore
  • Toci, ‘our grandmother’: restores hunger and may heal you.
  • Ehecatl, god of wind: increases quickness
This guide about Dawn of the Mexica was written by TangerineOfDoom. You can visit the original publication from this link. If you have any concerns about this guide, please don't hesitate to reach us here.

About the author