Cultist Simulator (Exile) – Guide to Building Resources, Traces, Reckoners Defiance, Fighting

This is a guide to building resources, opportunities, items, heists, traces and reckoners, defiance, edge and Fighting The Foe, Obscurity in Cultist Simulator Exile DLC.

Guide to Cultist Simulator Exile DLC


These are the actions you will use to interact with Exile. From left to right they are:

Relinquish: Used to sell property for money, break decades into years, sell years directly for funds, and remove traces by giving up connections.

Employ: Used to use opportunities, begin a scheme, use items or locations that might help you relax, or to launch an assault via weapon or lore.

Travel: Used to flee the location you are in

Reconnoiter: Used to find opportunities, or cats, in the location you are in

Communicate: Mostly just used to find new locations to flee to – can be used to send money ahead, but that is time consuming.

When you start the game you will have a train ticket and 77 years. Use the train ticket, and travel to the destination it gives you as fast as you can – an assassin is trying to kill you! Once you start your journey things should calm down somewhat

Once you arrive at the first city in the game things will be calmer somewhat, and you can focus on your goal – building up resources with the goal of being able to vanish, fight your foe, or both. To do this you’ll need to be able to survive, gain, and hold on to resources.

The first action I like to take in a city is Communicating, so that I get an exit plan. This will give you another city you can escape to once things get too dangerous. Make sure the city card doesn’t say Map’s Edge – once you visit somewhere on the Map’s Edge, you can’t return. (you can get a basic victory fairly quickly by finding one of those places, and vanishing into obscurity, but you’ll want more comforts)

Also, as of the time of this writing, it appears that if you draw a city card, you will not draw that card again, regardless of whether or not you visit, so keep that in mind before deciding whether to communicate for a second city option

You will also want to study the edge lore you have – this will unlock temptation defiance. Whether you want to use this or obscurity is up to you.

Now you can explore the city, sell time for money, and use the opportunities it gives you, before fleeing from reckoners once they become too much of an issue. More details on these mechanics in the next few sections.

Building Resources – Opportunities, Items, And Heists

When you explore a city there is a chance of producing traces, and you will get one draw from the opportunity deck. I would classify these in several types (although the game doesn’t)

The most common type is Objects – these include the option to buy things like weapons (very useful), tools (usually useful, most can be sold, sometimes comfortable), Licences (duplicates are worthless, and they take official connections to get, but open up some very useful options), and property (only useful if you plan on sticking around and using it in schemes, or buying a very nice house to retire in). Other then houses, objects you buy will be taken with you when you leave the city – note however, that the more items you have, the longer it takes to move between cities.

Another type you will find frequently is Connections. These you can not take with you, but they can be very useful. Most will take 1 year to buy, rulers will take 10 years (this is as expensive as it seems). All connections have a number of aspects at a moderate to high level – useful for helping complete Heists, especially early although this uses up the connection

Any 2 connections can be used up to transform a Trace into an Obscurity.

Holy connections, Underworld connections, and Ruler connections can be used to run a Scheme (Schemes are similar to Heists, or Expeditions from the base game and are a good way to turn years into cash). Official connections can be used to purchase licences, which give the opportunity for some very useful Schemes, and can be transported with you. Radical connections can be used to start an uprising, which will be covered later. Also, Underworld, Radical, and Ruler connections can be used to prevent someone from stealing from you, and will wound the thief in the process.

If you’re not planning on fighting your foe, you don’t really need to worry about years – you have enough to spend about two and a half per city without running out, and you do not need to visit every city to win.

Other opportunities involve times of day – you can use these with your ambition to get either Rage or Tranquility – short lived cards that can be used in schemes or heists, although note that until these decay you will be locked out of things – you can’t leave while angry, and can’t worship while tranquil

Generally, not so useful is weaknesses – things like Heights, Water, Heat, Cats. You can use these to try to prevent a direct assault against you, which should work on a weaker enemy, but only three of the (I think 9?) possible weaknesses work on the Foe proper. It could be useful to test one on him if you can do so safely, but expect to get several wounds in the attempt.

Some cities have Shrines, which will be covered later in this guide, but are useful to upgrade your offensive capabilities

Finally, there are Ligeans, who are very dangerous. If you visit them with food (corpses, friends, a decade of life), you can learn a weakness of your foe, or get an item from them, or have them kill a non-foe reckoner who is bothering you. If you visit them without food you had better hope they are in a good mood. And they usually aren’t. If they are, you get the assistance. If they aren’t they wound you and the mess draws attention.

Additionally, most cities will give you something when you step foot in them. Sometimes it is a potential ally, and a heist target. If you complete the heist (this works somewhat like expeditions used to, but with more specific aspect targets, and it’s a little harder to get aspects) and give up the item the heist gives you, you get the ally. It is almost always worth it to give up the item. Allies are reusable and can hold off assassins.

Other times it is just a heist and no ally. These are also usually worth doing – you can get some very powerful weapons this way.

General tips for this section – Items are almost always worth it if you already have the funds, although if you have to convert years to cash to buy them be prepared for reckoners to show up. Buying a few Connections (except rulers) is usually worth it if you plan to stick around (to do a scheme/heist, or maybe find a shrine), and are especially handy for early heists.

It is usually hard to get money without drawing attention. If you are going to leave, and it is safe to do so, try to do a scheme, or sell off a few years before leaving. (Schemes take a while). Starting an area with funds to spare can be really helpful, although watch out if you have a lot of money – each one adds 10 seconds to your travel time.

What to prioritize depends on what ending you want – if you want obscurity ending, comforts. If you want a defiance ending, you will want weapons and to visit as many shrines as you can. If you want anobscurity ending and to kill the foe, you want both of these things.

Traces and Reckoners

Most things you do have a chance to give traces. Almost anything you fail at will give a trace. Traces are how reckoners track you down and attempt to inconvenience you or kill you. Knowing how Traces and reckoners work, and when you have to leave the city is essential for being able to survive Exile.

Firstly, you don’t need a trace for a reckoner scout to spawn, it’s just unlikely at any given turn of the wheel. If you have one trace the reckoner scout has a decent chance of showing up. If you have two or more traces it is very likely.

This is the first reckoner, the scout. They can’t directly harm you, and you can’t harm them. If there are no traces they might leave, but they can create more traces, and if two traces are on the board they are likely to summon someone more dangerous, which will be either the assassin or the thief.

This is the assassin. He can create traces, and if there are three traces, he might summon his boss, but most of the time he’s going to try to kill you. You can block this with a friend, ligean, wandering cat, heights, deep water, weapon, or edge lore, but note that most of these will result in more traces. You can also just take the hit. It causes a wound, which takes 2000 seconds (a little over half an hour) or a vitality, or 10 years to decay, If you reach 7 wounds, you die.

This is the Thief. Like the assassin and scout she can create traces and can summon her boss if there are three traces, but most of the time she’s going to try to steal your items. She picks something you can transport at random, and if you don’t have one of the connections to stop her, you lose it forever. Might just be wealth, or a not-too-useful minor forge artifact, or your medical license, or it might be the precusigant pelt your friend needed you to retrieve so they could travel with you. Or it might be a legendary weapon of great power that you were planning to use on your foe.

In my opinion the assassin is the less dangerous one. You can hold off the assassin for a while if you see him, and do a few things before you leave. The Thief will make you pay, and usually its worth it to get out fast once she shows up

The underboss is the final reckoner you will encounter. She is a combination Assassin and thief, although she will only do one thing at a time, meaning she’s not really more dangerous then either (and, in my opinion, actually less a threat to progress then the thief), but she has the most deadly ability of all – once you have 5 traces there is a chance that she will call in her boss

The Assassin, Thief, and Underboss can all be killed – edge lore and weapons have a 70% chance of wounding. The chance is 100% if you use both at once, and failed theft attempts also generate a wound. Two wounds will kill the Assassin or Thief, and four will kill the underboss. Either way it will generate another trace, so more will follow. Note that in the case of the Assassin or Thief you have to finish them off before they call in their superior, else start all over again. Better lore recharges faster.

Killing one of these enemies will result in them leaving behind a corpse. You can feed one corpse to the birds via relinquish to get more defiance (useful only for defiance endings), or you can study a corpse with lore to increase your knowledge of edge lore.

Anyway, where last we left off, I mentioned that the Underboss can call in her boss to deal with you personally.

Her boss is the Foe. If you see him you should have left earlier. Firstly, the underboss will still be there, trying to kill you or steal your weapons. Secondly, if you’re seeing both of them you’re not at maps edge, and you probably want to fight him at maps edge. You can kill him of course, but you need to be prepared. He has one attack. It wounds you twice. You can defend against it, but if you use a weapon to do so he might destroy it. Friends will not help. Run


Having one or two wounds is actually useful early – they have 4 knock and 4 winter, which can make heists and schemes easier

You will occasionally get vitality – especially if you use jannings a lot, or operate a medical practice. These can remove wounds. You can also spend a decade to remove a wound. Spending a decade on wound removal is generally only worth it if you’re about to die or are in the final confrontation with the Foe

Murder to buy time once you have 3 or more traces on the board is perfectly viable, as long as you have the weapons or luck to do so – while new reckoners will show up, they’ll start out sending the harmless informant

You don’t need to run right away if you’re fighting the assassin and can keep blocking him, or if you’re dealing with the thief/underboss and have some of the shadier connections to prevent thefts – although this will eventually result in the higherups being called or the reckoner being killed

You do need to run if you see the underboss calling in the foe.

Defiance, Edge and Fighting The Foe

Temptation Defiance lets you ascend under the Lionsmith or the Colonel (or, in theory the Wolf, but that doesn’t seem to be mathematically possible yet). You do this by getting 7 marks of defiance, and then fighting your foe nearly to death

First, Defiance marks – you get the first mark by studying the edge lore you start with. You can get another mark by killing one of your Foes minions, and relinquishing the corpse.

Some cities have shrines, to either the colonel or lionsmith. You can visit these shrines, and give up your desire of a peaceful life (temptation obscurity) in order to gain a mark. You can also visit a shrine and chose to dedicate yourself to that specific hour (by using temptation defiance) – note however that this has both advantages and disadvantages, and you might not want to do this right away. Finally, you can visit a shrine and use edge lore to gain a higher understanding of edge (higher level edge lore)

Dedication gives you a mark of defiance, and unlocks more interactions, but once you are dedicated you cannot visit the opposing shrines. The first thing it does is that once you have a dedication, instead of giving you a generic edge lore as an upgrade, your patron will give you a Lionsmith or Colonel specific version of that lore – this has non-edge aspects as well, making it more useful for heists/schemes, and it can be re-used 10 seconds faster then the generic version. If you have the highest lore and visit your patrons shrine, they will reveal a weakness of your foe. If you already know all the weaknesses, you will get a (one use) weapon.

Dedication also lets you gain or lose defiance from interacting with a revolution. Find a city with radical connections, and use winter to betray them or forge to help them. This will start a scheme. If you succeed, and picked the option your patron favors you will gain a mark of defiance.

The last 3 ways of gaining a mark of defiance are the riskiest, but (at least one is) eventually unavoidable – Mailing your foe a weapon (you lose the weapon), telling your foe where you are so he shows up and tries to kill you, or taunting the foe if you worship the lionsmith (you can’t defend against his attack while taunting)

Once you have all the marks, or just if you want to kill him, tell him where you are (by mailing him a letter) and he will show up. You will have to deal with an underboss as well if you’re not at maps edge.

To attack him, you want as high of level edge lore as you can get, and ideally several weapons. Each weapon has a cooldown, as does the lore, and you want to constantly be attacking. You also need to defend – if you’re at maps edge the cards here will almost certainly include at least one of his weaknesses , which can block one attack. Edge lore can also block an attack, but unless you have a lot of weapons it’s difficult to wound him enough if you use this for defense. Weapons can also be used to defend yourself, although depending on the weapon he might break it. Also, don’t be afraid to use any remaining decades to heal yourself. This will not be an easy fight, but if you are prepared and chose the location well, he should fall before you do. It takes 7 wounds to kill him.

Of course, you might not want to kill him – if you are going for a defiance ending, stop once he gets 6 wounds and use temptation defiance.


Another mechanic and ending is Obscurity – this shields you from attention, and once you have 7, you can win an obscurity victory, with the comfort level of the victory depending on how many comforts you have.

The easiest way to get obscurity is to go to map’s edge – but you can’t buy any houses here. Many items you can purchase or steal will give one or two comfort, but for the best, most comfortable win, you need 30 comfort. That’s a lot. So, how do you get obscurity in a normal city?

Note that if you have obscurity, instead of attacking you, the reckoners will remove obscurity rapidly. If you’re about ready to go for an obscurity win and a reckoner scout shows up and creates a trace, it’s time to run.

First thing you will need for a comfy victory is a lot of money, and a lot of comfortable items that you previously purchased or stole. You will want to buy several houses, so save up a lot of cash. Also you need to settle down in a city you can buy expensive houses in. The next thing is obscurity itself – you can get this by solving certain capers using the more subtle aspects for all three challenges – this isn’t possible for all of them, but the easiest one is probably a doctor’s practice – just use heart whenever possible, and you’ll get an obscurity. Again, if at any point a reckoner shows up and you have a trace, get out.

You can also get obscurity by using 2 connection cards to convert a trace to an obscurity, and will generate one automatically whenever you visit an out of the way city. Other then that, doctoring seems like the most consistent way.

By EagleWiz

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One comment

  1. Ok so your guide has been very useful, but what you said about getting the defiance ending was wrong for me. Does my defiance need to be higher than 7 in order to get that ending, or does it happen by chance?

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