Prologue and Act I:
First off, start with the tutorial (accessed from the main menu). This is the basic demo of gameplay using the Waywatcher. Just follow the instructions and practice your blocking, dodging, and weapon usage. At the end you'll save the Dwarf, granting you your first achievement:
Rescue Bardin Goreksson from the Skaven.
Now you'll be starting on the game for real. First things first, load your chosen character and enter the Inn. You can't do much here, but you can go to your equipment locker and equip your standard trinkets. This will grant you:
Now let's start on the missions proper. I recommend starting every mission off on Easy to get a feel for the beats and objectives and general terrain; you're going to have to replay all these missions plenty, so make things easy for yourself to start with. For each mission, I'll be providing a video link to the tomes and grimoire guides. I'm also including a map, but use them mostly for general orienteering as the worlds of Vermintide are sprawling and hard to precisely map. The numbers correspond to the numbers in the text walkthrough so you can better keep track of your progress. Good hunting!
Horn of Magnus
3 Tomes / 2 Grimoires [Video Guide courtesy Grecolas]
The prologue mission Horn of Magnus is a fairly straightforward affair. Given how often you'll probably end up playing it, it'll also be one of the easier missions, even if only by repetition. Start out by leaving the alley and reaching the docks area. Hang a right and another right, heading towards the watch. Along the docks there are a variety of loot locations and chests to pillage before heading up the stairs into the guard post. Everyone here is dead, which you'll discover is the fate of almost any character that's not one of your heroes or the innkeeper, so get used to it. In here there's some more loot. Exiting the guard post you'll likely run into your first wave of reinforcements. Holding the chokepoint of the guard hallway is a good strategy, assuming you make sure someone is watching your back; reinforcements will often come through the guardhouse you just cleared. It's a valuable lesson—there's no real way to "clear" any area and there's no pause option, so sitting around idly is going to have you dealing with unnecessary enemies.
Entering the pig pens, make sure to check underneath them, as ammo often spawns here. Proceeding along the path, you'll find you can go under a bridge or to the right and over the aforementioned path. To the right is a chest. Around here is often a Rat Ogre attack spot, so make sure to use the relatively open space to kite him. If not, you'll face him somewhere else along the way. If you take down an Ogre, you'll get the following achievement:
If you're the one who personally lands the death blow on him, you'll also get:
There are two routes available to you. You can head straight along down the main road, or hug the side alleys. The side alleys have the tomes and grimoires we want, along with some chests; by taking these side roads you can also avoid stormvermin patrols if they spawn on the main road. That said, there's an achievement for tackling one of these groups of rats, and if you're on an easy difficulty there's no better time to get it, so if the opportunity presents itself, attack the patrol. Use grenades to soften them up and make sure to avoid their powerful attacks. Once the dust is settled, you'll get an achievement for your trouble.
Regardless, hug the right alley. You'll end up going past a chest and reaching a cellar door. Go downstairs, and you'll find a chest and, in a mossy corner, a tome (1/3). Carrying this to the end of the level will grant you:
There's also a grimoire (1/2) here, hidden a bit on top of a support beam. Hop on the chest and face the cellar stairs, and you'll see it ahead of you and can grab it by jumping and holding .
Exit the cellar, being careful of enemies, and head right, cutting across the main road and heading into a courtyard separated by an iron fence. In this area towards the back is a door to a church. Open or break it down and you'll find a chest on the altar with another tome (2/3).
Head back out and now follow the road. Feel free to snipe any enemies you encounter with your secondary weapon, as there's a guaranteed ammo box at the end of the road. You'll have to take a left and take a ramp up and over to get into the next section. This is a point of no return, one of several you'll encounter throughout the game. The most important thing to do is make sure you have any collectibles you want on hand, and that everyone jumps it at the same time—it's trivially easy for a straggler to get picked on by a special Skaven and your allies being unable to do anything to help them. Even worse, if they were carrying a grimoire or a tome, it's gone and there's no way to get it back.
The next area may or may not have some loitering Skaven. To your right is a big gate you'll have to blast down with three gunpowder barrels, which spawn one by one on the left side of the courtyard. The best strategy here is to spread out your team a bit; one person grabs the barrels and chucks them over the ledge to the street, where a runner grabs them and carries them to the door, protected along the way by the two others. As soon as the barrel is in position, the next barrel will spawn and the person by the barrels can repeat the process. Gunpowder barrels will ignite and eventually explode if they are hit by fire, whether they are on the ground or being carried, so it's important that the runner be protected from fire. If the barrel is sparking, you still can have a chance to throw it at the door and get it in position before it explodes. Periodic swarms will pour down from the rooftops, and special skaven—especially gunners—like to pepper you from the rooftops, so stay sharp.
Once the gate blows, make sure you have dealt with any enemies left in the courtyard before proceeding. In the next area is a huge public square, with the street and rooftops surrounding dotted with Skaven. There's a chest and a likely lore page spot on the far right side of the square as you enter, and the second grimoire (2/2) on the left edge, on top of a wall outcropping (the jump and hold trick works here too). This is another common spot for a rat ogre attack, and is probably the best spot for it, as you'll have a massive amount of room to strafe his attacks (provided you kill any of the enemies who are dotting the landscape.)
Proceeding through the only exit, you'll come across a series of stairs that lead up to an inn. There is often, but not always, an ammo crate outside the inn at the top. This is another common ogre attack area. There are supplies littering the inside of the inn, but most importantly make sure you open up all the chests in the inn as you make your way up. When you reach the top you'll find a set of stairs that leads to a gaping hole in the roof, leading to the rooftops; before you head up, make sure you go behind the stairs to where another chest is hidden, and then once opening it, backtrack to the previous room with a chest. Assuming you've opened enough of these trigger chests, to the right of the wall a partition will have disappeared, revealing a small room with the final tome (3/3) inside. Now head up to the roof.
Another spot for rat ogres or very troublesome gunners, head along the rooftops, stopping at the end to pilfer the contents of a room. Clear out the opposition across the way before heading along a plank bridge to the opposite side. Be wary of occasional ambush spawns. Go into the Magnus tower ruins (another point of no return) and down the corridor to reach an elevator. All human players need to be present for the lift to activate; if you've got bots just jump on and they'll spawn in.
Ride the tower up to the top. You'll now have to ascend the rest of the tower via cramped rooms and twisting stairs. There will be supplies in the corners of the rooms, and this is a common place for a sack rat to spawn as well, if you want to chase him up. You'll hit another point of no return, and then ascend to a wooden gantry in a clearing, with the eponymous horn above you. This is the final hold-out point and another point of no return once you drop down. There will always be healing items here, so grab what you can. You can actually leave your tomes up here, provided you remember to pick them up later; you can jump up and grab them from below if you're positioned correctly. This way you can carry the maximum amount of healing possible. There are scattered healing items, potions and bombs out or in chests throughout the area; clear out any opposition and stock up. Then, pick your holdout point and send someone to ascend the stairs and blow the horn to start the final onslaught.
Where you choose to hold out depends on personal preference. Common places are right next to the horn, or in the bump-out with a window at the base of the stairs. Less exposed to special fire is the small ledge by the chest underneath the horn; while this is an excellent place to funnel skaven and it can protect you from a lot of potential special fire, there's only one way to get out of this place, so be careful if you choose to make your stand here, because there's no place to retreat or maneuver. Either way, you'll be hit with multiple waves of enemies. Use your bombs on big clusters of enemies to thin them out or damage any more that are coming into range, and make sure no one slips behind your line. If you haven't already gotten it, this is an easy place to kill more than five skaven with an explosive to net you an achievement:
If there are gunners or gas rats, kill them first because they will destroy your ability to hold your line together. Eventually the rat onslaught will slacken, and a big building piece will smash a hole in the floor; that's your escape hatch. Make sure you grab your tomes, then all jump down and hit the elevator. All that's left is a mad dash through an alley to reach the wagon for the mission to complete.
If you grabbed a grimoire and brought it along, you'll also get:
Carry a grimoire to the end of a level.
If you bring all three tomes with you, you'll get an achievement as well:
Collect all Tomes on The Horn of Magnus.
Nightmare Achievement: 'Hornblower'
For "Hornblower", you have to make it from the gate you explode all the way to the horn at the top of the tower and blow it within four minutes, and then survive. This is actually pretty easy, assuming that people have A) potions of speed, and B) potion sharing trinkets. This allows you to bypass most of the enemies on your way to the top. You'll also want to equip a passive speed bonus trinket if you have it. If someone falls, leave them behind and book it. Finishing it up will grant you:
Alert the city by blowing the Horn of Magnus within 4 minutes of the gate exploding on Nightmare
Now that you've finished your first mission, we've got a few things we can start working on at the inn. Once you're LVL 1, you unlock the Forge, granting you this:
If you interact with the Forge and choose an item to salvage, you'll get:
Likewise, the first time you upgrade an item you'll receive:
Merging up to five items of the same rarity grants:
If you look around the room, you'll notice in places (like the map table, the table by the windows, and behind the bartender) there's a bunch of bottles and glasses. Some of these can actually be broken, and they (along with things like breaking down doors in campaign) count towards an achievement. If you're idling destroying stuff whenever you have down time waiting for lobbies, you'll quickly get this achievement without trying hard to grind it (there are achievements you're going to have to grind, so why freak out about this one?):
Also something to be mindful of, although you'll inevitably get it in time, is that using healing supplies on another hero (not yourself) ten times grants you an achievement as well:
Use 10 Medical Supplies on your allies.
Now, continuing with the story…
Supply and Demand
3 Tomes / 2 Grimoires [Video Guide by Grecolas]
This is another city map, so be careful not to get turned around; for the most part you're going to follow the roads, but ample loot and chests are hidden off to the sides in buildings.
From the start, head through the arch and follow the road. You can be beset by an ogre quite early in this mission, so be ready. You'll proceed around a bend to Von Holzenauerstrasse, where your path forward will be blocked. Look to the left instead and head through the potion shop, picking up supplies on the way, and through the dog pens. There will be a ladder leading to a roof on the left side of the path; this leads to a roof where you can jump from tree to roof to back alley, where the first grimoire (1/2) is located behind a fence. Proceed ahead to the Platz; if you run along the right edge you'll find a tome (1/3) on a building edge.
Continue down the road towards the large building (The Granary). There are chests and supplies in the ruined buildings on the side of the road and in the back left of this area. When you are read, proceed as a group up the granary and you'll come out at the top of a courtyard. You'll have to drop down, but if you climb up on the items stacked up to the nearby wall, you can actually jump up and grab the tome (2/3) here. Else, you can drop down, wrap around and take a ladder up to this area to claim it. Follow this road to the end and then use the stairs, then backtrack the way you came on the upper level. You'll crawl through a ruined building. I'm not sure if it's a bug or a feature, but there are two paths forward in the next building and one is randomly blocked on some playthroughs. If you head through the left door, you'll end up in the Jaegerstrasse, a street with some loot on the margins. If you head through the right door you'll go to the Ludwigplatz, a small courtyard with a building at its end. Either way, both paths terminate in one-way drops into the gardens.
The gardens are a common spot for a patrol or ogre attack to occur, but if none of those occur just stick to an edge to avoid getting surrounded and clear your way through. You'll come down a series of steps to another road, the carpenter's guild. Across from you are some buildings and scaffolding; up here is the second grimoire (2/2), which you can reach by jumping on the barrels by the carriage in the road here, then onto the carriage, the roof, and then the scaffolding.
The next area is a big clearing; there's an ammo box here so feel free to kill everything you can safely at range. In the corner of this area (your relative left as you enter this area) is the final tome (3/3) sitting in a nook on the ground. Follow the stairs up to a small roof with a gap that overlooks the final market square area, as well as being filled with supplies. When you're reading, jump down here and hack through the ropes to open the gate.
In this final area you'll need to venture through the square and bring back four sacks to the wagon. Depending on the difficulty and trinkets, your strategy may differ. If a player is fleet of foot and has potions, they can pop a speed potion and run a sack back solo, leaving the others to mostly worry about clearing out enemies, but in general you should probably escort the sack carriers at least to the stairs that lead to the wagon. Trying to do more than two sacks at a time is a recipe for disaster. Take it slow and steady, and then all pile into the wagon to end it once you've finished your task.
Completing the mission with all the tomes nets you:
Nightmare Achievement: 'Low Supply, High Demand'
This isn't too difficult. If you have trinkets that reduce revival times or weapons that grant bloodlust or regrowth, equip them—you can steal health via these methods, but you cannot use any consumable healing items. When you reach the final area, if someone goes down it may be a better idea to regroup by the entrance to the marketplace—all heroes will respawn here without fail. Just take your time, group up for each sack and if someone's near death just let them go down to get back health when they respawn. On completion, you'll get:
[No Tomes or Grimoires]
Welcome to the first of Vermintide's "short" missions. Unlike the slightly longer ones, there are no tomes or grimoires to grab, so you can focus on survival (or on Nightmare, the optional objective.)
Start out heading into the sewers. You'll need to duck in a side passage and come out in another gallery. If you keep hugging the left wall you'll come across a side passage with a room filled with loot. Keep progressing through the next sewer main and you'll come across a point of no return into a square area. This is the first of two floodgates; when you're ready, hack the floodgate control and then collect in a corner of the room. Here you'll defend against waves of Skaven, which shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just focus any specials first, and throw a bomb on you or in front of you to thin ranks if you feel you're getting heavily pressured. Once the gate is open, continue on and up the stairs, taking a side passage and heading to Brandts Falls, a large room. The exit is on the opposite side here, but beware—this is a common area for the rat ogre to spawn in, and rats can stream in from all sides here.
In the next passage, continue along until you reach the next point of no return. There are some supplies in a nearby room to grab before you carefully drop down; you'll take damage if you jump straight to ground level instead of falling down the lower ledges. Here, rinse and repeat your same strategy for holding out until the door drops. In the next area there will often be special skaven at the far end of the sewer, so make sure you pick them off and watch for reinforcements behind and around you. Head through the door on the right side and you'll go through a wraparound tunnel that ends in a ladder. Be careful here, as Skaven can often swarm up top at street level or jump down to you. Once you're out in the fresh air, just head to your wagon at one end of the street and the mission is over.
Nightmare Achievement: 'Thirst for Powder'
This achievement isn't too difficult, but you have to be mindful. You need to bring and place three barrels—and only three, despite what the description says—at slots right to the side of the wagon at the end of the level. There are around a half dozen barrels scattered around the level, maybe more—some locations are marked on the above map. The key point is making sure no one accidentally sets them off by slicing wildly or throwing a grenade. Clear out the surrounding areas and chuck barrels into corners for safekeeping when you run into combat. When you have to hold out at the floodgates, stick the barrels at the opposite corner from where you're going to defend to avoid possible damage. Have spotters pop up out of the ladder and maker sure the final path is clear for the barrels before you bring them up; doing them one at a time might be easiest, although the last underground passage is perhaps the most treacherous part of the level as limited quarters make accidental demolition a bigger issue. Once you've placed three barrels, jump in and you should get the achievement after you complete the mission:
Thirst For Powder
Bring at least 3 explosive barrels to the wagon on Smuggler's Run on Nightmare
3 Tomes / 2 Grimoires [Video Guide by Swanky Jak]
Back to a longer mission this time. Wizard's Tower can be a bit difficult because much of it takes place in cramped interiors with mazelike passages stacked in multiple levels (and the possibility of fighting the rat ogre in these environs); if you're looking for the tomes and grimoires in this one, I suggest using the visual guide to get your bearings.
Start off by heading to the shop; there may be some supplies scattered around the courtyard, and there will be some inside the apothecary and down the stairs. Hit the bookcase to open the side passage, and beware of a possible horde call from either direction; keep moving as fast as you can because it seems like they tend to spawn frequently if you dally. Climb up the stairs (I'd leave the chest under the stairs alone, as in dozens of runs I don't think I've ever seen it carry anything and you're more likely to take fall damage than anything else.) Through the door, you'll find the first large multi-leveled area, the Main Library. You have to get through this area however you see fit. On your left and right are stairs; the left staircase only leads to the second story, while the right staircase takes you to all three floors. Take a right and head up to the top story. Once you're up here, orient yourself so the entrance you came in is below you on the left. Head straight and hug the left wall, and you'll turn left into a small room with supplies and a tome (1/3). Now head across the library towards the opposite side; there will be one of several ammo boxes here on the ground floor, and multiple exits to the next area. Once you pass through the doorway, you'll enter the Stairway, a cluster of connected rooms along a large chasm with stairs going up and down. The second tome is in here. To reach it, you'll want to head upwards. You'll eventually see a iron-barred passage on your right with stairs beyond; this means you're going in the right way. Head straight and turn right and you'll wrap around to the aforementioned stairway, blocked by wooden barricades you can smash down. Take the stairs up and follow the path. It will turn and head down to another area with iron bars, the tome (2/3) and more supplies. Retrace your steps and head via one of three doors to a long hallway. If you head to the right all the way you'll find a door leading into a small room with cages and the first grimoire (1/2) up above the door on a stack of books. Beyond this hallway is another room with a chest, then follow the next passage to another chest and a point of no return. Once you're ready, proceed.
You'll find yourself in the Chamber of Gnignol; the appearance of the room will change depending on your character, but the key points are the chain you must smash to open the gate beyond it, and a cliffside with an ammo box. Like the floodgate from Smuggler's Run, you'll have to smash the chain and wait for the door to lower. Thanks to the ammo box and the elevation, holding up here isn't too hard. Once you have survived the waves of skaven proceed to the door and up some stairs. There will be another point of no return, and you'll have to climb up some more stairs and go down a long passage.
You'll now be in the Hall of Mysteries, where there will be a bunch of scattered chests arrayed around the Escher-esqe environment. Head to the end of the room and there will be stairs up to the Hall of Knowledge, which has a drop down to a maze of library shelves. There will be a chest and ammo box here. Cross the room, hit up the small room for another chest, and head up the stairs to reach the upper floor above the Hall of Mysteries, which apparently is its own location, the Hall of Illusion. There are two paths through this area, but huge the left side. You will drop down and reach a balcony over the staircase leading from the Hall of Mysteries to the Hall of Knowledge. In front of you should be a chest on the ceiling; turn left, and you'll see another platform with another chest glued to the side of the wall. Inside this one is the tome (3/3); it can be tricky to grab without falling, so make sure you don't get split up while retrieving it. If you want the second grimoire (2/2), it can be found by climbing up a very step set of steps capped with a door on the other side of this hall. Retrace your steps back up if needed and head around the edge of the room, reaching another room with stairs leading up and supplies scattered around.
After taking the stairs, you'll enter a long hallway; as you drop down and head forward, the environment will suddenly change to an outdoor area with a rope bridge; continue on, hacking through the barricades to reach another door with a long set of stairs up.
You'll now reach an antechamber with supplies, so stock up as you can't come back here. Then drop down into the final event room, the Grey Wizard's Study. There will be some more supplies possibly on the sides, and ammo and more in the center, where you need to manually start the sequence. The wizard will summon wards, and you'll have to survive waves of skaven and eventually protect at least one ward.
Since you only need one ward alive (save for the "Pierce the Veil" achievement we'll discuss below), a sensible strategy is to camp one of the upper-level wards and cluster together. With your backs to a corner, your only threats are a gas rat or unmolested rat gunner, so prioritize those specials above all else. After the sequence is done, the wizard will crow about something or rather, and the path forward will open. Fight your way through whatever's left to end up back in the apothecary shop and town square, with the wagon nearby. Climb in and the mission ends.
Completing the mission with all the tomes nets you:
Nightmare Achievement: 'Pierce the Veil'
Play through the mission normally, and then when you get to the room with the wards, space out your heroes, one at each ward. A long-ranged hero like a Wizard, who doesn't need ammo, is very useful, especially perched on top of the bookcases to the lower-right ward (as viewed when dropping down into the area;) from that vantage point she can rain down death on anyone who goes after her ward, as well as supporting the hero on the opposite side. Heroes should tank damage for the wards by liberally bashing the incoming enemies; characters equipped with devastating blow can easily knock most of the Skaven climbing up back over the edge and make dealing with the enemies much easier. The only major threat is special skaven as you're separated. Otherwise, being spread out makes enemy numbers pretty manageable. After two major waves of enemies, if the wards are all still up the achievement will pop (you don't need to get to the end of the mission.)
[No Tomes or Grimoires]
Black Powder is another short mission, but it's also novel in that virtually the entire mission takes place in the same area, where you'll constantly have to ferry explosive barrels from various randomly-selected locations to the boat at the edge of the play zone. To start off with, head along the docks. There will be a few loot locations along the way and light resistance. Make sure everyone is ready before dropping down to the underbelly, the location of the event that will occupy you the rest of this mission. This area has multiple levels, with the boat on the ground floor and supplies scattered throughout the area.
There's a few tricky parts to this. First off, as with the barrels in "Smugglers Run" and elsewhere, the barrels will explode from damage, so the carrier has to avoid damage (if you throw in a sparking barrel into the ship's hold you should still get the objective, however, so if all else fails you can try and hoof it if you're close.) Even worse, no more barrels will spawn if multiples are destroyed until the other barrels on the map are successfully ferried, meaning that if you lose barrels it slows down your possible completion time.
You can either cheese this mission on any difficulty by using the ladder exploit (see the "High as a Kite" solution below), or just play the mission legitimately. If the latter, I would suggest moving as a group and only splitting up into two groups of two when going for barrels that are close to each other. Be careful when running across the central area; it's trivially easy to make a jump that should clear the water, only to instead fall through and have to be rescued. At some point a rat ogre will spawn, and while the open area and elevation make it pretty easy to try and juke him, if you get sent flying it's easy to be knocked into the water.
Once you've gotten six barrels in the ship hold, get to the boat and the mission will end.
Nightmare Achievement: 'High as a Kite'
This achievement requires you to avoid killing the rat ogre and complete the mission. Fortunately, if you don't keep clearing waves of Skaven, the ogre will never spawn in the first place. To safely aggro Skaven waves, send everyone over to the boat side of the map. Here there is a long ladder that, if a person is positioned properly on it, will draw the attention of enemies who nonetheless cannot actually hit you.
The other heroes should hop onto the roof of the boat (via first jumping onto the roof next to the boat from above) and let the Skaven congregate around the 'bait' hero. The setup to this can be tricky, and using potion share to speed people to their positions quickly when reinforcements start coming in can help. However, if you've successfully pulled this exploit off, the only Skaven that will appear will be specials. That leaves the other three players able to gather the objectives relatively unmolested; just make sure you don't get too close to the grouped Skaven around the ladder hero as you can peel them off. The achievement will unlock after successful completion.
High As A Kite
Complete Black Powder without killing the Rat Ogre on Nightmare
Congratulations. Act I is complete!
Before we dive into the next part of the story, there's a few things back at the inn we can work on completing.
By the time you're LVL 7 (which should be soon), you'll gain access to the Quest & Contracts board (next to the enchanting area.) You'll be presented with a screen like this one:
In the top left corner are the various quests you can undertake, which require a certain number of finished contract keys to unlock. When you select a quest, it moves to the top right corner, and you can track your progress.
Along the left side are the various contracts available. Some offer green, blue, or orange crafting materials, others offer keys, and still others offer "boons"—time-limited stat bonuses such as increased damage or knockback. You can have up to three of these active at any time, and the available contracts and quests rotate daily. I recommend focusing your efforts on getting exotic trinkets from the quests, as well as a (single) exotic piece of headgear. The gear is cosmetic only, but you'll need one for an achievement later. Meanwhile the trinkets are the most reliable way of getting them versus the end-of-mission RNG, and they make a huge difference to your game.
Note that if you don't succeed in meeting the terms of a contract (for example, you only open 4 or 5 chests instead of the 10 you needed on a mission), repeated playthroughs do stack, so you can run the same mission as many times as you need to satisfy the contract requirements.
Once you've completed your first contract, you'll pop:
If you want to actually receive the rewards and boons from a completed contract, you'll have to manually select it on the Quests & Contracts board (this allows you to save boons for difficult missions or the like.) Once you redeem a boon, you'll get:
Finally, turning in enough keys for a quest and redeeming it grants you:
A note to solo players: if you're looking for teammates to run through levels, searching for games which have active contracts will boost your success rate. There will also be a cataclysm contract worth more keys that pops up on the weekend for a limited-time duration.
Now that we've introduced the Quest & Contracts board you'll be using throughout, it's time to move on to the next act of the story.