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If you're looking for help on how to reach Fernswarthy's Basement, you need to go on the Fernswarthy's Tower quest. See FernswarthysTower for help.
Fernswarthy's Basement is unlike any other area in the Kingdom. As you get deeper and deeper into the Basement, the monsters and challenges get more and more difficult. The only way to "reset" back to the beginning is to Ascend.
Many new adventures were added with the advent of NS-13. In general, there are five different types of adventures in the Basement:
For the hydra, ear beast, and eye beast, the number of heads, ears, or eyes is approximately equal to the power of the monster. The number of stones in the golem, dimensions in the horror, or "greats" in Fernswarthy's ancestor increases by 1 for each one that you encounter, while the bottles of beer count down from 99.
The best strategy (by far) is to have one of the uncapped damage spells (Weapon of the Pastalord/Saucegeyser) and just keep using it. A chefstaff will dramatically increase your damage and help a lot. This is even the best strategy against the beer golem; you just need to maximize your damage so that you only need one or two hits to get through to defeat it. Note that a scroll of ancient forbidden unspeakable evil will give you an insta-kill on the ghost, which is quite useful.
For most of the tests, the (#) is generally equal to the stat value you'll need to have to pass the test. The exception are the ones with "very". However, in all cases the required statistic is approximately equal to the level to the power of 1.4.
In these tests, you will take a large amount of damage aligned to the two elements listed. If you survive, you can pass through the test; otherwise, you fail and do not advance. Note that the two elements are always adjacent on the list of elements; see ElementalEffects.
To give yourself the best chance of surviving, maximize your elemental resistance and available HP. You can make things a lot easier by setting your own element (using an elemental phial) to the first element listed in parentheses; then, you will take only 1 damage from that element and normal damage from the other element. (Do not set yourself to the second element! Then you'll take 1 damage from that element, but double damage from the first element, so you'll gain nothing.)
These tests will drain your HP/MP. If you still have some left, you pass the test and move on; otherwise, you fail. To pass the Gauntlet test, you'll want to maximize your HP as well as your damage absorption, since you can reduce the amount of damage taken by increasing your absorption rating. There is no equivalent for the Festering Powder test, so you'll just want to boost your MP as much as possible. Refilling your MP can get quite expensive at the higher levels, but there's no way around this (unless you have access to a Platinum Yendorian Express Card), although if you do have access to the massages offered by the nuns on the Mysterious Island, they are a very cost-effective way to refill some MP.
Every fifth level (levels 5, 10, 15, etc.) you will receive a choice, which will give you a stat gain proportional to your primary stat (like gains from the Shore). There are three possible choices:
Furthermore, on levels 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500, you get an extra-special reward. As far as anyone knows, however, there are no special rewards beyond 500.
The Discount Telescope Warehouse gift certificate installs a telescope in your campground, which can be used to look ahead at challenges that will face you in the Sorceress' Tower (the outermost of the three doors) or upward to give you the Starry Eyes effect once per day. Additional certificates will upgrade your telescope, allowing you to see monsters in the Tower as well and increasing the power of the effect.