The Cythera Hintbook was initially released alongside the game in 1999. This is the original advertisement for the hintbook that came with Cythera's installer:
Are you feeling stuck?
If you're wandering around the island of Cythera aimlessly, and ruffians are sending you to your doom, do not despair. The legends foretold that you are the sole savior of Cythera, that you would not be kept from this destiny.
If the counsel of the Omen and Magpie are not enough to help you vanquish evil, there is also a mysterious tome which can guide you on your quest.
It's called the Cythera Hintbook, by David Dunham, et. al., and you can get it exclusively from Ambrosia Software. For just $10.00 US, the mysteries will be unfolded to you.
-- From "Stuck? Get the Cythera Hintbook" by Ambrosia Software Inc.
The Cythera Hintbook has since gone out of print. However, it is still an interesting part of Cythera's history. The hintbook provides maps with visual keys to most of the places in Cythera. It gives hints and spoilers for each mission, and it has some useful appendices, including a nearly-complete cast list, spell list, and potions list. There is also a smaller appendix that mentions some of the magical items that can be found in the game.
An unintended feature of the hintbook, and perhaps the most relevant one today, is that it gives a rare glimpse into some of the original concepts of Cythera that never made it into the final game. Like the Cythera Documentation that comes installed with the game, the hintbook references several spells that are no longer in the game. Additionally, multiple potions were removed from the final game, along with the items necessary to make them. The hintbook also suggests that the original name for the Undine was the Seldine.
Unfortunately, the Cythera Hintbook suffers from several typographical errors, so it can be difficult to discern between what was intended and what was merely an accident. There are other problems (limitations on the print quality and some formatting inconsistencies) but overall, the Cythera Hintbook is a fascinating piece of Cythera's development. Many thanks go to David Dunham, Glenn Andreas, and the rest of the Ambrosia team for the work they put into creating it.
The Cythera Hintbook is out of print. However, a few physical copies do exist. If you would like to obtain an original print of the hintbook, please contact Ambrosia Software, Inc. for assistance. They will likely be willing to send you a copy, until they run out of prints.
A digital version of the hintbook has been authorised for free release and can be downloaded below as a PDF.View the Cythera Hintbook PDF
Cythera's images, audio, and text are owned by Ambrosia Software Inc.