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Library: The Ways of an Adventurer

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Author: Finaldey
Date:Nov 15 1995

The Ways of an Adventurer

Foreword

Some might think that this book is mostly nonsense babbling with little ideas
and even fewer hints. I agree. This book is intended to be a relaxing
memory-refresher for all who have been adventuring and nice reading for
someone who is just starting his/her adventuring career. Don't come telling me
that reading this book is a waste of time - I know it already. Speaking for my
defence, so are most MUDs anyway. Fortunately, there are a lot of people that
like wasting their time.

Prologue

What is an adventurer? A good question with no short answers. There are people
that get up at sunrise to work in mines, fields or go fishing every single day
of their lives. Then there are adventurers. Many of us think that an
adventurer is just a guy (or gal) that goes into some dungeons, hacks dozens
of monsters into pieces and hauls sacks of gold back just to buy better
equipment so he can go and hack some more. An adventurer is much, much more.

Every day in an adventurer's life is different. In fact, to call himself a
real adventurer, a person must be able to say after every day: "Oh, what a
wonderful new experience I had today." Every day, he must learn something new,
or sooner or later he'll find himself plowing a field or raising one's
children - his/her adventuring days are over.

Now, one could say that the new experiences are limited and they'll run out
some day. One wouldn't think too much farther than his/her toes. Even if the
new experiences were limited, so is your life, pal. More to the point, the
experiences that can be lived through (or died through, who cares) are as near
infinite as anything can get. The world is large and so full of different
people, places and things that they can form a near-infinite amount of
differing combinations or noncombinations.

Sounds pretty confusing, huh? Well, it's propably enough to wake up every
morning, shake off the dust of your hometown streets and just head towards the
horizon. If you have trouble deciding which way to go, flip a coin or toss a
die. Now that you have got started with the adventuring, we can move to the
adventuring itself.

Chapter one: Your mortal needs

There are different kinds of basic needs that most adventuring races must obey
in order to survive. They are the need to eat, the need to drink, the need to
dispose your organic waste and the need to reproduce. It is rumored that
there's also a need to sleep but that hasn't yet proven to be unbeatable.
Since the two first are the ones usually covered in MUDs, I leave the other
three to someone else.

According to what I learned in biology classes, an organic body needs
nutrition in order to produce energy for such unimportant things as movement
of muscles, heart and lung functions and brain activity. So uninteresting and
unstimulating it might sound, this means you have to eat and drink to survive.
Depending of the form of the nutrition one can use, 'eating' and 'drinking'
are hardly the words to use, but to make this book just a little bit shorter,
I'll use them instead of 'absorbing solid nutrition' and 'absorbing liquid
nutrition'.

The most annoying thing about eating or drinking is that your body has a
certain limit of how much food/water it can store. Despite of great efforts,
no one has ever been known to eat more than this limit and still surviving
(slap me if I'm wrong). What is not taken in account in most MUDs is that in
this matter, the old saying 'practise makes perfect' holds true as in so many
other things. Training for this kind of sport usually makes people fat, but I
haven't seen any MUD supporting this by code.

So, you must eat but you cannot eat enough for the rest of your life. Don't
worry! The creator-equivalent of most races gave us some form of external
storing, like hands or other appendages. To help even more, some little genius
invented the backpack. If you need more food that you can carry, you're in big
trouble or very weak.

Carrying water around isn't so important as it might first feel, because it is
often abundant all over the world, save the deserts. This is good, because at
least in my MUD, pottery is mostly unknown art and no adventurer I've met
could make a cup of a piece of clay. Every dirt-covered nomad I met, however,
could create fresh pants of spirits' skins - whatever those are.

Chapter two: The hazards of the nature

One of Murphy's laws say that mother nature is a bitch. How true, but this
particular bitch cannot be wiped out of the way (the modern man tries hard,
however), so instead everyone willing to survive has to learn to cope with it.
Following are some downright dangerous parts of nature. Note that the
creatures nature spawns are discussed in later chapters.

I just got off saying that you must drink in order to survive. This forms one
of the biggest ironies of most water-based lifeforms (like a human beign):
Water is essential but you cannot live in it. Normal water contains oxygen for
a gill-equipped fish, but unfortunaly land-dwelling creatures don't have gills
(except for a few species) - they have lungs. Therefore the oxygen they use
must become in a gaseous form, typically in a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and
other gases - called air.

What's the point behind this? Well, now we know that we need air. So the only
thing you have to keep in mind is to see that nothing prevents you from
getting it. Drowning is deadly. Need we say more?

Another big natural hazard used in most RPGs but in a very few MUDs is the
gravity. To those that haven't read any physics, gravity is a force that
exists between every object in the universe. Noticeably effects, however,
occur only with relatively large objects, like heavenly bodies (no, that
doesn't mean gorgeous women). What prevents us from moving towards the centre
of the body is usually the supporting force of the dense material beneath our
feet. If from any reason this material would be obsolete for a given time, we
would be attracted towards the centre of the body with increasing speed.

A translation of the previous paragraph: If a thing isn't standing on a solid
base, it will fall downwards until it hits a solid base. The farther away from
the nearest solid base the thing is, the more speed it will develop while
falling. The more speed the thing develops, the more crushing is the force it
hits the base with. What we learn from this? Falling is deadly, but in most
MUDs it's fortunately prevented from happening because of an unknown reason.
Lucky bastards we are.

When god created the creatures of the world, He must've been lazy. You see, IF
He hadn't been too lazy, He would have made all of the creatures immune to
poisons. You're propably full of definitions already, but I need to do this:
Poison is a general name for all substances a given lifeform's body doesn't
tolerate. Some poisons are more lethal than others - the mildest having no
noticeable effects and the strongest killing the creature in a few seconds.

Poison might enter the creature's body by several means. External absorption
through skin is most dangerous, since it can be prevented only by keeping away
from the poison fully. Gaseous poisons, ones that still don't fit in the first
category, can be breathed in and then absorbed in the blood from the lungs
(damn those red blood cells are stupid!). Poisons that have to be injected are
a major weapon of many predators. Finally, there are the poisons that have to
be ingested by the recipient. This should make anyone with brains think again
before quaffing an unknown potion or eating a mandrake root ;)

These are the main hazards of the nature. Extreme weather is one of the most
deadly of them in the real life, but seldom covered in MUDs. Sad in a way -
wouldn't it be really an experience to be hit by a lightning while wearing a
metal armor and standing in the top of a mountain or in a middle of a field.
Now the only lightnings seem to sprout from the fingertips of electric mages.

Chapter three: Man-made hazards

When someone deliberately makes a device or something else that is designed to
harm or otherwise harass another lifeforms, he's generally said to make a
trap. Traps come in forms too various to cover completely in this book, but
I'll take a look at some of the most common uses of them.

First of all, one should think _where_ the traps are laid. Very few people lay
traps because they feel to. They exist, however, and one should be careful
when travelling into a place that is not frequently visited by others. Usually
the traps are there to protect something valuable, like the insides of a box
or the contents of a room in a castle or similiar. Sure, it might be that a
person that owns a castle leaves it completely unguarded and untrapped, but
very unlikely so. If you really, really have to tresspass, be prepared to fall
prey on some hideous trap that takes your life mercilessly.

Pitfalls are another type of common trap. This particular trap is nothing more
than a concealed pit in a certain room. Luckily, in most MUDs all pitfall
creators are amateurs, and don't cover the bottom of the pit with something
sharp and maybe poisonous. That would be quite nasty now would it.

Chapter four: You're not alone

Like the real world, MUDs are filled with all kinds of life forms. The players
are one kind, but they are much too weird and complex to cover here so we'll
just stick to the AI driven creatures. What you should always remember is that
the creatures you encounter might be of any strength. Generally, the monster
description gives away something of its capabilities, but not always. Also,
monsters with almost same description might be widely different in strength.
In the beginning, most MUDders are happy when they manage to kill a chicken, a
pigeon or a rabbit - so dangerous as they might sound.

One should always bear in mind that even less dangerous creatures can be
strong when there are many of them together. Nothing is more frustrating to
get killed because you were fighting a barely manageable monster when another
of its type walks in and joins the fray. Don't be greedy and try killing too
hard monsters, thinking that you can always run to fight another time. That
time might occur sooner than you would think, for example if the monster
follows you to your resting place. *snap* *crackle* *pop* *RIP*

Most MUDs allow the player to face the threats of the world with friends,
meaning a party. Some MUDs even make it almost impossible to advance or at
least advance very slowly without partying. In here, adventurers often divide
into two groups: The Party Animals and the Hermits. The first ones always
choose to party and won't leave the city or whatever safe place without a
steady number of friends around him. They also have fun chatting with other
party members and often they are also fun to party with. The latter of the two
are the contrary. They love the silence and emptiness granted by exploring
alone. They like to examine places carefully without having their friends
hurrying them up all the time. Of course, some adventurers fall in between
these two categories and decide to party or solo by their mood.

Chapter five: Facing the Grim Reaper

As it is very well documented and proven true, no matter how tough you are or
think you are, there's always someone tougher than you. Furthermore, no matter
how well you try to avoid these tougher-than-yous, you'll eventually end up
bumping into one and getting killed. Luckily, in most MUDs, the Gods are
generous and grant several new tries for the adventurer. There's no such thing
as free lunch, however, and usually the adventurer suffers some kind of a
penalty for dying. This might be as mild as losing a few experience points or
as grim as losing a few levels and/or ability points. Sometimes you have to
consult other players or wizards to get your adventurer back to life again.

Epilogue

Well, now you know how to start a life as an adventurer, live as an adventurer
and die as an adventurer. Gongrats! You're awarded a proof for completing our
course!

*Finaldey hands you a t-shirt with a text: "I'm an Adventurer" on the chest.

thurme@sci.fi



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