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Things To Do Before 30

Or: how to happily jump from student-hunting to the World

by Raymond (from the "Cabal du Quixotic" society)

(Updated 9-9-07)

If you're reading this, you should be around level 10 or so, that is, with a basic knowledge of how things work, but with still a lot to learn. At this point you should be gaining levels quite steadily (i.e. you have a good weapon), but alas, things won't go so smoothly forever.

You'll have noticed that your usual preys (poor xp-juicy zoogs in Ulthar, MU students or the like) are giving you less and less percent experience as you increased in level and well, if you wonder when killing zoogs will start to definitely not be worth it, that's around level 20-25. By that time, you'll have to be prepared to explore the world (which is lots of fun)! Also, at this time you'll need to start thinking about your transition to the next profession, to fulfill any requisites you may need.

This helpfile is divided into three sections: attack, defence, and general skills useful in combat. I believe that if you prepare your character in all of these aspects, you'll have a much easier experience in Cthulhumud. If you find any information to be incomplete or erroneous, please feel free to ask for a correction!

First Section - ATTACK

There are several skills that are helpful in attack, and should be trained at least once. Then you may either let nature do the rest (i.e. gain % by skill usage), or just practice it some more.

SECOND ATTACK: this is the esiest of the "more attacks" skill group, increasing the number of blows you may deal in one round. As you may see by RESEARCH-ing it (RESEARCH 'SECOND ATTACK), it has a dexterity requisite. If you're not reaching it (and you see it in yellow), you may consider spending some of your Trains to better your Dex, or seeking objects which can increase your Dex until the requirement becomes green.

ENHANCED DAMAGE: the easiest of the "more damage" skill group, it has a strength prerequisite. Again, if your Str. is too low, you may want to spend your trains in Strength to be able to learn it.

WEAPON SKILLS: at this point you should already have a favourite weapon. If you can, you should put some practices in it to make your attacks more effective. If you know a techer for the master skill for that weapon (i.e. the MACE MASTER skill), then learning it will make you a better fighter.

DAMAGE SPELLS: Sooner or later you're going to find an opponent which is very well protected against your attacks, and muscles just won't be enough against it. That's the time when the brain should do its part in combat! There are several offensive spells around, but of course, casting them may use up lots of mana at your level. My suggestion is to choose one, and learn it well (high %), so that you won't waste too much mana in casting it. My personal choice was the Magic missile skill, as it allows you to cast three spells (Zap, Magic missile and Magic zapper: see RESEARCH 'MAGIC MISSILE') so that you may balance cost, difficulty and effectiveness for each fight. Of course, that's a personal choice!

OTHER OFFENSE-RELATED SPELLS: the BLESS spell will give you a better to-hit roll, while STRENGTH and HASTE will boost your Str and Dex; FAERIE FIRE will reduce your opponent's armor, and well... there are many more, which you'll know about eventually... Explore and learn!

GEAR: Well, of course, let's speak of weapons. Some of them are gained or found in the game, while others may be forged by players.  Weapons can be enchanted to better your hit and damage rolls, to never break up, to have particular effects on them, and even to yield a different kind of damage (you may know all about it from the very good helpfile in www.cthulhumud.com)... A good forged weapon may yield more damage than a game weapon, but some effects can't be reproduced (e.g. the Vampiric effect, which transfers to you some of the HP you deal to your opponent), and in the end you'll keep balancing between the use of forged and game weapons, depending on your level and your abilities. Although most high-level players will be happy to enchant a simple weapon for you, and this is for sure the simplest way to hit effectively at levels 20-30, personally i think that managing to forge and enchant a nice weapon by oneself is a wonderful experience, and you could aim to be able to have lots of fun with it from levels around 50.

Apart from weapons, don't forget that other kinds of items can make you more effective in combat.  Everything that can improve your Strength, Dexterity, Hit roll, Damage roll, or weapon skills will make you slightly more effective... and when you sum up everything, it may make a nice difference!

Second Section - Defense

Many say that attack is the best defence. This being true, the other side of the story is that if there's one way to win against a very strong opponent, it's to keep enduring the damage you take. If you find a way to keep fighting, then you'll eventually win, even if you're dealing low damage, or even if you're forced to resort mostly on magic.

DODGE and PARRY: of course there's no need to explain the use of these skills. Enough to say, the higher, the better.

SHIELD BLOCK: that's another story. Personally i don't use shields very much, as i prefer to DUAL a second weapon instead ow holding a shield. Anyways, if you're fond of shields, then don't forget to have a nice % in this skill.

FAST HEALING: this is a very nice skill, especially because once you get even a slight percent in it, you'll keep using it automatically whenever you're below your max HP, so it's going to naturally increase by usage.

DEFENSIVE SPELLS: prepare for a long list! The importance of defensive spells is really paramount. ARMOR, SHIELD, HARDEN SKIN, REGENERATION, PROTECTION EVIL, GLOBE OF PROTECTION, SANCTUARY, and so on... all these will keep you happy, healty and alive!!! At level around 15, you may still not find them very effective, but by lev. 25 you should be able to boost your armor pretty well without resorting to other people's help. Some of them may last only for a while at level 20-30, so you may increase their power by casting them in a high-magic area like the Cavern of Flames (you may go there i.e. by DREAM WALK-ing from the fountain at Miskatonic University. The Cavern of Flames is the room where Kaman-thah and Nasht are). NOTE: not all these spells work by simply bettering your armor class. I leave to you to find out what they actually do! Knowledge is power! And remember: for protective spells, negative figures are better (positive figures expose you).

HEALING SPELLS: you may want to learn well some low-cost low-benefit spell like CURE LIGHT, and perhaps some high-cost high-benefit one like HEAL. Others like RESTORE LIMB may be useful too, because fighting with a damaged body part (check with BODY) is very ineffective and thus dangerous.

OTHER CURATIVE SPELLS: these may be useful only once in a while, but having REMOVE CURSE, CURE DISEASE, CURE POISON and mostly CURE BLINDNESS, even at a low %, may save you from bad situations.

BANDAGE: this skill will both stop bleeding and heal you. If you manage to learn it, you'll surely benefit from it; but if you don't, don't worry too much, it's not totally necessary at level 20-30 if you have healing spells (and you should)!. Just, well, bleeding is uncomfortable sometimes... Especially when you bleed away your last 20 hp after succesfully fleeing from a bad fight.

GEAR: Like for weapons, armor can be either found or created by players.
There are many spots where armor can be dressed; you could try to fill as much of them as possible, and generally only in-game built armor will provide you with something for every spot. About player-created items, they may either be forged or tailored. Forged armor will only cover your head or body, and its affects are related on the raw material it's made of. Tailored armor is linked to the affects of the skin used to make it, so it may have a wider range of affects, but again only some types of armor can be tailored.

So in the end, keeping eyes wide open for good in-game armor is a very good idea. And remember: for armor, positive figures are better (negative figures expose you).

Again, apart from simple armor, you may search for items which increase your HP, enhance some defensive skill, or generally have protective affects on them. Potions may be other nice items to keep in a pouch, and most of all if you're not able to cast their spell (e.g. cure poison). Just note, you can't quaff a Cure blindness potion while you're blind.

Other useful (or fun) skills related to combat:

DISARM and STRONG GRIP: the first skill is self-explanatory; the second gives you chances to not be disarmed by an opponent. Note though, that not all opponents will deal less damage when bare-handed.

MEDITATION: this skill is similar to Fast healing, only that it helps regaining mana. It should increase with use, so you may start with a low %; just, be sure to have it!

The WIMPY command: remember to set up the amount of HP at which you'll automatically flee from a fight, and to choose the direction to take when fleeing: it may save your life, in particular when you experience some lag!

LORE or IDENTIFY: having either the skill or the spell will be fundamental in the game. You'll know how good your weapons and armor are, and which particular effects they've got on them.

DREAMING: remember that while you're dreaming, your skills are slightly boosted, and the higher your dreaming skill, the higher the boost (and the lesser your chances to enter a nightmare).

OCCULT and the RITUALIZE command: using some ritual candles you may boost the magic in a room (you may check it with RAFF). This will make your spells more effective, less mana-expensive and will increase your chances of a succesful casting.

TRIP, KICK and DIRT KICK: the first will turn your opponent off-balance, the second will deal some (very slight) damage, and the third will blind your opponent. Although not being fundamental skills at all, they may help at times.

BREW and POTIONS or SCRIBE and SCROLLS: these skills are used to create potions and scrolls. Again they're not always useful, but apart from having 1001 different fun ways to use them (especially potions), you'll surely notice that sprinking a potion or reciting a scroll on an opponent is absolutely simpler than having to chant a spell while fighting. As a side note though, scrolls and potions generally have milder effects than chanted spells.

Well... i hope this covers most of it! Enjoy your fights... and your practices!!!