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Section I : Getting Started

Chapter 4: What to do now?

After equipping your party in the safety of the city walls, it is time to do your first exploring. You might take a coach to some other city, but this will not change much in the beginning. Though you should note that different cities do sell different things and it is a cheap way (in terms of AP) of travelling around the world.

An important decision before setting out: signing the Book of Blood or not. Signing it allows you to kill other players that signed the Book; not signing prohibits you from any offensive action against other players. The point is: when you sign it, you can never unsign it. The Book may be real fun for a while but when you will be trying to improve your party, the continuous attacks of others who have signed the Book'll annoy you and will often lead to the loss of one or more characters, possibly the whole party. Our advice is: if you want to play Strive for Power a long time, clear dungeons, find magic items, get more characters in your party and all the other goals there are, don't sign it, ever. If you just want to kill some other people by the hands of some Dwarves combined with an Elf flashing fire bolts, then you should sign it. That is not to say it is impossible to survive having signed the Book of Blood, one just needs to be more careful.

Another important issue is the Notoriety. As you know you can recruit characters of four races: logically, would you want attack Elves when you have an Elf in your party, not really? Therefore, whenever you attack and/or kill people of the good races you notoriety will increase. When you have notoriety all of the good races will attack you on sight until your notoriety is 0 again. The only way that notoriety reduces to zero again is by having your party wiped out or over time, eventually your notoriety will drop back to zero and the good races will have forgotten your indiscretion. If you do inadvertently attack elves, men, hobbits or dwarves then the best thing is to wait. Let your AP's increase and over time your notoriety will decrease. Our advice: don't harm the forces of the good they are on our side!

There is one more thing that you should check before exploring the wilderness and that is your combat settings. Here you can alter the spells you will cast in a combat situation, who fights at the front of your party and who fights in the back row as well as your retreat levels. Setting a high retreat level means that you will run away quickly and may miss out on some treasure, but it also increases your chance of survival.

So got your party ready, itching to explore the world, and to be honest that is the first thing you should do. In the wilderness there are groups of good creatures, other parties and groups of monsters. The first thing to do is to get a little experience in the wilds and build up the strength of your party a little. However, be warned and tread carefully, within the Locations Command screen you can select which direction to travel from the city by clicking on one of the eight squares around you. Within those squares are two numbers. The first is the number of AP's that it will take to move there and the second is the number of creature groups that are within that square. Below the map you can identify what those groups are. Some creatures are hostile and will attack you as soon as you move into the square, others are neutral and will only fight back if attacked, luckily Giants and Trolls are neutral and as a starting party it is not a good idea to hunt them, wolves are also neutral, they have no treasure but they will give you combat experience. A second word of caution is that numbers count, do not move into a square with five groups of hostile creatures until you are sure you can survive, and be wary even of a single group of creatures if there are a lot of them. Kobolds, Goblins and Orcs are fairly easy. Pixies and Sprites can deal significant damage in the magic phase of combat but after that can be beaten, don't pick large groups of them though. Wait until you are strong enough to tackle some of the tougher creatures that can be found such as Dragons, Elementals and Dark Dwarves (though these are not normally found outside). You may also find a route to the new world; this is populated with tougher creatures and is not worth the 500AP for a starting player that it costs to get there.

When you defeat creatures you may pick up treasure, this will almost always be in the form of gold but you may also pick up the odd item or two. Sometimes you might defeat a group of monsters that have previously defeated a careless party in which case the pickings are rich indeed. If you do lose a party member to a group of monsters, as long as only one group retreated at the end of the combat then you will be able to recover the lost items in a further attack or will have collected them yourself.

At the end of each combat it is worth checking how much damage you took and what items you collected and whether you can use them. Each item adds to the weight load of your characters but is worth keeping as they can be sold again in the cities for money. Check the weight load of each character and if your mage is carrying plate armour, it might be worth transferring it to a fighter (in Item management). You can heal your wounds in two ways, either by resting (which recovers 1 HP and 1MP per character for every 2 AP's spent) or by a healer casting a heal spell. As you move around the wilderness you will also recover MP and HP but at a slower rate, normally 1HP per four AP's spent. Of course if you return to a city you can rest in an inn, which gives a one for one recovery rate.

Of course you also want to increase your skill levels, just doing the fighting itself doesn't increase it, you need to train. Selecting the Train option will cost you 50AP's, note how many successes you have, you may find it worth waiting longer and longer between training to maximise the 50AP's spent on it. At higher levels people will normally only train once per session, but in the early days it can be worth training quite regularly.

After a time, when your characters at least have a basic experience in combat, it may be time to visit places where there are loads of those creatures to kill and loads of loot to get. How do you find these places? Maybe you'll randomly wander into one, maybe one of the more experienced players will tell you. The normal way is to gather rumours in a city. When in a city, let one of your characters with high streetwise skill ( and if your mage has it, cast the spell :"improve streetwise skill") to gather rumours. Write the rumours down and go and check them out, locations may not be entirely correct: if you don't find the place immediately, check some of the nearer locations. This is where it is worth using the coaches and boats to get around the world, although there is a cost, normally 10 gold per character, it is a far faster method of travel.

A dungeon will be even more dangerous than outside in the plains. In the beginning don't enter any dungeon that is not one of the four weakest races. In the Ancient Castle, zombies and ghosts may be fun but they also mean certain death. When in a dungeon, always keep a close eye on your characters hp's and mp's. Rest often, very often and take enough spell components with you (in dungeons you won't find many herbs only as loot on killed monsters).

Here we stress another point: having a Magus in your party is often fun, very often. But a Magus without spell components is like a Dwarf withoud beard: funny but useless. You can buy components in cities or you can try to find them yourself. The best place to do that is on the plains (hills and forests are more difficult, mountains and deep forests even more). When on the plain, let your char with the highest herblore skill (if possible cast the spell "improved herblore skill") gather herbs. After gathering, give the herbs to your Magus. If you have more than one Magus you can share the components out within the Item Management page.

Hopefully, one day you'll enter a city after returning from a successful campaign: your characters will be bending under the weight of monster body parts and items. Now, what to do with these? In each city one kind of MBP can be sold (you are rewarded for it), also there are more advanced quests that demand different body parts as well as some spell components. These will pay a load more but for most you need parts of creatures that aren't easy to kill as a beginning party, they are worth checking as not all city quests need the parts of dangerous creatures. When you come to exchange your MBP it is worth keeping around ten back, just so you are later able to complete one of these quests.

The weapons and armour you have found on dead bodies of monsters can be sold in the city too. The best way to do it: first check your characters equipment, maybe you have weapons you might want to give them: giving a warrior a 2-handed battle axe instead of a battle axe or giving a composite bow to a ranger. When all things your characters need are equipped, pool the remaining items to the char with the highest haggling skill by using the pool non-magic items in the IM. After pooling, if you can, cast the improved haggling skill spell on that char, go to the LC and the sell stuff command. Then use the multi-sell order to sell all the stuff. Won't give you that much, but all gold is useful. A word of advice, check your equipment list and make sure that none of the items gathered is magic. Any item that is magic will have "no" under the identified column. Make sure the character doing the multi-sell order does not hold it. I often pool all magic items (identified and not identified) to a different character before starting to sell.