Newbie Guide

This page is for people who may have already begun playing, or have played other similar MUDs - essentially, if you already know the basic commands, how to attack things and communicate with people, than you're in the right spot. If you're new to mudding in general, I suggest you check out the beginner guide first -- it'll guide you through the process of character generation and taking your first steps in the MUD world.

But for now, I'll explain how to get started in DSL and a few tips and tricks to get started.



1. What should I make?
When making a new character, I am always fond of warriors - they level very quickly, get some neat skills and spells, and are flexible enough to deal with a wide variety of situations. Warriors aren't quite the dueling or player killing machines (mostly) that many of the other classes are, but they are still an excellent starting point and are much less frustrating to level early-on than the other classes. Warriors start out with the highest 'thac0' (to hit armor class zero) than the other classes, which means that they will 'miss' their attacks a lot less.



2. I made a <class>. What now?
Next on the list is actually leveling. Leveling is pretty easy, especially early on. You will find yourself in an area called "mud school" which is a feature on almost every MUD out there. Essentially, MUD school acts as a guide for you to get used to the different things in the game, such as walking around and looking at things. Type "look sign" when you're in a room and you'll usually get a hint or two about different stuff.

DSL has a new and revamped MUD school. If you can read simple directions, it will walk you through all of the simple commands and eventually you will reach a trainer. You get 5 training points (trains) to spend when you first create, and gain 3 more each time you level. When you type "score" you'll see all your attributes (such as strength, dexterity, etc.) and each of those can be added by 2 permanently each time you train it. You can only train something up to your 'racial maximum', which you can find out at the chart on the 'Boost/Gimp/Stats' page or by typing help racial in-game.



3. Okay, what should I train/practice?
The first step is to get your "leveling stats" as high as possible. What's a leveling stat? Con and Int, mostly, and Wis to a lesser extent. Con is the most important thing to train to maximum, as a higher con will boost your hitpoints gained each level and by the time you are high-level you'll have a lot more than if you didn't train con. So: train con as much as possible, then you'll want int to a reasonable level, and finally wis. Wis is slightly different; it determines how many practices you get per level. You get 3 practices under 40 wis, 4 practices from 40-70 wis, and 5 practices above 70 wis. There's no real reason to raise it above 40 wis if your maximum is below 70, so save wisdom to train last once it's at 40 or higher. After that, each level you will want to raise dex and str fairly high, while mixing a train or two here and there into HP or Mana (HP especially is good).

Addendum: I recommend that you use clan-justice.com/calc to view the maxxed stats of your race/class. I personally (not the wiki-author) recommend you never train your HP until ALL of your stats are maxxed out. Usually it would go in this order: Con Int Wis (Str/Dex), then the rest into HP. However, if you are playing a giant ogre (barbarian is a great reclass), instead of putting all your trains into HP after that, I recommend spending only 2 trains on HP, and convert 1 train into practices. This will make it a LOT easier to practice all of your skills.

As for practices, you'll more than likely want to practice your (1) starting weaponskill to 75% (axe, mace, etc) and then (2) your defense skills to 75% (dodge, parry, shield block). Since mage/cleric classes don't get parry/dodge/shieldblock until very high levels, you can instead put your practices into spells like magic missile. More int also means more % when you prac a skill, so get that nice and high too!



4. Improve System
DSL skills and spells are mastered via the Improves System. "help improve" will give you a basic idea. Generally speaking, once you have practiced (via practice points) a skill up to 75%, you will then Improve that skill up to 100%. This improvement takes place whether you are online or offline (at a reduced rate). Depending on your class, skills and spells improve at different rates. You want to improve difficult, time-consuming skills online, as there are bonuses for improving online that will speed up the process. Spells and easy skills are best improved offline to be efficient. Most players 'switch improves' before they log out.

Magic-users in the Conclave can practice spells to 85% before needing to use improve.



5. Okay, now I wanna kill stuff.
Killing stuff is easy and fun for the whole family. From the practice/train rooms keep going north into the arena. You'll find yourself in large area where you can go north/south/east/west/down/southwest/etc -- each of these rooms has various monsters and NPCs in them. Explore, kill them and take their stuff! You can 'wear all' when you have a bunch of MUD school gear, but the stuff is generally garbage and there's not a lot of point in wearing it beyond looks. Each wandering NPC has a different 'style' of equipment, but they are all essentially sub-issue.

The ultimate goal of MUD school is to find and acquire the MUD school diploma. This item grants you +4 to Con and Wis, which will help with your stats and levelling. Regardless of what you do, once you reach level 6 you can no longer move around the MUD school and must recall and find greener pastures.



6. Hurray, I leveled. Where do I go after I'm level <#>?
There are lots of places to level in DSL (though most people call it 'training', which is also In Character - more on that later).

You can check the maps for each area as well as see the stats and difficulty of any monster by going here .

Your leveling gains ("You gain X hitpoints and Y mana!") are solely dependant on your constitution, intelligence, and your class. Ie. a warrior will get way more hp but way less mana, generally, than a mage. Mana gains also seem VERY random, so if you're a spellcaster expect to get anywhere from 4 to 40 mana really. If you see someone saying '14/16' or whatnot on a channel it usually means they leveled and got 14 hp and 16 mana. Woo.


7. What's all this RP thing I keep hearing about?
RP stands for 'RolePlay'. It means, essentially, that you act the way your character would act in that situation. This means at the bare bones level that your character would not mozy on up to another character and say 'I gained 12 hitpoints!' or 'I am level 5!'. Game mechanics are considered 'Out of Character'. DSL is an RP mud -- this means people will act how their characters act if they are on In Character channels (such as say, tell, gossip). Generally most people who use tell <person> <thing> put an ooc: in front of their text so people know they are talking OOCly rather than ICly. The difference between OOC and IC is a big one and it's very important to keep the two seperated. You will not hear people talking about the Super Bowl on the gossip channel, nor will you hear people talking about character-related things on the OOC channel.



8. What equipment should I wear?
There is lots and lots of equipment out there, but not a lot of it has very much use. The general lowbie gearset is as follows:
- starlight reflector (level 5, Village of Haon Daran), continual ball of light (level 1, almost any mage/cleric)
- 2 tarnished mithril rings (level 3, Squatter Village), 2 golden dwarven rings (level 7, Dwarven Kingdom)
- 2 academic medals (level 3, Althainia University), 2 hobo cloaks (level 10, Verminasia Shop)
- studded leather boots (level 5, Sub Issue Gladiator Arena)
- swordsmans gloves (level 7, Moria)
- trollskin belt (level 12, Troll Den/Marsh)
- enchanted leather bracers (level 7, forest south of Althainia)
- toy soldiers (level 5, Verminasia Shop)
- mud diploma (level 1, Mud School)
- floating stones (level 5, different colors, Old Thalos)
- crafted weapons (bronze especially are awesome at low levels, far above normal weapons)

Most of these are easy enough for a level 5 or so to get.



9. I don't like killing things. Is there anything else for a low-level newbie to do?
Lots! Well, okay, not -lots- exactly, but there are other things you can occupy your time with. At level 6 you start getting hungry and thirsty -- at level 5 or below you will NEVER get hungry or thirsty, which is nice. What a good thing to do is to "quest" in order to buy yourself a 'decanter of endless water', which is 750 questpoints. QP are very easy to come by; if you're in Althainia, just go all north from recall and you'll find a mob there.. Type 'pq request' and he will send you on either a mob or an item-fetch quest. You can choose a specific type by 'pq request hunt' or 'pq request find'. They both give the same rewards, some gold and some qp.

If the quest is too hard or far away, you can type 'pq clear', which has the unfortunate effect of reducing your QP slightly in the process. You can either clear it, or you can just go do something else and let the timer go down on its own so you don't lose the QP. You can keep track of your current QP by checking your score.

Addendum: I --HIGHLY-- suggest you never quest at low levels. You will be sent to some of THE worst places in the game (as in, you WILL die trying to get there). Wait until at least level 25 to quest, as many of the quests are to very simple places to get to.

If you don't like questing, you can do the best thing in DSL -- find roleplay! The easiest way to find people to roleplay with is to join a Kingdom. A Kingdom is a group of people who generally roleplay together within a specific theme - all Kingdoms are run by certain players and everything is all roleplayed out between them. Each Kingdom has a special "hall" to regenerate in, portals to other continent's ports, a donation pit packed full of equipment, and so on and so forth. See "help kingdom" for a list of them -- but bear in mind that joining a kingdom will probably change the location you 'recall' to, so if you like recalling in Althainia, better join the Althainian kingdom. Most of them require some sort of in-character interview, and a description that's at least 3 lines long.

Most kingdoms require that you have a description to enter and some kingdoms, like Althainia, require that you know their kingdom language which you can buy with QP if your character doesn't already know it. To talk to a recruiter of any kingdom type 'whok rec <kingdomname>' and send someone on that list a tell, then let the ball roll! Remember to stay In Character though!

Otherwise, you can explore, meet strange and bizarre people, experiment with different race/class combos, or whatever you choose to do, really.



10. What's this Pkilling thing I keep hearing about?
Player-killing is a fun aspect of DSL and MUDding in general. Basically, you join a Clan (or loner) and kill other players for fun and profit. Every Clan has fairly strict rules about who and when you can playerkill - see "cinfo <clan>" to get an idea of who they are at war with and can fight. Many of them have restrictions about who can join - Wargar only allows dwarves and muls, while Shalonesti only allows elves, and Conclave only allows various mages. Type "help <Clan>" in-game for more info one each one.

If you die to another player, it's not the end of the world -- usually they will just run off before some other high-level character runs in and butchers them. Either way you have 5 ticks to head back to where you died and grab your stuff from your corpse anyway. You also don't lose any XP for dying, so it's really not such a big deal at all.

Some reminders:
- You should only loner or join a clan at level 25. Any level before that and you are still rather weak and few clans will let you in.
- Improve your defense skills before joining the PK game. Dodge, parry, shield block MUST be fairly high (at least 85-90).
- If you're outside of your clan hall, always have detect hidden and detect invis, if you can. There are potions of both of these out and about, so use them! Having your stuff stolen by a thief or having an invisible mage getting the drop on you can be lame.
- Put your valuables in a container (like a backpack) and if you think a thief might be around, wear the backpack. Thieves cannot steal stuff out of containers you are wearing.
- Many pkillers will check the often-used leveling areas and kill players who are there in their range. Keep an eye out if you're in a well-traveled zone.
- Learn the areas well! Especially learn how to leave the area blind or cursed, because at some point someone will cast these on you. If you are uncursed, you can flee combat and cast 'word of recall' to hop immediately to your recall bindstone.
- Let your clan (if you have one) know where you are by using the clan channel. Remember, this is In Character!
- You can flee combat by typing 'flee' over and over until it works, then hit ~ (the key to the left of the 1, hold shift or it'll be a ` ). Using the tilde ~ cancels all the commands you've inputted but haven't kicked in yet, so you don't get spammed with "You are not in combat!" after you land a flee.
- Type 'nofollow' so high-level players can't follow you around, leading your enemies right to you. Use 'nocancel' so they also can't cancel all your spells as you're trying to fight someone.
- Stay sanced! STAY SANCED! STAY SAAAAANCED! Use chunky potions or your own sanctuary spell to stay sanctuaried. This spell gives a whopping 50% resistance to all damage. Keep it on at all times! Defense stance ('stance def') will also help your staying power if you get jumped by someone who hits hard.
- Many Clanners are very experienced players. Don't get discouraged as a newer player; you are facing people who, in many cases, have played DSL for a very long time.



11. I am having trouble leveling. What should I do?
First thing is that pets no longer make you lose XP for having them with you. You can buy a pet in Althainia by going to recall, 3 south, 2 east, north. This pet shop lets you buy a 'charmie' that will follow you around and help you fight things. Buy one! There's no downside to doing so except a small loss of gold.

If you're a mage, practice wands. Then, quest a while to stockpile some gold (you get like 90gp a quest!), then go 2s, 3w, n, 2 from Althainia recall and you'll find a magic shop. Here, you can buy 'small energy wands' and use these to 'zap' monsters for some decent damage. Try them on the cows in Nomad Village for fairly easy XP.

If you're not a mage, try finding (1) some +damroll gear (toy soldiers, golden dwarven rings, studded boots) (2) +hitroll gear (enchanted leather bracers, hobo cloaks) and (3) a crafted weapon. Craft weapons deal way, way more damage than any other weapon in the same level range. Easiest to level are warriors, then thieves, then clerics and mages at first.

A new change in coding allows for no experience penalty for grouping with others within your pk range (8 levels above or below you), so if you need help training you can always ask your fellows! Now, this only applies if there are no other members in your group that share your class/reclass type. So, if you are a warrior, you want to train with clerics, crusaders, druids, mages, bards or thieves, etc. You do NOT want to train with other warriors, rangers, armsmen or swashbucklers, since they are warrior reclasses. Using the gossip channel to ask for a training partner sometimes yields results, but a lot of people turn off the gossip channel for various reasons. But there's still hope! Sending a polite tell to someone within your grouping range asking for help is also a viable option!



12. What's Reclassing? When should I do it?
Reclassing is a fun thing that lets you change your class to an entirely new one. Instead of a warrior you can turn into a barbarian or a ranger or a swashbuckler! All classes have very neat reclasses. Generally, though, reclasses are expensive in terms of xp per level and are fairly specialized; a warrior is very flexible while a ranger or a barbarian are much less so, but still powerful in their own right. Assassins, for example, are a thief reclass but can no longer steal from people.

In most cases, a reclass also has worse hitpoints and mana gains than non-reclasses. When you reclass it takes about half of your current HP and Mana.. in all what this means is that if you reclass when you are non-reclass and level 51 (like a level 51 dark elf mage) you will have a lot more hitpoints and mana when you are reclass 51. You -can- reclass at level 10, but it's generally not recommended- level 11 is better because you can train your stats one level further, yet still go back to level 5 so you get a free level's worth of gains. The only classes you should reclass at level 11 are barbarians, crusaders, skalds, and probably shaman. Everyone else gets better gains if you reclass at 51.

Of course, you don't *have* to reclass at 51. You can reclass whenever you want! Of course, it's also -very- hard to level some reclasses before a certain time, like enchantors don't get animate object until level 15. Since most reclasses are high K per level.. well, it can be very long and tiring. Some people prefer to make their pre-reclass 1000 xp per level, then fly up the levels and reclass ASAP. You can do this too.. but you will find it sucking pretty bad when you have barely any skills and at first no friends to help you along.



13. FANQs (frequently asked newbie questions)
Q: How do I get out of Mud School?
A: Type "recall" or "/". This will bring you to your bindstone or starting city.

Q: How do I get back into Mud School?
A: Type "recall" or "/". Then find your nearest bindstone, and go up.
From Althainia, you can go recall, 2 south, 6 east, then up.

Q: What does <skill> do? There's no help file for it.
A: Well, some of the help files are unfortunately out-of-date. The best bet is to ask someone on the Ask or Newbie channels.

Q: The trainer near my recall won't let me train here anymore! / I can't go back into mud school to train!
A: Each class has its own trainer in or around each of the cities in DSL.
To find your trainer you can go here: Class Trainers

Q: Why did my XP per kill suddenly go down so much?
A: Once you pass level 5 or so, you need "hours" in order to gain the maximum amount of experience per kill. You require 3 hours for every 1 level in order to be fully efficient at it -- which means at level 10 you need 30 hours to get full benefits for XP. You can always kill stuff that's higher level in order to get more XP, but you'll still get more if you have enough hours. The best way to gain hours, of course, is to go out and spend some time roleplaying!

Q: I want to level with my friend. Can I do that?
A: Yes, you can type 'group' and see who is in your current group. If someone follows you and are within 8 levels above or below, typing 'group <person>' will add them to your group and you both share the XP you get for killing stuff.

Q: I have a great idea to improve the game/change the game!
A: Great! Hurray! Post it on the forum suggestion board. You can find the forums here: http://www.dsl-mud.org/forum/default.asp

Q: How do I read notes/stories/histories/etc?
A: The main commands are <thing>, <thing> list, <thing> read <number>, and <thing> catchup, where <thing> is either 'storyn', 'news', 'oocn', 'note', 'anote', 'history', 'qnote', or 'storyn'. For example, 'storyn' by itself will read the next unread story note, while 'storyn list' will show them all. Type "catchup" by itself to make every note on all boards marked as having been read.

To write on one of these, use <thing> to <person> (or <thing> to all), <thing> subject <text>, <thing> ++ (which brings you into a text editor - leave it by typing @ on a blank line), then <thing> post. You must be level 6 to post notes, however.
For example, I could type this to tell people I hate them:
oocn to all
oocn subject I am going away!
oocn ++
I hate you all! :(
@
oocn post

Q: This guide sucks! You didn't answer my question!
A: Ouch. Well, I don't have -all- the answers. More often than not you will find a lot of helpful people on the newbie and ask channels, though-- use ask <text> or newbie <text> to ask them questions.

Addendum: Please, please, please, PLEASE, do NOT think that people are going to label you as a "noob" and treat you like dirt if you ask a "stupid" question. NO ONE will do that, and if they do, they -will- meet a nothing-to-scoff-at punishment. People are almost always happy to explain things to you and help you play the unending adventure that is Dark and Shattered Lands.