Combat and Experience

Experience in Asheron's Call is earned, in part, through combat with opponents, using either weapons or magic spells. This chapter will deal with combat, using weapons, and raising attributes and skills by applying the experience points you earn. To learn how to fight opponents using magic, see Chapter Seven, "Magic in Acheron's Call," and "On Thaumaturgy" at the end of that chapter. To learn about the finer points of combat, weapons, and armor, read "The Way of Steel" at the end of this chapter.

Wielding Weapons

The principal types of weapons available to a player character are axes, bows, crossbows, daggers, maces, spears, staffs, swords, thrown weapons, and punching weapons. To wield a weapon effectively, you should have training in the appropriate weapon skill. If you want to excel as a blademaster, for example, you would want a high number for your Sword skill. The only exceptions are punching weapons, which use the Unarmed Combat skill. A new player character enters the world either with practice weapons pertinent to the weapons skills chosen during character creation, or with training in Unarmed Combat. A character who specializes in Unarmed Combat begins the game with a punching weapon (a katar, nekode, or cestus).

The practice weapon does less damage and has a slower speed than weapons you can buy from vendors. It is, however, bonded to you and will not be lost if you die. Depending on your particular weapon skill, your character probably won't begin the game with enough money to buy a better weapon, so the first thing you'll want to do is learn how to fight. Much of the treasure you'll encounter will be taken from the corpses of vanquished opponents, so you'll need to learn how to attack targets and loot corpses before you can begin saving for your first real sword, axe, or other weapon. The easiest place to practice combat is the training hall that will be directly in front of you when you first enter the game world. Go through the spinning purple portal near the building with the four tall spires and follow the instruction signs until you're ready to leave and gain real combat experience in the world outside.

Your character can fight with many different weapons, but may wield only one weapon at a time. To wield a weapon, drag it to the Weapon slot at the lower right of your Character Image on the Inventory panel. Your character will automatically use the weapon that is wielded when he or she attacks. If no weapon is wielded, your character will attempt to use unarmed combat.

Melee Weapons vs. Missile Weapons

Melee weapons such as swords, daggers, axes, and maces, are for close-quarters fighting. Missile weapons are effective at longer ranges. These include bows and crossbows, and thrown weapons such as throwing daggers, javelins, and shoukens.

Bows and crossbows require ammunition; arrows for bows and quarrels for crossbows. Some of this ammunition can be recovered after combat, but the rest is consumed and must be replaced.

The range of missile weapons varies. To learn the range of the weapon, appraise it.

If you are wielding a bow or crossbow, you will also need to ready ammunition. To ready ammunition, drag it to the Ammunition slot next to the Weapon slot. When your character attacks, he or she will automatically prepare arrows or quarrels when attacking.

Wearing Armor

The purpose of armor is to protect your character from damage caused by opponents' attacks. Each piece of armor has an armor level that determines how effectively it absorbs damage.

In general, the lighter the armor is, the lower the armor level. Leather armor is very light compared to plate mail, but does not have a very high armor level. Plate mail affords much better protection against opponents' attacks, but its weight may make it impractical for a character who does not have great physical strength.

To wear a piece of armor, drag it to your Character Image. You will not be able to wear armor that covers an area that is already covered by another piece of armor. To remove armor, drag it from your Character Image to your Inventory.

Appraising Weapons and Armor

By appraising a weapon or armor, it is possible to find out important information. For a weapon, for example, you'll see the amount of damage it does, the type of weapon skill it uses, the type of damage is does (such as slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning), its weight, its speed, and its range if it is a missile weapon such as a bow. For armor you'll see the item's value, armor level, weight and types of damage it protects from. Knowing this information will help you decide which weapon or armor is best for your character against specific opponents.

To appraise a weapon or armor, click the item, and then click the Examine button.

If your appraisal is successful, you'll see detailed information about the weapon or armor in an Examine panel. Characters who are trained or specialized in Appraise Weapon or Appraise Armor will have a higher percentage of successful appraisals on these types of items, respectively. Even if your appraisal is unsuccessful, you'll see some information on the weapon or armor.

Player killers (PKs) are player characters who have undergone conversion at the Altar of Bael'Zharon so that they can kill and be killed by other player killers. They appear as red blips on your Compass.

When a player killer dies, the character may lose more items and pyreals than would a comparable nonplayer killer.

To become a player killer, find the Altar of Bael'Zharon in the game and double-click it. To convert a player killer back into a nonplayer killer, the character must find and double-click the Altar of Asheron. For the conversion to be successful, the character must not have killed another for a certain period of game time.

Using Shields

Shields also protect a character from damage. Each shield has a shield level, which works like an armor level, but protects the entire character from frontal attacks. Shields provide no benefit against attacks from the rear. In general, larger shields have higher shield levels, but they are also heavier.

Fighting with a shield can be tiring: attacking while wielding a weapon and a shield drains more Stamina than attacking with the same weapon alone. The heavier a shield, the greater the Stamina drain.

Some weapons, such as bows and crossbows, require two hands to use; a character cannot use a shield while wielding them.

To wield a shield, drag it to the Shield slot at the lower left of your Character Image on the Inventory panel. The shield will appear in the character's left hand.

Finding Opponents

The world of Dereth is full of opponents on which to practice your combat and magic skills. Keep your eye on your Compass as you travel, watching for the orange blips that signify monsters. Ask other players for the best places to find something to fight, or buy rumors from the local barkeep or other vendors about the locations of nearby dungeons or ruins.

Attacking

Your character must be in combat mode in order to attack an opponent. To enter combat mode, click the button with the dove located below the Inventory panel. The button will change to show an axe and shield if you are wielding a melee weapon or no weapon, or to a bow and arrow if you are wielding a missile weapon. A Combat Bar will appear at the bottom of the View Window. You can use this to control your attack.

To attack

1 Wield a weapon by dragging it to the Weapon slot, and if necessary ready ammunition by dragging it to the Ammunition slot.

2 Click the button with the dove to enter combat mode.

3 Click to select the opponent you want to attack, and then on the Combat Bar click High, Medium, or Low to choose an attack height.

To automatically repeat your previous attack against the same opponent, select the Repeat Attacks check box. To automatically target opponents, select the Auto Target check box. Click another attack button as soon as an opponent is selected.

When you have defeated that opponent, the nearest remaining opponent will be targeted automatically.

Power vs. Speed

The horizontal bar with the slider is the Attack Power Bar. Drag the slider to the left for more speed or to the right for more power. Attacking with more speed means your character delivers more blows, but each does less damage. Attacking with more power means your character delivers fewer, but more damaging blows. The more power in an attack, the more Stamina it requires. When attacking at full power, watch your character's Stamina carefully.

In missile combat, you choose between speed and accuracy rather than speed and power.

Defending

You automatically defend yourself during combat, attempting to evade your opponent's attacks. Training and attributes determine how well your character defends against attack. A character trained or specialized in Melee Defense or Missile Defense skills will more easily avoid the blows or missiles of opponents. These skills are based on your character's Coordination and Quickness attributes, as well as training.

Knowing Yowr Opponents

Before you fight an opponent, it's important to know what chance you stand of surviving the encounter. When you select your target, its name will appear in the Selected Item box, along with a "health indicator" that shows the present state of that target's health. To assess an opponent in order to see even more detail, click the opponent or its blip on the Compass, and then click the Examine button. If your assessment is successful, you will see detailed information about the opponent's level, attributes, and current Health, Stamina, and Mana. Even if your assessment is not successful, you'll see the opponent's level and current health percentage. Characters who are trained or specialized in Assess Creature will have a higher chance of successful creature assessments.

While in combat, watch the health indicator below the Player panel to see how much effect your attacks are having on your opponent. If your opponent is causing you more damage than you are causing it, it may be time to run rather than fight on, or to retreat out of range long enough to regain lost Health and Stamina.

Lilitha's Bow

Lilitha's Bow

In the first years of the Aluvian people's freedom, the huntress Lilitha roamed the Tiofor Wood, living the vagabond's life. Renowned as an exceptional shot, Lilitha—so the legends say—could kill a Shreth running at a full gallop with a single arrow. Such feats owed at least as much to her finely crafted bows as to her skill as an archer.

Lilitha was capricious by nature, however, and seldom held on to a bow for long. She would no sooner finish making one before starting to carve another, better weapon; when she finished making a new bow that satisfied her exacting needs, she would leave the old one behind. It is said that some of her earlier bows, which are both quicker to draw and stronger of pull than those to be found in common bowyers' shops, can still be found in the wood.

Cuirass of the Green Mire Warrior

Cuirass of the Green Mire Warrior

The Green Mire Warrior was a mysterious Sho spearman who was known for his bravery. He would fight powerful foes with reckless abandon, and would often laugh while doing so, even when his wounds were grievous and death seemed certain. He is a central figure in many Sho stories and songs, but even so, he remains an enigmatic figure, clad in armor the color of polished jade, wielding his yari with a master's skill.

The Green Mire Warrior per-ished—in battle, of course—some years ago in the swamps north of Shoushi. He was buried with his armor and spear, but robbers have since looted his grave. Much of his regalia has not been seen since, but some pieces have been found. One such item, a cuirass of yoroi armor said to be as light as leather and enchanted to protect the wearer from acid, passed from one vagabond or warrior to another for years, but has disappeared again in the Blackmire Swamp. It would be a fine prize for the adventurer who recovered it.

Looting Vanquished Opponents

Many of your opponents will be carrying pyreals or other treasure that you can take when you defeat them. To see what a vanquished opponent was carrying, double-click the corpse to display the corpse's inventory at the bottom of your View Window. To take an item, double-click it. After a time, the corpse will vanish, leaving behind everything not already taken.

If more than one character fought the same opponent, the corpse will be protected for a short period of time, giving the character who did the most damage the first opportunity to loot the corpse. After the protection time is up, or after that character closes the corpse's inventory, other characters can take any treasure that remains.

Trophies

Some opponents have trophy items such as tails, wings, charms, or spines, which can be sold to collectors. These items are relatively rare and valuable. If you give these items to collectors, you may receive gold for some and potions for others. Still others can be made into weapons or armor by certain special collectors. Not all collectors are interested in the same items, and not all will pay for all items, though they will accept them as gifts. You'll want to become familiar with a number of collectors, what they buy, and what they pay.

Damage

When in combat, both you and your opponent do damage to one another. The type of damage done depends on the type of weapon(s) being used. Spears, for example, do piercing damage, while maces do bludgeoning damage. Some opponents are more susceptible to certain kinds of damage. To see what kind of damage a weapon does, appraise the weapon.

Damage taken in combat takes points from your current Health. When your Health reaches zero for any reason, your character dies.

Death, Resurrection, and Lifestones

When a player character dies, he or she is immediately resurrected, either at the last Lifestone used or at the place the character first entered the game if no Lifestone has been used. Using a Lifestone expends half your character's present Stamina.

A Lifestone is a large blue crystal to which a player character attunes his or her spirit in order to be resurrected at that spot. There are Lifestones near towns and outposts, and others can be found in remote areas. To attune your character's spirit to a Lifestone, doubleclick the Lifestone.

Vitae Penalty

When your character dies and is resurrected, your Vitae, or life force, is temporarily drained. This reduces your secondary attributes (Health, Stamina, and Mana) and skills. Each subsequent death reduces your Vitae down to a limit determined by your character level. The higher your character level, the more your Vitae can be reduced. As you earn experience through adventuring, your Vitae will gradually be restored. While your Vitae is reduced, you will see a yellow and red starburst in the upper-right portion of the game screen. Click the starburst to see your current Vitae..

Recovering Health

Health can be recovered most easily by resting your character. Health points are regained fastest if your character is sitting or lying down, but are also regained, although at a slower rate, when standing, walking, or running. Some food and drink will also restore Health, as will some spells and potions.

Healing Kits

If your character has trained or specialized in the Healing skill, you can use a healing kit to restore Health lost due to combat or other injury. These kits can be bought from vendors or found in the game world, and can be used on your character or other characters in the game. If your character is trained in the Healing skill, he or she will begin the game with one or more healing kits. Characters with high Healing skills are more likely to be successful at healing attempts.

Healing kits come in five grades, from crude to peerless. Higher-grade kits are more likely to restore higher numbers of Health points when healing attempts are successful, but they cost considerably more. As with all other items, prices of healing kits vary from vendor to vendor.

To use a healing kit

  • Double-click the kit in your Inventory, and then click the character you want to heal.
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Silifi of Crimson Stars

Wari al-Sha'im was a follower of the nobleman Musansayn, and helped the renowned leader stake out a homeland among the mesas and dunes of western Osteth. When peace came, however, Wari chose to leave: he had been a fighting man for nearly forty years, and could live no other life. He bade his master farewell and struck out across the trackless sands of the A'mun Desert. He took only a few possessions with him: his scale armor, his shield, and the Silifi of Crimson Stars.

The Silifi was an ancient artifact from the Gharu'ndim homeland, having once belonged to the Malika Ladriya bint Daum. Known by its scarlet markings, it was swift and sharp, and it crackled with the electricity of a slumbering storm. Wari won it from a renegade Shayk in his youth, and carried it with him all his life. He is said to have lost the weapon at last in a dungeon deep beneath the sands, where he finally met his doom. The Silifi surely remains in those depths, awaiting a new wielder with the courage to bring it back to sunlit lands.

BrAMitVs Blazing Staff

The mage Branith was a sorcerer who fought, for a time, alongside Thorsten Cragstone himself. His chosen magic was pyromancy, the way of fire: his foes often met their ends in raging infernos that left nothing but ash in their wake. It was only right, then, that the staff he wielded would evoke flames as well.

The Blazing Staff, an Empyrean artifact shaped of sunstone, became famous among wizards across Dereth. Though not the mightiest such item, the eminence of its wielder would make it a grand addition to any mage's arsenal. Unfortunately, its location is not known. Branith has since given up adventuring to live a life of quiet seclusion in the mountains, but he no longer owns the staff: it, and several other items of power, were stolen from his home by mites. Perhaps one day, some intrepid soul will find it again.

You will see a message in the Chat and Events log telling you if your healing attempt was successful and how many Health points were restored.

Improving Your Character by Applying Experience Points

Experience in Asheron's Call is earned, in part, through combat, whether with weapons or magic. The more difficult an opponent is to defeat, the greater number of experience points your character gains for defeating it. Experience points can be spent to raise the levels of your attributes, trained skills, and specialized skills. After character creation, attributes can be raised only by spending experience points. Most skills that are trained and specialized, however, can also be raised just by using them. In general, the more you use a trained or specialized skill, the higher that skill will become. If you want a skill to rise faster than it will from practice alone, you can spend experience points to raise it.

How you apply your experience points to skills and attributes is important to your character's success in the game world. Each attribute governs a different area of your character's interaction with the game, and which ones you will want to develop depends upon your character's profession or area of specialization. Strength and Endurance, along with weapon skills, for example, are most important for warriors and blademasters. Quickness and Coordination, along with Bow or Crossbow skills are most important for archers, and Focus and Self, along with Arcane Lore, Mana Conversion, and the appropriate spellcasting skills, are vital for spellcasters. You will also want to raise your Health, Stamina, and—if your character is a spellcaster—Mana.

To learn more about attributes and skills, and how to raise them during character creation and gameplay, see "Your Attributes and Skills" in Chapter Two.

To raise an attribute or trained skill

1 Click the Skills and Attributes button on the Player panel, and then click the Attributes tab or the Skills tab.

2 Click the attribute or skill that you want to raise.

If you have enough unassigned experience points, you will see an upward-pointing green triangle at the bottom right of the panel.

3 Click the triangle to raise the attribute or skill.

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