How Not To Die Horribly: A Guide For New Characters

  • (I wrote this years ago; a few things have changed… no more accidental port alls and no more Rass, for one... but by and large it all remains the same.)

    CAVEAT: This here is my opinion. Some of it may be wrong, misleading, treasonous, incorrect, infuriating, or prone to spew caustic fumes when mixed with sodium oxide.

    Welcome to Narf! Welcome to the Fugue! Are these two statements interchangable for you? This post can help.

    Avoiding death on Narf is not as hard as you may think. Eventually you're going to wind up in the fugue through plain bad luck, but there's no harm in pushing that unhappy time as far back as possible. With that in mind, there's a few simple ways to live through your newbie stage and on into the mid-levels. All of these are meant more with lvl 1-4 in mind than later levels, but most are pretty good guidelines for any level.

    0 ) Play your character like a person, not an avatar.

    Get into your character's head. Think of them as a separate person from you, with hopes and dreams of their own, not a walking 3D mount for magical weapons. If you're thinking, "It's no big deal if I die, I'll just make a new character," then you're probably going to die.

    You character should be thinking of their death as a big deal, unless they've got a death wish. It's the end of their lives, not the end of a fun hour in front of the computer. Think of the risks from your character's perspective, and you may find you do things a little differently.

    This doesn't mean you should strive for safety at all times. Heroes are brave and often even reckless. But when they leap into the jaws of death, they deserve to know they they're going to die for something that matters... a friend, honor, the town of Norwick... and not five more gold and an extra 15 XP.

    1 ) Never go out alone. Ever.

    I cannot stress this rule enough.

    There are no safe areas to solo on Narfell. If you are between lvl 1-3, going out unaccompanied by at least one companion is asking for death. All it takes is one unlucky spawning placement, one goblin rolling a 20 at the wrong time, one critter that's wandered into the wrong place, and you're dead.

    If you can't find someone to group with, don't go out. Hang out in town, RP, poke around. Log off if it gets too dull. The kobolds will still be there tomorrow. You aren't in a race with anyone to gain levels, gold, and XP.

    2 ) Knowledge is power, and free.

    Never go anywhere without gaining intelligence on it first. High level characters can afford to boldly stride into the unknown. You can't. Fortunately, getting some info is dead easy. Stop by the south fire, or the Jiyyd commons, or wherever the local gathering spot is, and just ask people if they can tell you anything about the surrounding lands. Most Narfers will be happy to talk your ear off about what's out there, where it lairs, what your chances are against it, and how best to avoid death. This has the side benefit of providing RP... and if you aren't on Narf for the RP you won't last anyway, most likely.

    One of the best ways to stay alive is simply not to put yourself in danger to start with. A certain level of risk is a basic fact of Narf... why play if there's no danger? But there's no point in walking blissfully into something that you couldn't handle even if luck favored you. Know your enemy, know the terrain, and you'll live longer.

    3 ) There are no safe areas.

    Norwick is not safe. The interior of the Boarshead is not safe. The only place you can feel safe in is the lobby and player lounge, and even there you still have the chance of a DM accidentally doing a 'port all to Rass'.

    I've seen people drop dead from one wound outside the Boarshead. I've had the first thing that happened to me upon transitioning to the south fire be getting smacked by a fireball and reduced to 4 HP. You are not safe anywhere. Your character can relax and chill out, but you should not. This especially means that you should not feel the leisure to run around town at 'Badly Wounded', waiting for chance to strike you a blow that normally would just wound but instead sends you to the Fugue. Which leads us to...

    4 ) 'Injured' is Narf's way of telling you to go home.

    Unless you are on a DM quest or have no choice, if your health drops to Injured you should make for town or heal yourself. You are now at the point where one run of bad luck will kill you dead. Unless there's a really good reason, it's time to call it a day. What sort of person runs around for fun with gaping wounds?

    5 ) Don't assume other people know what they're doing.

    There is a tendancy of the part of many players to assume that just because someone is higher-level than you, they know what can and cannot be done, and are trustworthy. Don't believe it!

    First of all, someone who appears to you as high level may be a lvl 4 powergamer who logged onto Narf a week or two before you. They may have little more idea than you as to what is safe and what is not, and may have a tendancy to take unacceptable risks. Don't blindly follow someone out unless you've gotten enough of a feel for them trust their judgment.

    Second, even assuming that the high-level PC in question is the paragon of judgment, there is a tendancy for higher-levels to forget just how darn fragile lower-levels are, or not to care. I've experienced this on both ends, from being 1 HP and a potion of Cure Serious away from dying in the South Rawlins, to blissfully leading a lvl 1 barb into Giantspire Pass to play with the Flamestriking ogre shamans. (Hi Jazz!) Part of it is forgetfulness. Part of it is simple unwillingness to tell someone, "Shove off, it's been fun but you're gonna die if you come." Part of it is a chain of trust; High-level is trusted by Mid-level who is trusted by his Low-level friend, resulting in confidence unsupported by coherent information.

    If you're going somewhere that sounds dangerous or unusual, stop and candidly ask your high-level guide if they think you're up to it. If they say no, do both of you a favor and take your leave.

    6 ) You don't have to fight! Yes! If you see a monster, you do not in fact have to charge at it screaming a war cry! You can, in fact, slink quietly off. If battle is going against you and you get that sinking feeling that you can't win, you don't have to stay there and die... you can, in fact, try to run away. Now, sometimes this is more successful a strategy than other times. Running while in combat means you're going to get at least one Attack of Opportunity coming your way. Running while in combat with something that's faster than you is pointless unless you have a way to distract or slow it.

    Many people are rightly reluctant to abandon their comrades. Keep a few things in mind. You all can run, first of all. Second, if you die, they will feel obligated to recover your corpse and/or gear, which increases the danger to them. If you're all in over your heads, you should all run. If someone is down at Badly Wounded and you're at uninjured, charge in and distract the thing while they run, then flee yourself.

    7 ) Communicate with your team and work together. Poor communication and teamwork kills. Before you go out, set the basic objective, designate a team spokesman, and agree to an acceptable split of any and all loot gained. A pledge to divide the loot keeps people from recklessly dashing ahead and leaving themselves open searching bodies; it also lessens resentment over powerlooting. Make sure that everyone understands that the team MOVES AS A UNIT; the team does not split up, or run full tilt through the woods leaving people behind or split off. This behavior kills, and is incredibly aggravating. When leading a party of newbs, I can always tell how successful things are going to be by how much order and coordination they show. If they pull together and stick close, they usually come out of it fine. If they scamper around and dart ahead and jump off the path after everything that looks like an easy target, someone's going to get killed... either the fool who ran off, or someone left behind when the others run to his rescue. One of the low points of my Narfing career was when a group I was in dashed off at full tilt through the South Rawlins for no pressing reason, leaving my character frantically trying to catch up some distance behind in goblin-infested terrain. I was a very unhappy camper.

    8 ) Always bring healing, preferably redundant healing. You should either have a Cleric in your group, a healing potion or two, or both. Each has advantage. A Cleric can save you if you're lying on the ground at negative HP, slowly dying; you can't drink your potion then. Otoh, many times in a fierce melee you'll get down to 2 HP and the cleric will be beset on the other side of the fight, unaware of your plight and unable to get to you quickly even if he did know. Potions are best in this situation. The best solution, of course, is to bring both and use as appropriate.

    I cannot commend enough the practice of carrying an emergency healing potion, even if you have to buy one from Fred at his overinflated prices. Having multiple healing draughts on hand has saved my character's life more times than I can count, and is the single best magical investment I can think of. They are even worthwhile for a Cleric... remember, healing spells can be interrupted and fail, potion-drinking can't.

    9 ) Know your abilities, good and not. Use every trick you have in combat. Educate yourself on what your spells, feats, and class abilities really do. Part of what separates a successful player from a dead player is that a successful one uses all of his tools, and a dead one only uses the most obvious 60%. Knowledge is power. Versatility is power. Power is survival when used intelligently.

    By the same token, learn what you can't do. If your character is not suited for melee combat, don't charge in. If your character can't hit jack with a bow, don't use one. Remember, it is better to be absent than useless, because a useless character must be healed, guarded, and possibly hauled back to town dead.

    Which leads us to something I had to learn myself, even though it was counter-intuitive. If lag is crippling you, say your goodbyes and log off. If you don't, you'll die. Do let people know that this is the case, though; don't make them hang around thinking you just crashed.

    10 ) Show courtesy as a player if not as a character. This isn't really a survival hint, but something I feel strongly about and wish to use as a closing bit of advice. Your character can be a rude, nasty, malicious brute. That's fine. But as a player, you should always try to remain calm, reasonable, and unfailingly polite. Observe the server rules, and ask about them when you are in doubt. When you ask a Player Guide or DM about something, thank them for their time afterwards. Remember that the people playing are often very different than their characters, and try not to develop a dislike for a player based on her character's IC actions. Even if you do dislike a player... it's inevitable; I don't think highly of everyone myself, and I'm sure it's mutual in some cases... do your best to keep it from interfering with the game and other people's enjoyment of the game. Avoiding them is probably the best answer.

    Hopefully someone will find some of this useful. If not, I enjoy hearing myself talk, so it's served a good purpose anyway. 🙂


  • Narfell Developer

    This topic has been moved to the wiki:

  • This is very helpful

  • My hide and MS is up to thirty and I can usually cruise past most critters with no problems. Every now and then however, one will spot me.

    I have double checked to make sure nothing on me is glowing, and I always try to stay away from light sources. The ones that usually spot me are almost always the little guys - the Kobold runt or the goblin shortie. So unless these guys have more than 10 ranks in spot or listem there is either a glitch or monsters do get a crit on a 20 for skill rolls.

  • @deb7a56854=Teringer:

    To second the above opinions with a clincher, even if you're a rogue with a ridiculous amount of hide and ms, it only takes that single 20 to spot your ass and then come and kill you. Invis, haste, or (if you can find them) expeditious retreat.

    Not true, there are not crits on skills. If things sometimes see you check you have no light sources whatsoever, and if you're sure you don't then it was some kind of glitch.

  • To second the above opinions with a clincher, even if you're a rogue with a ridiculous amount of hide and ms, it only takes that single 20 to spot your ass and then come and kill you. Invis, haste, or (if you can find them) expeditious retreat.

  • As has been said, but cannot be stressed enough.

    After healing potions, invisibility potions are probably the best investment you can make to save your bacon in a pinch (if you're outmatched, invisibility is even better than healing).

    A close second would be haste potions (Edit: They are actually called "Potions of Speed") - carry several of both and have them quick-keyed.

    Both have saved my character's skin more times than I can count and are worth every penny.


    P.S. Once you've got them, use them. Because they are somewhat expensive, some people are afraid to use them and wait until the last possible second - sometimes that's too late. It will take you a lot longer to get back your lost level than it will to earn 300 gold for a haste potion - I guarantee it.

  • totally agree… oh and carry an invis potions or 4 always.

    Anyone mind if I sticky this?

  • A few more items for the above list, spurred by recent events:

    1. Do not assume that just because an area is normally an X level area that only X level things will ever spawn there. Once in a while, something tougher than X level PCs can deal with will show up. Be aware of your surroundings, and be prepared to run early.

    2. "Never Go Out Alone, Ever" includes traveling alone to meet up with other people across hostile maps. If you must, pay close attention to where you are and to your surroundings. Always have an escape plan.

    3. Faced with certain death, run. Even if something is faster than you, it will get fewer attacks on you while you are running from it than it would if you were standing and fighting it - and while it will have a better chance of hitting if you are running than if you stand and fight, if you are going to die by standing and fighting, running at least gives you a possibility of escape if you survive a transition.

  • Bumping this for our new players.

  • No point to be a power gamer and try to race for xp and other crap you can't go far unless you've earned your c token anyways… and its better to stick with friends anyways... UNLESS you wantt o move to fug land hey PARTY IN FUGE LAND lets all get killed and just live there for now on... 🙂

  • as a newbie i have to say the info is really helpful

  • I'll add one.

    Don't accept candy from strangers, espicially small ones with large feet.

  • Narfell DM

    I'll add one to thise thread.

    INVISABLITY POTIONS!! most usefull thing in the game

  • Unfortunately they'll have to register for the forums to view this page.

  • Simply beautiful.
    I shrunk the url to this page to and am going to use that to prepare the newbies/lowbies I'm going to take on a tour. Thanks_!_