Overview of Achaean Combat
Note: This page is an overview only.
Achaean combat is extremely complex, and presents a steep learning curve to the new player. It is, however, very rewarding once you begin to master some of its concepts. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of dying to get there though. You'll be crushed time and time again before you figure out why and start to gain the knowledge that will make you capable of fighting back competently.
Don't give up! People are happy to help. Ask on the forums. Ask the combatants in your House. Ask your citymates. Find a combat clan and join it.
And practice, practice, practice!
Speed and Afflictions
Speed in combat is what truly separates the gifted from the merely competent. Being able to reach a decision instantly, in fact, almost sub-consciously, is the hallmark of the skilled. Speed, in this sense, does not mean that you may allow a player to do an infinite number of things as fast as he can hit his macros, however. What we mean by speed is that the intervals that must exist between certain actions (like healing, putting up certain defenses, and performing nearly all offensive abilities) should be short.
For instance, Paladins have an ability that allows them to swing two swords at someone at once. This will unbalance them for approximately 4 seconds, after which they can do it again. Generally, the intervals between offensive abilities, aside from some special ones, will be between 2 and 5 seconds. The intervals between healing things, such as applying salves, eating healing herbs, drinking elixirs, etc, depend entirely on what they do. For example, because players can dish out afflictions quite quickly, most affliction-curing herbs and salves can be taken once a second. An elixir that heals health, on the other hand, can only be taken every 5 seconds or so.
'Give-and-take' is a term I use for lack of a better word. I use it to mean the giving of afflictions and the taking away (healing) of them, or the application of defenses and the taking away of them from your opponent.
By way of example, a Serpent can, every two seconds, bite you with a venom, of which there are about 26 kinds, each doing something different to you. This is and example the giving of afflictions. You would, if you don't wish to die, be healing these afflictions as fast as you can, by eating the proper herbs, smoking the proper herbs, drinking the proper elixirs, applying the proper salves, and other things. This would be the taking away of afflictions.
Now, in order to try and stop the serpent from biting you, you can apply a sileris berry to yourself, which will stop him from biting you, but he can flay it away with his whip, and continue biting you. You can re-apply the berry, but it takes about 5 seconds to take effect, so he will get in a couple bites in the meantime. This is an example of give-and-take as it applies to defenses.
Give-and-take also applies to how we deal with health and mana. Unlike in a AD&D-style game, where you may be wounded seriously and take a long time to become healed, in a fight in Achaea, your health and mana, as well as your various wounds, can be healed very quickly. Generally, unless your opponent is incompetent, your health and mana (health particularly) will swing drastically. You get damaged, you attempt to heal yourself as quickly as possible. You'll see this a lot in the log of a fight I have included at the end of this document.
Balance and EQ
The basis on which Achaea's combat system is built is the idea of limiting how often you can do things like attacking and healing. In Achaea, the main way in which we limit how often you can attack are by using what we call Balance and Equilibrium. In most cases, to perform an offensive ability, you must possess both balance and equilibrium. Balance represents physical balance, while equilibrium represents mental composure.
For example, when you swing a sword, you may be unbalanced for about 4 seconds. While you are unbalanced, you won't be able to attack physically and, in most cases, mentally. Generally speaking, magical abilities use equilibrium while physical ones use balance.
We limit how often you can heal by imposing a sort of 'balance' on various healing methods. For instance, you can only successfully apply a salve to yourself once a second, and you can only eat an herb (with a couple exceptions) once a second. Elixirs that heal your health or mana may only be taken about once every 5 seconds, and the herb that heals health and mana (irid moss) may only be taken about once every 5 seconds.
By using the command PROMPT STATS, you will be able to see whether you have equilibrium and/or balance. If you have them, there will be an e (representing equilibrium) and a x (representing balance) on your prompt.
Health - When you run out, you die. Health is healed through a variety of methods, from drinking elixirs to regenerating tattoos and far more. Your maximum health will go up as you gain levels, as with all your stats.
Mana - Powers most magical and magical-ish abilities. Recover mana through by typing MEDITATE (slow) or by drinking mana elixirs, using a moon tattoo, or a variety of other methods.
Endurance - A stat that changes more slowly over time than Health or Mana do. It measures long-term stamina. Being low on endurance is like just being really tired from a long, punishing workout. Fights between evenly-matched people may come down to who manages their endurance or willpower better. Recovered mainly through time, but there are other methods to accelerate that recovery.
Willpower - Like Endurance, but measures long-term mental stamina. When you're out of Willpower, you won't be able to cast most spells, use most magical abilities, and so on.
Some Classes and Skills
Devotion: This skill is focused largely around alignment and holy shrines which those at the highest levels of this skill can erect. Once a shrine is erected, it can be strengthened or weakened by sacrifice (it is the sacrificer's choice which to do). The more powerful the shrine, the greater the number of locations around it that it holds sway over. Fighting-related abilities in Devotion include Hellsight, which regularly inflicts the recipient with various afflictions, the Rite of Demons, which attacks the health and mana of those standing in the shrine's influence who are also on the list of personal enemies of the person who performed the rite, to the Rite of Piety, which will keep those on your enemies list from leaving the shrine's influence easily. Paladins and Priests get this skill.
Domination: This skill involves the Occultist traveling to the Chaos Plane to secure the services of various Chaos Entities. Once back on the prime material plane, he can summon the entities with whom he has made pacts. These entities will then send minions to assist you. This skill is very offensively oriented. Examples of entities include Hecate, the Mother of the Crones, who sends an old crone to occasionally wither the limbs of your opponent. Marduk will send a soulmaster entity to assist you. The soulmaster will burrow into the soul of your victim, and will allow you, every 4 seconds, to order your victim to do something. Buul, the Chaos Chirurgeon, will send a chimera to you, which serves as a flying steed, as well as an effective attacker. Each of the three chimera heads can attack with a different effect. Occultists get this.
Groves: The ability to create and maintain a sacred forest grove, from which many abilities may be exercised. A Druid in his own Grove is very very dangerous. The combat-type abilities n Groves range from summoning a swarm of bees to assist you, to commanding thorny vines to flay and harm your opponent, to the ability to call a lightning strike down upon anyone in the same forest as you. Druids and Sylvans get this.
Hypnosis: This skill involves hypnotizing a target, implanting various 'suggestions' in the target's mind, and then implanting a prompt word in the target's mind. Whenever the target hears this prompt word, the suggestions (which really are afflictions like claustrophobia, paranoia, vertigo, masochism, agoraphobia, etc), start kicking in every few seconds, continuing until the target figures out the prompt word and says it himself. Serpents get this.
Kaido: This skill, at the lower ends, is mainly defensive, containing defenses that will prevent nausea, allow you to dodge arrows, split your consciousness into two parts to aid in mana regeneration, as well as various other defensive abilities. The offensive part of Kaido involves building up Kai energy, which may then be unleashed on your opponent, doing such things as halving his health and mana, or breaking all his limbs simultaneously. Building up Kai energy works as such: Every time someone on your list of personal enemies performs an attack in the same room as you, you gain a bit of kai energy. How much depends on the strength of the attack. Kai energy slowly drains off, so you must be in the thick of combat for a period of time in order to build up enough to use one of the Kai attacks. Monks get this.
Metamorphosis: While Groves requires the Druid to be in his or her Grove to use the abilities, Metamorphosis allows them to imbue themselves with the spirit of animals from squirrels to a wyvern. Each animal that can be morphed into has a different selection of abilities to use. For instance, with an Icewyrm, you can freeze the ground (making it slippery and difficult to walk on unless you are levitating), or freeze your opponent. You could then morph into a gorilla and Pound your frozen opponent, doing immense damage. Or, perhaps you will morph into a jaguar, and claw your opponent, which requires no setting up, the way that pound does, but does considerably less damage. Druids and Sentinels get this.
Necromancy: A morbid combination of offensive and defensive abilities, the higher abilities are dependent on life essence, which is gained by tearing the hearts from dead players and eating them. Abilities range from the standard occultist attack, decay, which does simple damage, to Gravehands, an ability that summons skeletal hands to help hold your opponent in place, to Vengeance, which will cause bone spears to appear in the air after you die, exploding into shrapnel and doing large amounts of damage to everyone in the room. Perhaps my favourite ability in Necromancy, sheerly for its morbid nature, is Vivisect. Once you have broken or withered all four limbs on your opponent, this ability allows you to kill him in one blow by ripping out his sternum and pinning him to the ground with it. As a nice bonus, the body of the victim stays there for awhile, with a description something like, "The corpse of Frodo is here, impaled by a narrow bone. A note on it reads, 'This is the end of those who would trifle with Sauron.'" Apostates and Infernals get this.
Tekura: Tekura is a martial-arts skill involving punches, kicks, throws, blocks, and different stances. Each of the punching and kicking abilities attack one of six body parts on your opponent (head, torso, left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg). The throws all require that your opponent be fallen on the ground, which can be achieved using a sweep kick. Body parts can be individually damaged, and if damaged enough, the effects are quite severe. For instance, if you damage someone's head enough, they will get a concussion. A concussion gives amnesia every 1 or 2 seconds. Amnesia will cause the next command you enter to be ignored. Monks get this.
Tarot: Each of the Major Arcana tarot cards are represented as abilities in this skill, which contains the ability to inscribe the images on blank cards, using magical ink, and then charge and throw them at people. Imagine Gambit of the X-men, but with the cards doing more than just exploding. Examples of abilities in Tarot are Aeon, which causes a 1 second lag on all of your opponents commands, to Moon, which causes mental afflictions, to Justice, which will cause any damage done by your opponent to also be reflected back onto him. Occultists get this.
Telepathy: Telepathy is a skill used in two ways. Some abilities may be used simply on anyone who happens to be in the same room as you. hese include the ability to give such afflictions as paralysis, confusion (stops you regaining mental balance, also known as equilibrium, if it has been taken away unnaturally), to the powerful MIND BATTER, which stuns your opponent briefly, and gives stupidity, epilepsy, and dizziness to your opponent. The second way in which Telepathy is used is by getting a mind lock on your opponent. Doing this takes some time, but once you have it, you can use any ability you can do without one on your opponent, plus some more powerful ones that require a mind lock. Furthermore, while you maintain a mind lock, it does not matter where you are in relation to your opponent. Monks get this.
Venom: This skill involves the secreting of various venoms from glands that Serpents possess. The venoms range widely in their effects. Camus, for instance, simply does damage, while Darkshade causes allergies to natural light, and Slike gives anorexia to someone, preventing you from eating or drinking anything. As a Serpentlord gets higher in this skill, he will gain the ability to milk his venoms into vials. People with the envenom ability in the weaponry skill can then take these vials and put venoms on their weapons. Each time a weapon strikes someone, the last venom put on will come off the weapon and afflict the person who was struck with the weapon. Serpents get this.
Those, then, are some class-specific skills. However, some other skills also play a large part in combat. For instance, Tattoos, which everyone gets.
Tattoos: Tattoos involves the ability to Tattoo yourself or others with a variety of magical tattoos. Some provide defenses when activated, and some provide offense. For instance, the Boar tattoo (designed in honour of Sarapis' beloved Black Boar) will regularly replenish some health. The Tentacle tattoo will cause a tentacle of Shimite to shoot out of the ground, dragging a flying target down to earth. The Shield tattoo will erect a magical shield around you, which will stop many physical attacks. A counter to that is the Hammer tattoo, which destroys a shield. The Web tattoo will cover a target in sticky webs, holding him fast until he has writhed out.
First of all, it's important for every class to be prepared when going into combat. In fact, it's important to be prepared at all times, as you never know when your nefarious enemy may strike unannounced. Being prepared means having a full set of healing equipment, a partial list of which I'll include below. I will give a brief description of the purpose of each piece of equipment (Note that with the addition of the Alchemist class a couple of years ago, there are alchemical recipes that will produce elements that provide alternate routes to curing the below.)
Elixirs, Salves and their Alchemical Equivalents
Health elixir: Heals health. Drink it. (Vitality)
Mana elixir: Heals mana. Drink it. (Mentality)
Mending salve: Cures broken limbs, among other things. Apply it. (Renewal)
Restoration salve: Cures heavily-damaged body parts. Apply it. (Reconstructive)
Levitation elixir: Makes you levitate, thus avoiding certain low-level obstructions. Drink it. (Hovering)
Immunity elixir: Cures the deadly voyria venom. Drink it. (Antigen)
Venom elixir: Reduces damage from damage-causing venoms. Drink it. (Toxin)
Speed elixir: Increases your ability to dodge physical attacks. (Haste)
Epidermal salve: Cures various afflictions such as blindness, deafness, and anorexia. Apply it. (Sensory)
Caloric salve: Acts as both a defense and a cure to shivering (which robs you of equilibrium), and being frozen, which prevents you from doing many things. (Exothermic)
Frost elixir: Acts as a defense to protect against some fire damage. (Endothermic)
Plants / Herbs and Mineral Equivalents
Now, aside from salves and elixirs, there are a variety of plants and herbs that are necessary in combat. These can be kept in your Rift, which is kind of a magical storage space attached to you that can carry many, many plants and herbs easily. The ones necessary for combat are as follows. Explanations of the various afflictions will be included mostly in a later section. Note that most of these herbs, aside from the ones that are smoked, may be successfully eaten not more than once a second. They have no effect if eaten more often than that. For instance, if I eat a ginseng root, and immediately follow it with a lobelia seed, the lobelia seed will have no effect.
Valerian: When smoked, this cures a couple very nasty afflictions, including disfigurement (which causes any loyal mobiles you have to turn against you), and slickness, which prevents salves from working. (Realgar)
Skullcap: Absolutely indispensable against Paladin and Serpents, this herb will, when smoked, bring up an anti-weapon aura about 6 seconds later. This aura will last until you commit an offensive act. When someone strikes you with a weapon, it will not hurt you, but will rebound back onto the attacker. Of course, there are ways of getting rid of this. (Malachite)
Sileris: You can apply this berry to your body to form a waxy coating which the fangs of Serpentlords cannot penetrate. They are able to Flay this coating from you with their iron-tipped whips. (Quicksilver)
Prickly Ash: When eaten, this cures many sanity-imperiling afflictions, such as dementia and confusion. (Calcite)
Goldenseal: When eaten, this will restore harmony to your body and mind, curing afflictions such as stupidity, epilepsy, and dizziness. (Plumbum)
Kelp: Kelp is full of minerals, and when eaten, strengthens you, curing afflictions such as asthma, clumsiness, and sensitivity. (Aurum)
Lobelia: The lobelia seed cures quite a few mental afflictions such as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, loneliness, masochism, recklessness, and berserking. (Argentum)
Ginseng: The ginseng root is one that, when eaten, can purify your blood, curing such afflictions as hemophilia, allergies to the sun, vomiting, and others. (Ferrum)
Bellwort: The bellwort flower will, when eaten, cure afflictions that might have unnaturally pacified you. Examples of this are pacifism, mercy, and the justice effect. (Cuprum)
Slippery elm: The bark of the slippery elm tree may be smoked to cure a variety of strange afflictions, such as aeon, hellsight, and deadening. (Cinnabar)
Bloodroot: The bloodroot may be eaten to cure paralysis and slickness. (Magnesium)
Kola: The nut of the Kola tree acts as a defense when eaten. While the defense is up, you will be able to wake instantly from sleep. If you are hit by a sleep-inducing ability while asleep, your kola defense will be stripped. (Quartz)
Cohosh: The black cohosh root can be eaten to give oneself insomnia. While you have insomnia, you cannot be put to sleep. However, a spell or ability that would put you to sleep will strip this defense. (Gypsum)
Irid moss: Irid moss is invaluable as a healing tool. It will replenish some health and mana when eaten. Irid moss may only be eaten about once every 5 seconds. (Potash)
Bayberry: Causes blindness after a short delay when eaten, a valuable defense. (Arsenic)
Hawthorn: Causes deafness when eaten, like bayberry, after a short delay and a useful defense. (Calamine)
Ginger: Eaten to help the body regulate its fluid levels when facing an Alchemist. (Antimony)
Echinacea: Gives the Thirdeye defense when eaten. This will append the location to all who aren't using artefacts to hide their presence on WHO and QUICKWHO. (Dolomite)
Prickly Pear: Enveolpes the eater in a bubble of air, preventing drowning while underwater. (Calcite)
Some tattoos are crucial for combat:
Shield: Creates a magical shield that prevents most physical attacks. Goes away when you commit any offensive act. Everyone should have a shield tattoo.
Hammer: Destroys a shield.
Cloak: Creates a magical cloak around you which prevents being summoned by the Brazier tattoo.
Boar: Provides health regeneration.
Other equipment that is needed for combat:
Armour: What armour you may use is dictated by your class. For instance, monks may only wear leather armour, whereas Paladins can wear the unbelievably expensive Full Plate.
Pipes: To smoke herbs in.
Tinderbox: To light your pipes.
Vials of venom: Useful if you are going to be envenoming weapons, particularly as a knight class.
Weapons: The weapons you need depend on your class. Some classes need no weapons, such as monks. Other classes, such as Serpents or Blademasters depend on them.
Macros, Triggers, and Systems
Obviously, nobody can type quickly enough to keep up with combat in Achaea and when combat gets really crazy, nobody can keep up with the pace at which things might be happening to you.
As a result, people rely on Macros, Triggers, and entire Systems.
These are just what they sound like in other software - you assign a command or series of commands to key or set of keys (such as f1 or control-shift-g, for instance). You'll create macros for every common thing you do in combat.
Triggers are logic that tells your client to do something in response to output from the MUD. For instance, if you get the message that you have just been afflicted with paralysis, you'll want to immediately eat bloodroot or magnesium to cure it. You can create Triggers using all common MUD software (including our own HTML5 client at client.achaea.com), and by creating conditional triggers ("Only execute the trigger on this output IF X, Y, and Z are also true") you can begin to create some very powerful help for yourself.
Note: There are many things it's illegal to use triggers for in Achaea. They're fine in combat, but it's against the rules to automate actions that generate resources like gold, or even xp.
Systems are entire collections of Triggers and sometimes Macros that are pre-made packages. They're created by players, and are very popular. The most popular systems run in the Mudlet downloadable client, though plans are in the works to create good systems for the main HTML5 client as well.
Systems are mainly good for defense rather than offense, though there are exceptions. The reason is that defense is often mainly reactionary, whereas offense is more tactical.
If you're serious about combat, you have to either create your own system or get someone else's. It's just not possible to keep up otherwise.
A 'lock' in the combat sense is what happens when someone has got you afflicted with conditions that collectively make it impossible for you to do something. For instance, if you are "Rift-locked" you've been afflicted with a combination of things such that there is no easy way for you to remove the conditions stopping you from getting things out of your Rift.
Mastering the use of locks and the defenses against them is key for some classes, and for fighting against those classes.