Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 29 - A Near Death Experience

I awoke from a restful sleep but a little sore from my long journey.  I needed to do some hunting for the fur I needed and I still had not gathered enough leather to make my armor set.  I decided to take a little venture from Refugio and see what I could find.

There was a path against the entrance to Refugio that led towards the coast and I decided I would make my way down to where I had killed deer several days before.  On the way there was an abandoned mine and so I peeked inside to see what I could see.

A bear in a cave.

Back in the corner of the mine was a young black bear!  The old timers say that black bears are more dangerous than brown bears, but brown bears can swim and therefore are harder to evade.  But I wasn't thinking about which bear.  I stood there for a moment checking my gear and my defensive fighting skill.  More than once I contemplated attacking the young bear.  Could I actually win?  I remembered how the entrance to the cave slanted downwards.  I could lead the bear to the entrance and standing on the entrance, I would be up above him.  Perhaps that would give me the edge I needed?  After a few more pondering thoughts,  I eventually decided against it.  I didn't think I was strong enough to kill him and I didn't want to die - not when I was so close to completing my adventure. I left him to his cave.

I had seen a well placed on the other side of an unlocked gate and I decided to take my fill of some refreshing water.  Just as I had gulped my last amount of water, my attack window opened and almost choked me.  Did the bear see me and follow me?

Attack during a break.
I backed up and swung around.  It was a wolf!  He was on the other side of the wall and I could not see him.  This was excellent, I thought!  I had fought his kind several times.  I was ready for him and I was eager for fur.  This wolf was mine, I thought!

A wolf at the watering hole!
I calculated my attack plan carefully.  He was behind the wall so I knew he could not get to me.  That gave me the same scenario I had with the Nemesis wolf.  I figured I could step through the gate, climb up a little and do some fighting, then descend and step out onto the road to heal - if I needed to.  After all, my fighting was better and I had a better weapon now.  This would be short and sweet, I thought as I stepped through the gate, swung around, and ascended backwards up the hill.  I turned to face the wolf and was immediately hit with massive wounds.  Woah! I thought.  Wait a minute!  This was not right!  And then I realized what I was facing.

A second wolf was hiding behind the first.  It was an ambush!  I delayed as I tried to take in what was happening and what I had to do.  They were both mauling me pretty hard, at least that is how it seemed.  I couldn't count my screams.  I tried to back away and step down, but I was going so slow!  Why couldn't I move?  I then realized I had been stunned by their blows.  When I recovered, I moved slowly and then realized I was still in climbing mode!  With my health reaching critical, I quickly released my climb and fell down.  I wasn't sure if I landed any blows or not, but they had sure done a number on me and pretty quickly too.  As I reached the gate, again I was hit with volleys of wolf claws.  I screamed two or three more times as the gate swung shut.

A Near Death Experience
I was severely injured - almost dead in fact!  My eyes were filled with blood and I could barely look at myself.  I opened my inventory to look at my mangled body.  I needed to see if I had received any medium or greater wounds.  If I had just one, I knew I would be dead within a few minutes.  I had left Refugio only a short while earlier, ready for anything and wishing for something.  And within a few mere moments, my life was hanging in the balance.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized I had not sustained any life-threatening wounds.  However, I was down under 10% health.  I had to get to safety and rest.  If I received any more injuries, I would have surely died.  I had to get back to Refugio!  Slowly I hobbled down the road, my stamina virtually non-existent.  I looked up once at the sky and pondered how long it would take me to recover from this fierce double-wolf attack.  I then thought that Nemesis' clan had paid me back well.  They were just waiting for the right moment.  All love for Nemesis left me on that day.  We were even!

The walk home.
My vision was pulsating between having a large clear hole in front of me and having a smaller hazy one.  When I reached the ramp to Refugio, I could barely see.  But eventually, I hobbled to the top and stood at the gate.

Refugio's gate through wounded eyes.
As I approached the gate and entered it, I felt strange, almost like I had died and was staring into blackness.  It was almost the same look one has when dying in Wurm, only without the notice and spawn pop-up window.

Entering Refugio not death.
Wounded and weary but utterly thankful that I hadn't died, I collapsed inside Refugio next to my forge and rested.  There was nothing more that I could do on that dreadful day but rest and heal.  Life is seldom easy in Wurm.  It is a life of survival.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 28 - The 2-2-2 Adventure Comes to an End

I woke before dawn.  I thought I heard something moving above me in a meadow.  I ventured up and away from the coast and saw two horses!

Two Abandoned Horses.
I stopped in my tracks and scanned the area.  There was the makings of a homestead of sorts, with a flattened area outlined with rotting incomplete fence posts.  The horses were just standing there, one on the square and one off in the grass.  I examined the ground and found there was no settlement or perimeter.  They were on undeeded land.  However, the horses were named, meaning they were the off-spring of player breeding efforts.  One was an adolescent and the other old in age.  This was a tricky find.  I did not want to be guilty of stealing someone's horses - even if they were off deed.  I checked them for branding marks.  Neither one was branded.  I asked in local to see if anyone owned the parent of one of them.  Both Wurmians said no.  I then checked for deeds in the area that might be holding the named parents of one of the horses.  The other horse was bred from wild horses, which I was able to discern from the fact that the parents had no names.  I found none of the parents in local. I returned to the built site and checked the piles of dirt for decay: 60% on most of the piles - days old, I thought.  There was also a large cart nearby and a sign planted.  Both names were different.

Since the build site was flat, square, and only contained fencing (there were no decaying structures, forges, ovens, chests, beds, etc.), I concluded the plot to be from a new player who had started a project and then, for whatever reason, abandoned it.  I had no way to know where the horses belonged or even if they were connected to the build site.  They could have wandered there.  There were many such abandoned spots all around me.  I saw no other deeded spots with fencing down (deeded fences would not decay anyway unless upkeep was below 30 days).  And then I thought about the horses.  Anyone could come by and cut them down to the ground, or take them, or lead them home.  They were unclaimed, unprotected, and unhitched.  They were just there!  Those thoughts brought me to a moral decision to rescue them from an uncertain fate.  My conscience rested in my decision and I decided to immediately lead them back to Refugio.  I led both using two ropes from my inventory.

I made my way back to the port village and was stunned when my attack window opened.  Something was chasing me and I did not know what, but I knew I had to outrun it fast!  Racing towards the dock where I had fished for my food I reached the end and swung around to see that a mountain lion had stopped several tiles before.

A mountain lion led to the slaughter.
My first thought was thankfulness that he stopped chasing me.  My next thought was that this was my chance to get some meat, maybe some parts for a healing cover, or perhaps a pelt.  But just then, I heard a Spirit Templar cry,"I'll take care of Old starving mountain lion!"  No! I thought.  I raced towards the cat.

Uninvited assistance from a Spirit Templar.
The lion had stepped onto the deed and the mayor had set the deed guard to attack all aggressive creatures that ventured onto the deed tiles.  Perhaps that is why the cat stopped, because he sensed the danger.  But I guess he wanted my horses or even me!  I ran up just as the guard was killing the intruder

A slain mountain lion.
 The creature fell on a deed tile, and so I could not take him without stealing him, which I was not about to do!

A right click window showing the steal option.

The Spirit Templar would not have liked that.  In fact, I would have been his next target.  Thankful that I was out of danger, I turned and headed home.  Entering the Tundra, I thought about the great fortunes of my 2-2-2 adventure.  I only needed to find two deer on my way back, and everything would be a complete success.

Following the signs back to Freedom Market
Getting back was made fairly easy due to conveniently placed signs that pointed the way back to Freedom Market.  As I approached the area near the cave exit, I remembered the scorpion.  I hoped that someone had killed it by then.  I soon approached the spot where I had seen him days before.  Slowly I crested the hill.

The hill where I met the scorpion.

As I approached the crest of the hill, I stopped just shy of it to regain my stamina.  I wanted a full stamina bar in which to run away if he was still there.  I then checked to make sure the horses were still behind me, and darted up and over the crest of the hill.  There I stopped.

Fortunately, no scorpion!
Fortunate indeed I was that the scorpion was nowhere to be found.  I made my way down and over to the entrance to the mountain pass.

South entrance to the mountain pass.
Caves are not without dangers.  Bears, cave bugs, and the flaming lava fiends all can spawn in a cave.  Entering the tunnel, I had to make sure that my animals cleared corners with me and also I had to watch for uninvited guests.

The darkness of the deep tunnel.
Caves are creepy places in Wurm.  The noise of wind and falling pebbles is a constant reminder to the dangers within.  Some adventurers have even had tiles collapse in front of them, leaving them helpless to get out should they have entered without a pick-axe.  I did not have one, but I had two exits, one at each end, so I felt safe in that regard.   Eventually, I made it to the exit on the other side of the mountain.  I was close to home!

The north entrance to the mountain pass.
Exiting the pass, I headed towards the Dragon Fang down long, rolling roads.  Sometimes the beauty of Wurm becomes a distraction.  I looked up and noticed a storm cloud was passing by the Dragon Fang.  I knew that meant an inevitable rain shower below.  But I still considered it a beauty to see those dark clouds.

The Dragon Fang about to get wet.
Then, as I cleared the trees and crested a hill, the sun shown brightly against a blue sky.  It was as if the Dragon Fang  was slicing the weather right in two.  The whole scene reminded me of the separate paths of dark and light that each Wurmian chooses when going to the Wild server.

Slicing the weather.
 Soon, I approached a familiar site, the great Freedom Market located at the base of the Dragon Fang mountain.  A huge building project was underway to expand to a third section of merchant stalls.  There were well over a hundred merchants already at the market, all owned by players looking to peddle their wares to interested and needy Wurmians. 

The ever expanding Freedom Market.
 On I went, past the market and through the shanty towns nearby where new players stake their claims to free and plundered lands.  Many of them just put up a house, some fencing, and plant a few crops before leaving the market area for lands beyond.  Eventually though, I made it home and releasing my horses to graze in the grasses around Refugio, my wonderful cave home came into view.

Refugio - the home of Surviverman!

Approaching the entrance I instinctively  checked my crops.  Ouch!  I had been gone too long.  All but one had turned to weeds. The one had turned back to grass.  Oh well, I thought, it was worth it to gain the mushrooms and the horses.

Crops turned to weeds while I was away.

I entered Refugio tired, weary, but thankful.  I had accomplished the biggest two of my three objectives, and I was not ashamed to label my 2-2-2 adventure very successful.  I laid down by the forge and rested from my journey.

Inside Surviverman's cave.

Day 27 - The 2-2-2 Adventure Continued...

I woke up from my night on the side of the road with the inevitable message that I had lost the mushrooms to decay.  I expected this and planned to offer my screen shots as proof of my discovery.  What I should have done was use them to make healing covers.  But the "should" never happened.

Gone are my mushrooms!
I was in a strange place.  I heard hammering in the distance and the sound of someone's forge, oven, campfire, or other source of crackling flame.  It surely wasn't my campfire.  That had died in the night.  Taking my bearing, I headed north to unknown places beyond in search of creatures. Occasionally, I would stop to forage and botanize grass tiles for food.  It would not be long before another meal or casserole would be necessary to sustain me on my 2-2-2 adventure.

I was extremely careful to follow the highway and not venture far from the roads.  As I walked along, I also tracked my progress on the wiki community map of Freedom.  I could not risk getting lost and then killed.  If that happened, I would lose literally days of work should I not be able to find my body.  When a toon dies, the crafted tools remain on the body until found and retrieved or until the body decays.  Beginner tools (the ones I left at my sponsor's deed when I started) do remain with the toon upon re-spawning and not on the toon's corpse.  However, I didn't have those tools, I had Surviverman tools - those I had crafted.  I proceeded with caution and finally spotted something in the road.

A unicorn spawn in the road.
It was a unicorn rustle - a spawn for unicorns.  Those majestic creatures are deadly to new players if they are attacked but docile otherwise.  I did not need to fear them.  However, further along that winding road, I spotted another spawn that I needed to take heed to.

A goblin spawn.
It was a goblin hut.  Goblins are perhaps a little more dangerous than wolves if for no other reason, because when you attack one any others in the area will rush to help!  I had no interest in goblin blood and quickly moved on scanning in all directions.  I felt as if my journey was getting more dangerous by the minute.

On occasion, the weary traveler in Wurm will happen upon small buildings and fenced tiles along the road.  These are created and maintained by kindhearted Wurmians so that adventurers can quickly escape from danger.

One of many unlocked player-made safe houses.
I found one near the goblin spawn and decided to turn north, using it as a landmark to keep my bearings.  Soon I spotted a tower guard, which gave me some sense of protection until I remembered that I was not allowed to cry out to them for help.  Oh well, I thought, at least he was there and I was not alone.

A Freedom tower guard NPC.
Heading down a sloped road, I ventured into a nice water-front village.

A water-front village.
There were several boats docked and I noticed the settlement token was accessible.  This was a fantastic find.  I could examine the top of the token to get my bearing north.  Plus, by examining the token I could learn what village I was in and then place myself on the wiki map.  By these means I came to know I was at the village of Port Akhenaten.

The compass on top of a settlement token.

I filled my water containers and decided to do some fishing.  The winds of the day had been replaced with the sounds of crickets and frogs.  Night was falling fast and I needed to eat again.  With food, water, and a fix on my location, it was the perfect spot to settle in for the night.  Fortunately for me, the village mayor allowed fishing from the nice pier they had constructed - well it was a road that jetted out into the water - a pier as good as any.  No words can quite describe fishing on a pier with night falling over the land of Wurm.  It is a feeling unlike anything that can be experienced anywhere.  I felt so safe and free.  No, I had not found a single creature to take home, but I was happy nonetheless.

Fishing on the lake.
A fishing spot with a great view!

I fished for quite a long time and secured enough meat for a few tasty meals.  I turned to head back to the road and noticed a lava fiend has been caged nearby.  Feeling bold, I approached it to see one up close and in complete safety!  He was an ugly cuss and gave off a glow from his burning body - a free light source, I thought, for the one who trapped him.

A captured lava fiend.

I left and headed along the shore to find a suitable spot for another campfire to cook my food.  I wondered if the highway continued along the coast.  Following a coastal road would keep me from getting lost.  I checked the map and realized the roads mostly followed along the coast, and so I planned to venture further north.  I happened upon an abandoned deed with decaying structures of various types.

A decaying food bin.

I examined a grass tile and noticed I was not within the perimeter of any village.  This means I could cut down a tree and make a camp fire.

My campfire and meal on night two of the 2-2-2 adventure.

As I sat by the campfire waiting for my fish and onion meal to cook, I thought about finding creatures and getting them back to Refugio.  Once I found a horse, a cow, or a bull, I would have to either walk all the way back home or build a fenced tile.  I could tame an animal and have it log off with me, but I could only tame a single animal.  These were my logistical challenges.

I thought it not wise to travel at night, especially in an area I was not familiar with.  I decided to turn in and take up my journey in the morning.  I fell asleep looking out across the water to the Dragon Fang and listening to the night sounds and the crackling of my campfire.  It was totally serene!

The mighty Dragon Fang mountain at night.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 26 - The 2-2-2 Adventure

With the day count reaching 26, I woke with determination to accomplish some difficult tasks.  Mushrooms were rare in the wild.  I knew I would have to travel potentially long distances and in dangerous areas to find some.  They were small and easily hidden in the tall grasses of Wurm.  Nevertheless, I decided to undertake a mission to find 2 of them.  Since I would be traveling I also decided to look for 2 deer for hides.  Also, I needed two bulls, cows, or horses.  I called it my 2-2-2 adventure.

I tended my crops and removed everything from my inventory that would weigh me down in case I had to make a hurried escape from some predator.  I made a casserole to get my stomach full before leaving.  But I  decided to take a frying pan with me.  I could make a campfire on the trail and, taking my beloved fishing pole, I could catch some fish and add it to foraged items to make meals to sustain me.

I left Refugio and headed for the coast.  I wanted to obtain some fish to make a meal on the trail.  My journey would likely take me far from water.  Once I had fished and foraged, I left the coast and ventured southeast.  I walked for miles it seemed.  Climbing a large hill, I found that the road ended at a construction sign indicating some south pass was being constructed.  Just before the sign was a cave with signs pointing to unknown destinations - destinations made possible by the cave.  I decided to enter.  The cave was long like a tunnel and seemed to stretch an unknown distance.  I lit my lantern and made my way down the cave.  It dropped, and dropped, and dropped some more until reaching what appeared to be the lowest point.  Then, the angle turned upward and I followed along until reaching the light of day.  Emerging from the shaft of darkness, I found a crisp, clean world of forests, cobblestone roads, and bushes.  The tunnel had taken me through the mountain.  I found a well nearby and capped off my two pottery jars.  I then drank and headed down the road.

Cresting a hill I was met by an ominous site - a huge scorpion!  He was in my path and the road was walled on both sides with low stone.  A dead adventurer was on the ground next to him.  I knew I could not hope to kill him.  In fact, I was scared that he would strike me down at the sight of me.  I stopped and pondered what to do.  I did not want to go back.  For all I knew, mushrooms, deer, and bulls were just around the corner.  I had emptied my inventory of most of my tools to make myself as light as possible for just this kind of scenario.  What I needed to do was run past him and keep running until he stopped giving chase.  But due to the angle of the road, I had no idea what was beyond him.  I could not see over the hill.  Determined to continue in my chosen direction, I took a deep breath and ran towards him.  My lean body was quite agile.  I sprinted past him, hugging the left wall as he turned from beside the right one.  Fortunately, the road beyond him was all down hill and as he attempted to strike at me, I raced down the mountain at a frantic 22kmh.  So determined was I to put distance between him and me that I ran all the way down the mountain before turning around.  Gratefully, he was no match for my long, lanky, and mostly starved body.  I stopped to catch my stamina before climbing the next hill.  I had made it past the beast unharmed, but I knew I would have to face him coming back - and possibly with animals in tow.  I was not looking forward to that.

Continuing on, I eventually reached what appeared to be an old abandoned path leading gently up a mountain.   With my food down to 20%, I felt it was time to stop and eat.  I made my way up the grassy path to a spot that was favorable for building a campfire.  I foraged and found an onion and cut down a cedar to make my kindling and get fuel for the campfire.  Starting the campfire was not too difficult, and I placed my frying pan of fish and onion inside to make a meal.

The campfire on the path.

Once the meal was made and eaten, I placed my bowl (I remembered to bring it) of foraged items in it and made a casserole as well.  Once I had eaten that, I decided to do some poking around.  I wanted to know where the path led and so I followed along scanning left and right for signs of life and for my objectives.  It wasn't long before I realized just how fortunate I was to have chosen that particular path on that particular day.  Looking to my left, I caught a glimpse of something poking up just above the grass.  It was a mushroom - a glorious mushroom!    I climbed up to get it and then saw another one further up.

My second mushroom.

Climbing up to obtain that one, I saw yet a third and I was so excited I started slipping on the slope.  Finding two was very hard to do, but three was a miracle!  Because mushrooms decay very quickly, I decided to take screen shots of the mushrooms to show to my sponsors.

The third mushroom
They would not likely survive until my return but I needed to prove I had found them.

My miracle mushrooms!
I ate the yellow one right there because I wanted to increase my food intake and I knew that yellow mushrooms are excellent for that purpose.

Satisfied with my venture up the path, I decided to head back down to the road and continue on my journey through the forest.  One third of my mission was complete.

Moving on, I reached a small populated area.  There were 3-4 adventurers leaving a fortified fort for who knows where.  One waved at me as I continued on my way.  I traveled on, following the main highway and signs that pointed to obviously important places.  I eventually was led down to the main central bay on the Freedom map.  There was a breath-taking view of the Dragon Fang and it showed me just how far I had traveled.

Southern end of the central lake, facing north and the Dragon Fang.
I decided to take advantage of the proximity to the water and did some more fishing before moving onward.  Once I had obtained enough fish for a large meal, I traveled until I reached a large tundra with forests beyond.  By the time I passed through it, it was getting dark and so I stopped to make my meal and rest.

My roadside meal!
I slept by the road that night.  The day had been glorious, and even though I would not sleep in Refugio that night, I was very happy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 25 - A Bow and Arrow

Having accomplished several adventure objectives on the previous day, I determined to see how much I could get done on day 25.  I tended to my crops first and then lit the forge.  Since I had not made my bow and arrow, I set about to do that.

Taking my carving knife and using it on a willow log, I chose the short bow.  It was the only bow option for me because I had not yet attempted to make a bow.  The old timers said I could start to make a short bow, but then stop working on it before the action was complete.  This would trigger an opening up of the other bow types.  I wanted to see what my chances were at making any of the bows, so that is what I decided to do.  My odds were not very good on any of them.  My chance for success on the short bow was only 44%, while the bow and long bow were rated 24%.  I was not planning to actually use the bow for anything so I decided to stick with the short bow.  My second attempt was successful.  In order to finish the bow it had to be strung.  To make the bow string, I grabbed my rope tool and removed a wemp fiber from the bulk bin.  I successfully created the bow string on my first attempt and decided to string the bow right then.  I then added it to my cart for safekeeping.

The arrow I needed would require a bit more work.  I made a hunting arrow head using my small anvil and a glowing iron lump.  I left it in the forge and made a meal with one of the cooked meat I had stored in my food bin.  When the meal was ready, I placed it in my inventory until it was cool enough to eat.  While I waited, I pondered about the arrow. 

Willow is the best for bows and fishing poles, but not for arrows.  Even though I did not plan on hunting with the arrow, I wanted to make one as if I were going to use it.  In Wurm, there are two kinds of arrows and two wood types to choose from for gaining some material affects.  The war arrow is good for battle as it produces more damage but with less accuracy.  The hunting arrow is more accurate but gives less damage.  Arrows made with maple wood tend to take less damage.  Such arrows are excellent for gaining skill with the bow.  However, arrows made of cedar can be improved quicker.  I liked the choices provided.  I chose to make a hunting arrow out of maple wood.  All I had to do was find a maple tree!  I left Refugio for just that purpose.

I left Refugio and noticed dozens of cedar trees!  But I just had to have a maple, I thought to myself.  If I had wanted cedar, it would have seemed that maple was to be found everywhere.  Eventually, I found an old maple tree and harvested a log from the felled tree.  It didn't seem right to just leave the felled tree there just to make a single arrow.  I decided to tote some logs back to Refugio for fuel.

Upon my return I made several hunting arrow heads and several shafts.  After failing a few times, I finally created my hunting arrow and placed it next to my bow in the large cart.  The remaining arrow shafts fueled my forge.  If I had wanted to skill up in archery, I could have kept them and shot them at an archery target to gain skill.  But that would not be happening in this adventure.  I was happy that two more adventure objectives had been completed.  I decided to call it a day. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 24 - Bread and Battle

Waking up on day 24 of my adventure in the lands of Wurm, I dedicated myself to completing more of my quest assignments.  For one, I decided I would attempt to make some bread!  I had a food bin and therefore I could make the bread and then store it in the bin until I completed the quest.  I only had to make a single loaf and I had several rye to use for practice.  Removing the grindstone made on day 8 from my large cart, I ground one of the grains of rye to make rye flour.  Adding water to this would make dough which could be baked in the forge to make bread.  With only a 25% chance to make the dough I was positive it would fail.  To my shock I was successful on the first attempt.  As with most skills, the first time you do something, the skill shows up in your skill list.  I had been watching my skills all the while on this journey to see if/when my affinity would show up.  Every Wurmian has an affinity, a skill for which he/she is particularly good at.  I had not yet discovered mine.  A quick glance revealed baking and milling skills - but no affinity (designated with an * next to the skill).  Oh well, I thought, perhaps it will be something more useful.

I baked the dough in the forge and produced a single loaf of rye bread on that day.  I removed the loaf from the forge and let it cool.  Then, I placed it in the food bin for safe keeping.  Bread is an excellent filler for meals.  The rye loaf could add 1.3kg of food bulk to a meal, which is quite significant.  But this loaf would be reserved for my victory march back to my sponsors.

Tending my crops provided two more cotton.  As always, I picked the seeds from one to plant and stored the other in the bulk bin.  While outside, I decided to venture around to see if maybe I could obtain some deer hide.  In truth, I think was just anxious to try out my new long sword.  Meandering down a cobblestone path I spotted a body lying next to an oak tree.  It was a tower guard!  Someone must have murdered him, I thought!  His lifeless body was carefully placed.  Only later did I learn that he had died of old age.  I buried his body and gave my condolences to the other guards keeping vigil nearby.  They said nothing, as if in silent mourning.  Moving along, I found an open mine entrance.  Inside I found nothing but a large room and an old forge.  I left the mine and headed down a long path that descended to a village below.  The road was a mixture of 90 degree turns and long stretches of cobblestone.  Turning to face the last stretch of the road, I was stopped in my tracks by an ominous but familiar site.  Down at the bottom of the road was a black wolf.  Immediately I thought about Nemesis and how I was not given a chance to fight him to the death.  I decided I would have that opportunity right then and there.  I knew I had a better weapon and was more skilled with it than with the weapon I used on Nemesis, but with him I had a gate to hide and heal behind.  Thinking about it made me come to a determined decision.  As I descended to stand before this new foe, I made up my mind I would not run, nor call for help from the guards up the path, nor would I heal myself.  No matter what, one of us would die!  It had to be!

As if Nemesis had been his brother, the black wolf ran into my clean new sword with all the rage of his fellow.  I stood my ground as we exchanged deadly blows.  We fought so long and hard that my eyes began to see red.  I was dying!  As I was dying he began dying as well.  Which would fall first, I pondered?  He clawed as I swung the heavy sword.  With red waves closing around my eyes, he dropped to the ground and death.  I quickly butchered his body and obtained a little fat and a paw - a fitting memento!  However, I was totally numb.  Quickly I scanned my body to find cuts, bites, and a single medium wound.  I knew my other wounds would heal with time, but the medium was a serious matter.  I needed a healing cover and with only 12% health, I staggered back up the hill towards Refugio.  It was the longest walk of my life.

Upon my return I attempted to make several healing covers from the fresh supplies I had obtained from recent foraging and botanizing sessions.  A sage/sassafras healing cover sufficiently treated the wound, and utilizing my fresh new medical item (cotton), I bandaged myself.  I then sat to soak in what had happened.  I had fought a wolf with the long sword.  It was a close fight, but he was dead and I didn't have to retreat to heal.  I felt as though I was ready for anything even though my body told me otherwise.

Standing to my feet I decided I would work on more of my objectives.  Since I felt I had enough wemp to make a rope, I left Refugio to get fresh logs for the shaft and plank I would need to make a rope tool.  As the gate swung open, I noticed it was very dark and fog had settled into the valley.  It was so thick I could only see a few tiles in front of me.  I dared not venture out too far, so I chopped the nearest pine I could find.  As I selected my hatchet, I remembered my long sword and my shield.  I needed to mend them!  Once that was done, I reduced the felled tree to logs and returned to the safety and light of my cave and forge.

Working with planks, shafts, and large nails, I constructed my rope tool and removed 7 wemp from the bulk storage bin, leaving 6 of them inside.  I combined the wemp into a single wemp item and crushed it down to fibers.  I then created two ropes with not much effort (but no rope making affinity).  The ropes would allow me to lead animals back to Refugio.  Since I had the cave and it was secured against theft, I could leave animals inside - only I would need to make sure they were well fed as they would not have grass to graze on.

I placed the new rope tool in my large cart and noticed it needed repairing badly!  I had not been keeping an eye on my items and so I went about the cave repairing everything that needed it.  Also, my lamp was taking quite a bit of damage just existing in my inventory.  It must have been the fact that I had returned to just keeping it lit all the time.  I decided to improve my lamp since the forge was hot.  I also checked on my fish.  The pike were heavily damaged from decay but the catfish was completely fresh.  I made another meal with the pike and left the cat for later.  Also, since I had lead next to me and needed another ore as part of my checklist, I popped some lead, smelted it, and stored the lump.  I did not plan to make a boat so the lead only really served to meet my adventure objective.

With my lamp improved, I called it a day.  I really wanted to scout for some deer, cows, bulls, and horses to bring home with me but I knew they were quite rare in my area.  I figured I might well have to travel a good distance to find them, so I left that for another day.  Resting by the forge and finishing off the pike and onion meal, I fell asleep - another long day on Wurm.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 23 - A Man and a Sword

I awoke to day 23 thinking about the fish stored in my small barrel inside the large cart.  I had a few things I wanted to do during the day and a meal would provide me with the energy to do my best.  I lit the forge right away and headed outside to my farming ritual.  Another cotton was ready for harvesting as well as a pumpkin.  Pumpkins are great crops because they weigh 1.0kg and can be used to add bulk to meals.  After planting another cotton seed and pumpkin seed, I returned to my forge and then to my iron source.  I wanted to make a long sword and I needed the very best iron I could mine.

Mining provided several lumps of 16 quality ore.  I placed them inside the forge to smelt into lumps while I worked to make the meal.  Pulling a catfish from the barrel, I placed it inside my lone frying pan along with some parsely and a potato from the food bin.  Within a minute I had a wonderful meal!  I then started my longsword attempt.

Creating the blade was not too difficult.  Since the willow logs were my highest quality wood, I created a shaft and then a handle for the sword.  I cringed as I noticed a measely 15% chance to attach the sword to the handle.  I knew right then, the day would be as long as the blade I was holding.  However, miraculously the sword was created on my first attempt!  I was absolutely elated.  Holding my meal in one hand and my sword in the other, I shouted a victory shout which echoed in the cave.

I needed to get my skill up with the longsword before I would take it into battle with me.  The old timers told of a method that allowed skill gain without actually fighting a creature.  I went outside and found a stout tree.  Placing the longsword in my right hand, I selected it and then used it to start chopping on the tree.  Each time I finished my chopping action, I repaired the 1.0q longsword and rejoiced in the skill I was gaining with each attempt.  In no time, my skill with the longsword surpassed my skill with the short one.  Also, I noticed my woodcutting skill was increasing as well.  By the time the old pine fell to the ground, I had gained 4.45 skill with the longsword.  The old timers knew what they were talking about!

I returned to the forge and started improving my iron needle.  I knew that needle quality would have an impact on the success rate for creating the leather armor I hoped to make.  With a good needle and my new longsword, I was confident I could go hunting for deer and get more leather for my armor set.  Day 23 ended with a much improved needle, a leftover meal in the forge and a new longsword on my side.  I was very anxious to get my armor and planned to do some hunting as soon as I could.  I wondered how much longer it would be before my journey would come to and end.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 22 - Leather, Cotton, and a Fishing Expedition!

The day began with another harvest of wemp.  I had accumulated 5kg of wemp in the bulk bin and decided I had enough to attempt the making of a rope.  I put creating the rope tool on my list of the day's duties.  I never got around to it...  Plundering through the large cart I noticed my deer hide was decaying.  I decided to sacrifice the lye I had made in hopes of producing leather from the hide.  I had a 50% chance but it fell to my favor and I had my very first piece of leather, a 9kg piece of 29 quality!  Excitedly I grabbed the needle I had made and glanced over my options.  I could start all of the leather armor pieces, a water skin, a backpack, a quiver, and the leather makings of horse gear.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  I thought about my armor requirements for the adventure.  If I could kill another deer or two, I could make leather armor and meet all the requirements without having to chain smith.  I decided that would be my plan.  Needle quality affected success rates for crafting leather, so I planned to imp my needle as high as I could.

I placed the leather in the bulk bin to stop decay and lit the forge.  I made six casseroles to keep my nutrition up and stop the fasting cycles.  I was sure I was thin as a plank with all the fasting I had done.  Eating the casseroles brought me to almost 50% nutrition.  I checked the crops again and found yellow on crop number three.  I was excited because I was sure that tile was cotton!  Raking the tile to remove the weeds (I always raked before harvesting because it gave me an extra action to gain more skill) I harvested my very first cotton.  The harvest created two cotton so I picked the seeds from one of them and immediately planted it.  I would always have at least one cotton and one wemp growing all the time, I thought.

Finally obtaining cotton on day 22 brought the realization that I might be able to make a fishing pole so I could fish for meat.  This seemed more important to me than leather armor and so my focus turned to obtaining a wooden spindle to make the string, an iron fishing hook, and a willow shaft.  Willow works best for bows and fishing rods.  I found a lone willow tree not far from Refugio.  Picking a sprout first, I chopped it down and planted the sprout in its place.  Conservation is a good thing.  Reducing the felled tree to logs, I hauled them back to the storage bin and made a shaft.  I stored the willow logs for making my bow later.  Popping  some fresh ore from the iron tile, I placed them in the lit forge so I could get the maximum quality ore possible for the fishing hook.  The quality of the hook would determine my success percentage for making the fishing line.  While the ore turned to lumps, I utilized the willow to make my spindle.  Once the spindle was made, I used it against the cotton to make a string.  The leftover rags made excellent bandages!  Several unsuccessful attempts at combining an iron hook with the string reduced my hooks to scrap, but at least my string was undamaged.  On the seventh attempt I was able to create the fishing line.  Attaching it to my willow shaft produced an unfinished fine fishing rod.  I hammered, filed, polished, and carved on it until at last it was ready to use.  I think it was my most prized creation to date!  I was so anxious to fish with it - and using the iron hook rather than the wooden one produced a fine rod rather than a regular one.  Though I wasn't really sure what the difference was, I was happy to have the fine rod.  Like a child with a new toy, I set myself to go fishing.  My conversion from vegetarian to meat eater was just a few casts away!  Well, I did eat that meal on day 13 made from the cat meat I had filleted.  But I imagined meals made from the fish I would catch to be as scrumptious as any I had ever tasted.  My mouth began to water at the thought of it.

I fueled the forge and left Refugio heading for the coast.  Checking the weather, there was a gale coming from the southwest.  I hoped it would not affect my fishing!  Finding a spot on the coast, I attempted to fish.  A message warned me that it would be bad for my karma if I fished there.  The message meant I was on someone's land that had restricted fishing by non-villagers.  I moved to another spot and set my line into the water.  Something soon bit and I pulled in my first fish - a perch!  It was a tiny thing, only .05kg.  In an instant I turned from Surviverman to caveman, devouring that little fish, scales, fins, and all!  Licking my fingers, I checked for anyone in local and slowly returned the line to the water.  I'm not sure why I acted that way, but the fish was wonderful and I wanted more.  I thought, 22 days - I should have made this fishing pole sooner, but the cotton ordeal prevented it.

As I fished, the sounds of the water, the frogs, and the crickets created a most tranquil experience.  There were a few cogs moored near the shore and some sailboats as well, one of them painted blue.  A sunken rowboat was in the water near me and another had been locked up in a fenced tile near the water, probably awaiting its new owner.  There was still nobody else around, except for a handful of tower guards mingling along the hillside next to their post.   The whole scene almost lulled me to sleep.  In fact, I did doze off once, but I was awakened by a lamp that lit itself as night fell.  The lamp was on a village tile and came on automatically.  Tugs on the fishing line returned my attention to the water. I reeled in another fish and lit my lantern.  I fished, ate, and fished some more.  Some of the fish escaped but I reeled in most of my catch that day.  Returning to Refugio, my food bar was at 99 percent and my nutrition was at 33 percent - all from raw fish.  How much more would they satisfy me in some bulky meals, I thought.

The fire in the forge had long died when I finally entered Refugio.  Placing the fish inside my small barrel, I added some water and stored the barrel inside the large cart.  My hope was that the fish would last a few days.  Time would tell.  Tired, rather smelly, and full of food, I laid down in the dark and just slept.  Never had I been more nourished than on that day.  Life was really, really, good.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 21 - The Fate of a Foe

The sound forced open my eyes but I dared not move.  My groggy mind interpreted it as the howling of the Nemesis Wolf.  Surely he was still lurking outside?  But it was just the wind.  I must have wanted my revenge for I had dreamed about him all the night.  As any real man would, I wanted another chance to discharge a volley of kicks, swings, and jabs at the only creature I had not defeated.  I wanted to win.  I laid there rehearsing my attack as the whistling sounds of the wind and falling pebbles filled the corridor of the dark cave.

Feeling more awake, I rose and peered around the corner towards the light of a fresh new morning.  All seemed safe.  Approaching the light I noticed one of my crops was yellow and ready for harvesting.  I emerged from the entrance of Refugio clutching my short sword and cautiously looking  from left to right.  And then I saw him!  He was only a few feet from me as if he had been waiting next to the cave all night.  Only... he wasn't looking at me as fiercely as the day before.  I gripped my sword tightly the moment my eyes met him, but then softened the tension of my right hand as my shoulders sank.  I stood there for a moment trying to discern what feelings were stirring in my soul.  I think I was first defensive then shocked and angry.  But those feelings strangely morphed into what I can only describe as... pity.  The Nemesis, my black and viciously hated foe, had been bested in the night by someone better than us both.  So thoroughly had he died.  His bloody carcass and missing front paw, the one my foot knew so well, was testament to how much he wanted to live.  His glazed-over eyes were fixed towards the Dragon Fang and his pelt was deep red and matted.  Who did this!  Why didn't I wake up?  I looked for tracks but found none.  There was only the wind, my single little yellow crop, and me to attend his funeral.  Rounding the corner of the wall, I stepped through the battle gate to meet my foe for the last time.  I stooped down and swatted at the flies circling his body.  They had no right to be there!  Strangely, he looked more like a dog than a wolf.  Perhaps he was the offspring of some chance meeting in the forest.  I forced his eyelids shut and slowly stroked his head.  If circumstances had been different and had my skills at animal taming been sufficient, he could have slept in Refugio with me rather than face his fate outside.  I dug a hole and placed him ceremoniously inside.  I covered my enemy-turned-friend and vowed to remember him.  Blue flowers placed in the spot would mark his resting place forever.

I tended and harvested another wemp crop, sowing the ground with cotton in its place.  Refugio, my cave and my home, was creating memories for me.  I looked around at the rolling hills and flowers dotting the forest floor.  I decided to do some foraging and botanizing in hopes of gaining a few more healing cover ingredients.  If only I had heard the noise of the battle!  I shook off my thoughts.  Life is harsh but looking back is harsher still.  I determined to move forward, accepting the gift of 1.0 fighting skill from Nemesis.  That would be his legacy - that I had fought him and loved him too.

The rest of the day was spent piddling around the cave.  I guess I didn't really feel like doing much.  Sometimes life in Wurm is as busy as anyone can imagine.  Other times, making a plank seems like a chore.  But by days end, I had focused once again on my adventure and my objectives.  Tomorrow would be a new day and I was happy to be alive to see it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 20 - An Unfortunate Decision, An Epic Battle

Day 20 dawned with much frustration from the lack of botanized cotton.  Relentless search had been made for untold hours as I attempted to acquire that precious resource.  Even though I was alone, I was able to pick up the kingdom chatter as I worked towards my goals for the adventure.  But I had stalled on this one objective.  And I soon realized I was not alone.  There were many new players mentioning the difficulties of locating cotton by way of botanizing tiles.  It seemed that noone was having any success at it.  My sponsors must have been listening to the complaints as well because they contacted me by special courier on this particular morning to see if I had obtained cotton or not.  When I told them of my difficulties, they concluded that the game mechanic for cotton spawning through botanizing was hindering my goals and unnecessarily extending the adventure.  It was unfortunate, but everyone agreed that a supply of cotton should be delivered to Refugio in order to facilitate some momentum towards my remaining goals.  I reluctantly surrendered to this decision.  The cotton arrived - 3kg of precious white 72 quality cotton.  I was overjoyed to see it, but my smile turned to a smirk as my sponsor's courier crushed it in front of my eyes and handed me the seeds.  I was told I had to plant it myself!  We laughed and I turned to get my rake.

Leaving Refugio to tend to my crops I turned to see an ominous site.  A young black wolf was standing in the grass midst a few pine trees.  I had a gate to hide behind, so I decided to engage him in hopes of gaining more meat for my food bin and maybe some fat for more salve.  I lured him close to my safety gate and commenced the battle.  Round one ended with both of us wounded.  When I reached 30% health I backed away and closed the gate between us.  I had seven healing covers but no means to bandage my wounds.  I treated the worst of my wounds with four of the healing covers and entered the fight once more, still wounded.  As we labored in round two, some of my wounds healed causing my health to raise as healing took place, but lower as I took fresh hits.  When I again reached around 30% health, I backed away once more to my safety zone.  Utilizing the remaining healing covers, I treated more wounds and returned for round three.  I experienced the same back and forth, healing and getting wounded, until my health dropped to a dangerous 28% from a paw to my right foot.  Something wasn't right.  I was stunned, unable to move, and screaming.  Desperately clinging to life, I was able to eventually back away towards the safety of the gate.  When the gate swung shut I reached for my healing covers.  They were gone!  Looking at my foot I saw a grievous site.  I had a medium wound.  Oh no, I thought!  Mediums do not heal!  In fact, they bleed and get worse!

Forgetting about my foe, I limped back to Refugio.  Fumbling through my supplies, I sought for materials in the food bin to create more healing covers.  I did not have much time.  Reaching for rosemary and lovage, both 4 out of 5 potency, I tried to combine them to make a cover.  My first attempt failed!  My second failed, then my third.  With those ingredients consumed in the attempts, I raced to see what else I could use.  Garlic and nettles were spent trying to make two more covers - both failures.  I then reached for sassafras and nettles.  My supplies were dwindling as I propped myself against the food bin, my foot throbbing from the pain.  The last attempt worked but I had only one chance to stop the bleeding.  I watched as my medium wound was tended.  Exhausted, I stood in shock as I took in my situation. From the joys of cotton to the jaws of a beast - all in a few moments of time.  Such was life in the wilderness of Wurm.

The battle with the beast increased my defensive fighting skill by one whole point - not unusual for low skills.  I made up my mind to make a long sword as soon as I could to improve my fighting ability.  I rested for a little bit and peeked outside Refugio to see where my foe had gone.  My health had returned to 80%, but as I glanced at the fierce wolf, I noticed his health had returned as well.  He was walking away from me and I reckoned my need for fresh healing covers and supplies outweighed my need for another round with the vehement wolf.  I turned and entered again into my Refugio with lessons learned from battles fought.

My cotton would need to wait on the wemp then growing in my fields outside.  I could expand my little farm more, but I had so much to do I would not be idle as the wemp grew on.  The three cotton would be planted, but only two at one time.  I would not risk something happening to all three.  Feeling tired from the fight and needing rest to fully recover, I turned in for the night.  Never was my gated home more appreciated than on that day, for the beast still lurked outside and he knew my scent very well.  I drifted off rehearsing the ballad of blows I gave and received from my greatest foe to date.  Remembering how I had once wanted to fight such a beast, I was thankful my purpose was foiled back then.  Surely, I would have died.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 19 - The Tedious Hunt for Cotton

Day 19 of my adventure built upon the previous day's duties.  I tended my crops and realized two tiles were not enough for my needs.  I decided to flatten three more tiles to create a 2x3 farm.  Examining the sides of the tiles allowed me to determine if they were flat or not. Flat tiles grow crops the best.  I then proceeded to forage and botanize.   I also tended my crop tiles and eventually harvested 2 wemp plants.  I picked the seeds, replanted 2 of them, and stored the other two.  Later, I harvested some onion and garlic.  I then planted the other two wemp seeds. I needed lots of wemp to make my first rope.

The best source for nutrition was meals.  I could survive indefinitely on casseroles but something inside longed for hot meals!  I knew I needed meat before I could make them.  There were two ways to obtain meat.  First, I could hunt animals and acquire meat and other items.  Or, I could fish for the meat I needed.  Hunting was dangerous for me, being so unskilled at fighting.  Fishing was not dangerous but I needed cotton to make string for the fishing pole.  When I thought about the fishing line it made me realize I had never once acquired cotton from botanizing.  Cotton was the next big leap for me and I knew it would be tremendous when I finally found some.  I foraged and botanized for hours adding dozens of items to the food and storage bins, but still no cotton.  I decided when I finally found one that I would not dare try to make string with it.  Rather, I would pick the seeds, plant the one, harvest two, then repeat until I had sufficient supplies.  Cotton was worth more to me than gold!

During long hours of botanizing, I decided to head to a new area.  I thought about the area near the clay and how much time I had spent there trying to find branches.  I needed some clay for future projects and I had pretty much cleaned up all the tiles near Refugio.  I decided to travel there to get clay, another small barrel of water, and to botanize along the way and back for the elusive cotton.  The trip was fairly uneventful.  I collected a little bit of clay and many botanized items - but cotton was not one of them.  On the way back I had to employ a trick the old timers had used.  I was loaded down with many items, 5 clay, and a barrel full of water.  When I reached a place where I needed to climb, I performed a climbed - drop - climb routine.  It went like this.  I would climb until my stamina was almost gone.  Then, just before falling I would drop the water barrel.  Sliding down and regaining my stamina, I would climb to the tile above the water barrel, turn around, pick up the water barrel, turn around again and climb some more.  This allowed me to reach the top of a fairly steep terrace WITH the barrel of water.  And so I returned to Refugio but still no cotton.  I was starting to ponder hunting over fishing...  Surely death would be less painful than cotton, I thought!

I left Refugio once again to try and do some hunting.  My chances for finding any animals weak enough for my 4 defensive fighting skill was bleak, but I had to try.  Turning towards a new direction, I traveled down towards a large village.  Beyond the village was a road that ran along the coast.  As I made my way down I scanned the cliffs and trees to see if I could spot anything.  And then I saw it!  Up on a flat ledge of the mountain but within the trees was an aged deer.  And beyond that deer, further up the hill was another one!  I was so excited.  To find one deer was very fortunate - but two was amazing!  Providing I could survive, I had two chances for meat and two chances to obtain other supplies I needed.

I climbed up to the flat terrace where the first deer was standing.  Engaging him, I fought for what seemed like an eternity.  At one point I honestly thought I was not going to survive.  But just at that moment, he started dying and with 30 percent of my health remaining, he fell down dead.  I decided to wait, heal, and rest before attempting to butcher him with my carving knife.  I had still not been able to make a butchering knife - something I had long forgotten.  Butchering him produced a hoof, a single piece of meat, and a 36q hide.  I was excited but by no means satisfied.  I wanted the second deer.

When I had healed sufficiently, I made my way up the hillside to my second target.  It was a difficult climb due to the steep tiles and distance.  I was also carrying most of my tools along with the animal parts from the first deer.  Several attempts to reach what appeared to be a flat ledge failed and I incurred fresh bruises with every fall.  Eventually I succeeded and positioning myself above him, I commenced my attack. He was another aged deer, but I was in climbing mode due to the slope of the tile he was on and my stamina was down to 60 percent.  I knew it was a do-or-die situation.  The fight went well to my favor.  I only lost 30% of my health that time as opposed to 70% from the first fight.  Butchering him produced animal fat (much needed), an eye, a gland, and another piece of meat.  I was pretty happy with the hunt.  I buried my second trophy and made my way back to Refugio.

My first task was to light the forge and cook the butchered meat.  I did not dare fillet it!  If I had, they would not store in the food bin.  But I could cook them, store them away in the food bin, and when I was ready to use them, I could fillet them and cook with the fillets.  Animal parts do not store in the bins so I consulted the wiki and found I could make healing covers with the eye and the gland.  Four attempts produced two healing covers, bringing my total supply to seven.

The day had been long and tedious but by bedtime, I had meat for meals and more medical supplies, along with farm tiles producing things I needed.  Even though I did not find cotton, life was very, very good, and I would not stop looking for it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 18 - Provisions and Ponderings

On day 18 I checked my crops and realized my second crop tile was ready for harvest.  I had delayed making the food storage bin long enough.  With crops being harvested, I needed to make one to keep my crops safe from decay. I set out to collect the logs for the planks I needed.  I also lit the forge so I could smith the large nails.

Constructing the bin was not very difficult, just time consuming.  I failed constantly while making the planks and attaching them was not much easier.  Once the bin was completed, I positioned it so that I would have access to it from the forge and the oven without having to move around.  This would allow me to leave the bulk bin window open and the food bin window open while smithing and cooking respectively.  It was so exciting to empty the pottery bowls of herbs, seeds, and other food stuffs I had been carrying since day 1 into the food bin.  Some items could not be placed in the food bin.  Those items, the acorns, woad, ash, and wemp seeds would go into the bulk bin however.  I was very blessed to have storage bins to use.  I could forage and botanize as much as I wanted and place the items in the appropriate bins for future use. 

Refugio finally looked more like a home than a cave.  Perhaps that was why I noticed myself thinking less and less about my adventure objectives.  I had a great home, lots of resources, plenty of opportunities, and best of all, I could skill-up any or all skills - unlike other MMO's that make you specialize - but I digress....  Needless to say, I think I would have possibly contacted my sponsors and told them to forget about the adventure; I would just stay forever!  But I realized that Surviverman would have many more adventures built upon the skills and experiences of this one - so I slapped myself in the face and returned to reality.  I needed to focus on my goals and work to reach them.  With that thought, I left Refugio and gathered more wood, while foraging and botanizing.  I felt I had fasted long enough. One negative with fasting is that the more you fast, the slower your skills increase.  At least, that was what I had heard from some strangers passing me on the road one day.  This made food an important part of Wurm overall.

It was dark when I returned to get more wood.  I carelessly meandered around for a good tree to drop, and when it was on the ground, I took a load of logs to the bin.  I exited Refugio again to finish the load.  Glancing around I was taken back by a gruesome sight!  Two local villagers were dead on the ground about 15 tiles from Refugio's entrance.  I froze and started scanning the area.  What killed them?  It was as if they dropped while fighting some hideous monster.  Was it that goblin I had seen before?  I debated whether to get the rest of the logs, but I didn't see anything.  I decided to just run and fetch them.  In the distance I heard the sound of a wolf howling.  Scooping up the logs, I raced back as the dawn started to approach.  I waited until full daylight before I foraged again for food.  Returning from a profitable time in the forest, I placed over 25 items in the bulk bins.  In order to make meals I needed one important thing - meat!  Reviewing my objectives, I realized I needed other items from animals.  My first real "hunt" would come very soon, I thought.  Of course, I could also make a fishing pole and do some fishing.  That was a nice thought.

The small barrel I had already made would hold 45 liters of water, but if I had a large barrel I could store 250 liters of water.  I decided to make one.  The difference was more than size.  Large barrels could not be picked up once completed, meaning nobody could steal them. But I was not worried about theft at that point.  I thought it would just be worth it to have a large supply of water for cooking, smithing, and nourishment.  Besides, it was on my list of objectives.  Once the large barrel was completed, I grabbed the small one and my bucket and stepped out of Refugio once again.

I stopped and stared at the corpses and then scanned around for any threats.  Cautiously I headed down the mountain towards the shore.  I was thankful for the highway mainly because I could walk faster while traveling on it.  But also, it was a landmark I could mostly count on.  I say this because the area near Refugio had changed since I had last journeyed from it.  More Wurmians had moved into the area.  New houses, roads, farms, penned animals, and other things had mutated the landscape ever so steadily.  I constantly searched for familiar landmarks so I would not get lost in the growing "metropolis".  Well, it wasn't really a metropolis, but there certainly was much more activity around me. In Wurm, things are always changing.

As I descended to the water I noticed a small boat fixed out in the bay.  It was a row boat, small compared to many I had seen.  Yet, I thought about the difficulties making such a vessel and felt much respect for those who make difficult things in Wurm.  Some items take days to construct - even weeks if done casually.  One day I would make one I thought as I neared the water - and then I stopped dead in my tracks.  I found the source of the howling.  Off to the right of the road was a wolf!  My trip to the shore was providential as I remembered thinking about a hunt hours earlier.  I could not pass up this opportunity.  Just as I mustered the nerve to run in and attack, I noticed he was behind a fence.  I huffed and walked up along the fence to a gate.  Next to the gate was the corpse of a woman.  Beyond the gate was the pasture where the wolf was.  But at the top where the gate was, there was tar.  This was a very dangerous proposition for me and I knew it.  I would have to descend down to the wolf, lead him up, exit the gate, and stand in tar to heal.  Suddenly, the wolf was not so important.  I would not risk my life to kill a wolf that was faster than me at climbing.  I decided to get the water and hunt another day.  Returning ever so slowly, I must admit I reconsidered the fight, passing the quiet wolf on my left.  Perhaps it was for the best.  After all, I had only fought cats - never dogs, and much less a black wolf!  Honestly, I wasn't even sure I could kill him.  But I comforted myself in the knowledge that one day I would be able to kill a wolf and even a bear!

Just as I passed the wolf, I looked down and saw a black mushroom!  Oh, I had to have it!  Any other player would sacrifice it for a healing cover because it is one of the finest ingredients found in all of Wurm.  But I wanted it for my adventure objective.  They are not commonly found.  Dropping my small barrel of water, I raced to the mushroom.  What was this?  I would have to steal it to get it?  I then realized it was because of the fact that it grew inside a village deed.  Dropping my arms to my side and my head to my chest, I returned to the barrel of water.  I could not steal it, not only because it was unethical but because there was a spirit templar (an NPC guard hired by the deed mayor to protect the deed) standing nearby.  He would kill me if I touched the mushroom.  I retrieved my barrel, collected some tar, and headed back to Refugio.

I took a shortcut through a neighbors unfenced deed.  As I struggled along toting my heavy burden, I suddenly heard the shouts of spirit templars yelling, "I will take care of ......".  Someone had been placed on a kill-on-site (KOS) list by a mayor of a village.  He had given his spirit templars orders to kill that person.  Thankfully, it wasn't me!  It was just then that my mind rehearsed the day.  I saw dead bodies near Refugio, a black wolf wanting to eat me, a forbidden mushroom, a poor soul (perhaps a thief even) being attacked by several spirit entities bent on his death.  Wow - Wurm could be a dangerous place, I thought!  I hastened my steps to Refugio as best as I could.  It was truly my place of refuge!

I emptied my cargo of water and tar and decided to go to bed.  The fire in the forge faded and I was tired from all my work.  What a day it had been and I was thankful to have been alive to see it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 17 - Cat v/s Caveman

I awoke on Day 17 to the sounds of the wind and some birds outside. I had tended to my 2 crop tiles several times and I wanted to tend them again first thing.  Crops in Wurm do not have to be tended.  They will eventually ripen on their own, but that process is faster when tending to them.  Plus, the quality of harvested crops is determined by the player's skill - so that makes tending doubly important.

I exited the cave and stared down to my beautiful crop tiles below the entrance. Just as I glanced down I noticed movement off to the right of the crops which diverted my attention. All of a sudden, out of nowhere came a yellow four-footed beast clawing his way up to me from the grass. I was sure it was that mountain lion I had allowed to live above the cave entrance the day before. He was planning to repay my kindness with his claws and teeth! Quickly stepping to the ledge to keep him below me (which provided me a tactical advantage), I drew my sword and readied my shield. With the cat before me and the entrance to Refugio only 2 tiles behind me, I was resolved and determined to stand my ground. He would not reach the top alive!

Clawing and biting while balancing himself on the steep slope of the raised platform, he fought with an agility and vigor befitting his species. I am ashamed to say he struck me first, clawing me lightly on my right thigh and chest. However, I quickly repaid him with a pierce to his right foreleg. I then aimed to push him with my shield, hoping he would fall down the slope, but he swiftly dodged it. I kicked him in the stomach as I swung my blade to strike his hindleg. I then parried and sliced him in his chest.

I knew I was not in my best form and so I decided to stop and focus, which I did, balancing my feet and soul. Another shield bash sent him sprawling on the ground. Leaping back up he met me again. We exchanged many blows until at last he succombed to his wounds and died. Like a true cavemen, I raised my weapon into the air and bellowed out a mighty roar!

I was wounded with light wounds all over my body, but it appeared I still retained 66 percent of my health. I was happy with the results of the fight.  Not allowing him to rise up to my level on the ground played an important role in the outcome of the battle.  I had not yet created a butchering knife so I decided my carving knife would have to do. But all my effort on the carcass yielded nothing. I buried him right where he laid.

I repaired my sword which took 5 damage from the fight, as well as my shield which took 3. Night was approaching (the days are not as long in Wurm as they are on Earth) and so I put away my sword to light my lantern. I looked at my inventory and it was gone! I ran into Refugio and groped around for a minute to see if I could find it. Lighting the forge for a better view, I checked the large cart, the floor, everywhere. What had happened to my lantern, I thought? I removed 4 different items from the forge and dropped them in front of me to create a pile. I did this in order to make sure the lantern was not under the forge on the floor somewhere. Then, I picked up the pile - but no lantern. My only conclusion was that I had left my lantern lit through the night and it simply decayed on me.  It was frustrating to say the least.

With the forge lit already, I decided to wait for the iron to heat up so I could attempt to make another lantern.  I left the cave once again to tend my crops. It was dark and raining by then, but to my delight, I saw yellow tips on one of the fields. This meant the crop was ready to harvest. I grabbed my rake, tended to both fields, and then chose to harvest the yellow-tipped field. But wait - I could not harvest the crop with the rake. I switched to the sickle but that would not work either! Then I thought, what crop did I plant here? It took me a little bit and then I remembered. I sowed pumpkin in one and oat in the other. I wasn't skilled enough to examine the crop to identify it, but since I could not harvest with the rake, the crop had to have been the oat. All I needed was a scythe, something I had not yet created.

I returned to Refugio with my two smithing assignments.  The lantern was formed on my second attempt and with 16q iron, I was determined to improve it to at least 6 quality. My blacksmithing skill was 5.8. When I had completed the lantern, I removed it from the forge. I kept it in the forge because lanterns had to be improved while they were glowing hot and lanterns, in particular, cool quickly. At once I noticed the higher quality lantern was brighter than my old one. But I still needed to fill it with tar to keep it lit. I retrieved the tar from the bulk bin and filled it. It felt good to reach into the bulk bin to retrieve my supplies rather than having to run around and gather them. I felt like I had a nice little smithing setup with the forge, bulk bin, large anvil, and a small barrel of water all within reach.

I created the scythe blade and attached it to a shaft from the bin. I then placed it in the forge to heat it back to glowing so I could finish it. As I worked on it the thought came to me that I would need the bulk food bin in order to safely store the crops. The bin would be a long task and I did not have time to complete it before going back to bed. What was I to do about the oats, I thought?  If I left them another day, they could possibly turn to weeds and then I would have lost them altogether. I reckoned it was safer to harvest them, knowing they would last for several days in my inventory. I would then plant a different crop, whichever had the most damage in my inventory.  It was then that I began to wish I had leveled more crop tiles.  The seed with the greatest damage in my inventory turned out to be barley, another crop I could use to make dough for bread! That thought excited me. I received 2 oats from the harvest and planted the barley in their place.

By the time I had harvested and replanted, my day was pretty much gone. Returning to Refugio I laid down by the forge, snuffed my lantern (to be sure) and slept. From cat to crops, the day was great overall.  I wondered how long it would take me to complete my quest.  A part of me wondered while another part didn't really care...