Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 16 - Living and Learning

My 16th day dawned with so much that I wanted to do swirling in my head. My bulk bin was complete and I was just eager to fill it. Like a hoarder, I wanted all kinds of materials, supplies, and goods. Making the bin took most of my log supply, so that became my first goal of the morning. I started to exit Refugio and then remembered the lurking goblin I had seen the night before. Where was he? Cautiously I opened the gate and turned my head up towards the cliffs to see if I could get a fix on his position. He must have moved up higher on the rock face because he was gone and I did not see him anywhere near my new crops or the cave entrance.

Another creature had moved in the night. The mountain lion was closer to me and directly above the cave entrance but far enough away that he did not see me. My impulse was to repeat my last cat fight scenario, but I decided I really did not have a need for meat until I could build the food bin. So I let him remain scouting above while I plundered some trees below.

Dropping a tree was a routine task for me by day 16; I hardly even thought about the work. When I had 5-6 new logs I transported them inside and placed them into the bulk bin. Removing 10 scrap wood, I combined them so I could make some kindling and store them into the bin. It was during this task that I learned something new. I usually made kindling with my carving knife, but this method yielded a lot of failures. I decided, almost on a half-thought, to switch to my saw. I then continued making kindling but at a much higher success rate than my carving knife. I remember thinking, "Hum, that's interesting." Just as I had tucked away that thought, another one came to me. I distinctly remembered placing two whole tar into the bin, but there was just one remaining. I sawed on scraps and thought and thought. I knew the quality of items averaged when placed inside the bin. I also knew that partial items (not of full weight) would round to the nearest whole item. But the weights of items in the bin seemed inaccurate. I wasn't so much worried about the weights as I was the quantities. I decided to tuck this thought away as well. I would watch the bin for occurrences and frequencies of Bin Loss, that phenomenon that occurs with bins whereby they lose some of their item quantites - the game creator's choice of fairness given that the items no longer suffered decay.

Placing items in the bin made me realize I really needed to move it to some place other than in front of the lead vein. It was a convenient spot, very next to the forge, but things were looking a bit cramped and I knew the bin graphic would add more boxes and bags to the pile as more items were added. In other words, it would grow and take up more space - something of a premium in my beloved Refugio. I decided the time had come to open a tile next to the lead vein. I would then push the bulk bin over to that spot and create a food bin beside it. Later I would make an oven and place it opposite that tile and next to the forge. This would take days to accomplish but I felt it was worth it.

I mined out the tile in 49 actions and pushed the bin, ever so little, towards the new living space. During a pushing action, I glanced over to check the status of the burning forge. As a result, my push moved the bin closer to the forge. This was because I was facing the forge at the very moment my action completed. The direction one faces at the end of the push or pull will be the direction the item will move. I would remember that and also how strange it was that moving the bin did not cause me to spend any stamina. It was just as well. I gained no body strength either!

By the time I had opened the tile and moved the bin, I experienced another fast. I remember wondering how many I would be allowed to experience before dropping dead of starvation. But I was comforted by the fact that I had no intentions of finding out. Hopefully, a food bin would be constructed to store crops by the time they were ready for harvesting.

After mining some iron and tending to a few base chores, I was tired and decided to call it a day. I knew I could not check off anything from my adventure checklist on day 16, but I felt I laid some great groundwork in preparations for the future. And that is how I spent another wonderful and productive day on Wurm!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 15 - Damage Control

On day 15 I woke with a determination to plant my first crops. I left Refugio and found a few tiles that appeared to be close to flat. I commenced to dropping a tree, digging, and getting the ground just right for the few precious seeds I had foraged.

When I opened my inventory I was taken back by a horrific site. My lantern was at 90 percent damage! Being only 1 quality and keeping it lit as I worked the evening before had really affected the condition of the lantern. Since light was critical to me, I decided I needed to improve it as high as I could and then I needed to watch the damage closely so it did not disintegrate on me unexpectedly. I also decided to snuff it during the day to lower the damage it received overall.

Damage control is always something important in Wurm. This makes the repair skill very important as well. Let me explain. When an item needs to be repaired, the quality of the item is reduced as the condition of the item is returned to a non-damaged state. The higher a person's skill in repairing, the less quality is lost from repairing damage.

Once I had flattened my first tile, I had a decision to make. Which seeds should I plant first? After careful consideration, I decided to plant the pumpkin seed because pumpkins are the heaviest crops. Using them to make meals would increase the weight of the completed meals - making more food. The second tile I flattened would receive my oat grain. My only deciding factor was the decay of it. It was at 90% and I knew it would not likely survive another day in my inventory.

And so I planted my first two crop tiles! I was so excited. Turning, I looked up the mountain and lo and behold, another young mountain lion. I held up the pelt I worked so hard for, winked at it, and returned to the cave. I had more important things to do. Grabbing some of the logs I had just chopped up, I walked up the ramp to Refugio and saw something that made my heart jump out of my chest. There, to the left of the mountain lion was a lurking goblin! I almost dropped the logs. They are mean, strong, and gang up on players. To be sure, I was no match for him! I needed to be careful to always check where he was when I exited. He was not called lurking for nothing!

Item decay is a concern especially with new players because they create lower quality items which decay faster than higher quality items. I was not on a deed and therfore decay was compounded further. I decided that it was expedient for me to attempt a bulk storage bin and a bulk food bin. Even though they were not requirements for my adventure, they would allow me to store items without worrying about losing them to the high decay rates I was suffering from. For example, I could smelt a lot of iron ore and store the lumps in the bulk bin for my smithing sessions. An important feature of the bins is that they average the quality of items stored. If I stored 2 logs of 1 quality and 10 quality respectively, I would have two 5 quality logs in the bin.

Making the bulk storage bin was a long and arduous task. By the time I had completed it, positioned it where I wanted, and placed the items that could be stored in it, I was pretty much set for the day. The food bin would come later. With crops in the ground and items in decay-free storage, I drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 14 - Let There Be Light

Day 14 of my adventure yielded more items; some more important than others. I had slipped into everyday life on Wurm, crafting what I needed and balancing my food needs with my duties as a smith, miner, and carpenter. I added several new items to my inventory, including an all-important lantern! I finally had light at night to replace the one that mysteriously used to surround me when I started this journey.

As I stepped out to get some tar for my lantern, I noticed there had been some work done near Refugio - walls and fences added by the locals. Since my home was behind one of the fence gates, my sponsors must have visited me during the night and left a key to it. I found it in the forge. My goals for day 14 included making farming implements. The rake was absolutely horrific to make due to constant failures attaching the shaft to the rake head. But this was off-set by a first-success on the sickle, which had only a 14% chance of success! Sometimes the success estimates in Wurm seem ridiculously in error. My goal was to take advantage of the added security of the surrounding fence lines and flatten me some crop tiles. But that would be another day.

I made the decision to make chain armor for my armor set requirement. I had lots of iron and felt comfortable in my smithing role. However, this decision would come at a cost. I would need to build my armorsmithing skills to 20 (the maximum I was allowed as a non-premium player) in order to have the option to make the chain jacket. I could have chosen cloth armor, but that would have required cotton - lots of cotton. For time considerations, I felt it would take me less time to make the chain set than the cloth set.

I decided to make some chains and see what kind of percentages I had for some of the easier items. They were all less than 15% but at least the chains did not turn to scrap when I attempted to make items. I made my first boot on my second attempt, but I realized this would be a time-sink project to complete everything as I needed tons of chains. However, it was exciting to think of having some protection, even if the quality would be low. I felt good about my decision.

I felt strangely tired by the end of the smithing work and decided to turn in early. The next day would be a busy one, I thought. I slept comfortably. Another day and night in Refugio.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 13 - Hammering Out My Existence

I woke to a pitch-black Refugio. The wind was blowing and I could hear an owl hooting in the distance. Was this still my 12th day or did I sleep all day long? I could not really tell. Many will agree that the nights in Wurm feel longer than the days. I was quite sore from my unforgettable cat fight but anxious to give my new pelt another assignment. I lit the forge. Assignment! Yes, I had an assignment - goals for my adventure, and quite a bit to check off on this (I called it) day 13.

There comes a time in every Wurmian's mind when a make-shift cave starts to feel like home. Even though I knew my time was limited for this adventure, I kept finding myself reasoning out where I would put things and how I could expand Refugio to give me more elbow room. There were a few giddy moments which I am too manly to reveal, but needless to say, I loved Refugio and thought I might want to secure it for myself at some future time. To suffice my cravings, I decided I would open a few more tiles in the near future to make room for storage space.

With the pelt, I continued crafting a shovel I had started a few days prior. As I was polishing the (real) shovel, the thought of completing a hammer came to mind. How was I going to make a hammer if I needed a hammer to complete a hammer? When the shovel completed after just a single polish attempt, the answer came to me. I would need to make hammers until I could complete one without having the hammer action requirement. It took many attempts as my forge filled with unfinished hammers needing a hammer. But eventually, it happened this way...

  • I crafted a hammer head which was completed on the first try.
  • I combined it with a shaft and created an unfinished hammer that required tempering with water.
  • I tempered the unfinished hammer and it required sharpening, though I had no idea why.
  • I sharpened the unfinished hammer and it required tempering again.
  • I tempered the unfinished hammer and it was successfully completed.
The hammer opened up a whole host of smithing opportunities. Before the day was gone I had made a frying pan, a file, and a needle. A butchering knife became the headache of day 13. Each failure consumed 1.1k of precious iron ore and I failed many, many times! Perhaps my hunger and nutrition levels were affecting my success rate, I thought. I stopped smithing and went outside to gather some vegetables. I had a frying pan, I may as well have used it. The one piece of cooked cat meat produced two fillets which I fillet with, of all things, the carving knife. I made 4 casseroles and my first meal on Wurm. The meal was scrumptuous to say the least! While they cooked I made lye out of water and ashes. Once I had eaten, somehow the butchering knife was not as important as a full belly and a good night's sleep. And so I slept.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 12 - A Pelting for a Pelt

I woke up feeling the need to refill my log supply. Stepping out into the forest, I chose a nice aged pine and began chopping it down. When the tree fell to the ground, I repaired my axe and began making logs. When the log pile was completed, I toted them inside Refugio. On my last trip to bring in the wood, I turned and glanced up to the cliffs above. There, many tiles up the mountain was the figure of a cat! It was a young mountain lion, but what I mostly saw was a chance for a pelt!

He was high up, really high. But not too high that I could not see him and know what he was. I thought if I could remove all my items from my inventory, I might be able to climb up the rock face to lead him down. But I had to be careful! If I dropped to the bottom and was injured, I would not be able to duck into Refugio to heal. But if I could get him down to the cave, I could step out, fight, duck in, heal, and repeat until he was dead. I decided it was worth the try.

I placed all my gear into the large cart and scaled the rock face towards the mountain lion. Slowly I climbed, rehearsing what I was to do the moment the cat moved towards me. And then he did! I watched as he carefully descended. I waited until he was close enough for me to hear his breath, then I released myself from the climb and rolled my way down to the grass below. Immediately I looked at the cliff. Where was he? Was he still coming for me? No, he had stopped and was staring down as if he thought I wasn't worth the effort to kill. I climbed up to the flat tile in front of the mine entrance. I was winded, but with much determination I climbed up again to coax him further towards me. He moved towards me and as I released my grip to fall, his left paw grazed my hand. I tumbled past the entrance and onto the grass below. My hand had a minor cut and I was hurting a bit from the bruises. But by then, the cat had made his way to within a few tiles from the cave. I needed to get inside to heal. Slowly I climbed towards the entrance and darted inside as I saw the cat moving once again.

I was safe but in no condition to fight. I lit the forge and decided I needed a shield and a better sword. The mountain lion would not wait forever so I knew I didn't have time to do very much crafting. I took some iron lumps to make my first small metal shield. If it had been unfinished I would need the living pelt outside to finish it! Fortunately, it came out completed. My attempts to make a long sword were not so successful. They kept coming out unfinished. One did come out finished, but with a 14% chance of success, it was not a surprising failure.

And so I was ready for battle with my small shield and short sword. By then my wounds were gone. The time had come to step outside. When I rounded the corner to head outside I realized it was dark, very dark. Night had fallen and I had no source of light. I stepped out into the night and heard a feline war-cry! He raced down to meet me and as I lifted my sword in defense, he leaped inside the cave! Now, I was on the outside and he was on the inside! I opened the gate as he turned towards me, clawing and biting as I was kicking, slicing, and bashing. The fight seemed endless. But when I reached less than 50% health, he clawed me once more before collapsing at my feet. Exhausted, wounded, and bloody, I shuffled over to the large cart to get my butchering knife.

NO! Oh, I had not made one! But the pelt, I needed it in one piece. Reluctantly I grabbed my crude knife. Looking at the worn handle and stone blade, I turned and walked to the dead cat. Dropping to my knees, I carefully sliced on the pelt trying to remove it. With the flames flickering against the cave walls, I sliced the last section of the pelt from the cat, taking a piece of his flesh with it. I dropped the knife and held up the pelt in my bloody hands. Though I had submitted my body to a pelting from the mointain lion, he submitted his body for the pelt I then held up against the cave wall. It was a fair trade I thought. He fought nobly and I would cherish his pelt for many days.

I returned to the forge and placed the single piece of meat into it. It was there that I became proud of the crude knife that was still lying disrespectfully on the cave floor. The pelt was a beauty - and a quality of 33! My first tool had provided me my latest one. I walked over to the lonely knife and wiping the stone blade, I placed it honorably into the cart that would become its temporary casket. I knew it would be the last time I would ever need it.

I removed the cooked meat from the forge and laid in front of it while I ate meat and stroked the soft pelt. A small release of air from the carcass of the cat reminded me of my struggle. But I wasted no time utilizing the pelt as a blanket to cover my wounds. That night, as I laid by the forge and watched the hypnotic dancing of the flames against the cave, I thought once again that life was good.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 11 - A Grueling Decision

Day 11 brought a realization that sent shivers down my spine. I had awakened to find that my locked large cart had been moved - yes moved! I immediately checked for tracks on the floor but found none. I raced through the cave to check for disturbances. Two rock shards lay scattered next to the iron. They were 1.0 quality which told me that the intruder was likely a new player. Someone had been there! I was thankful that my cart had not been stolen, but I was mad - no scared! No, both! The lock only protected the items inside the cart, but it would not prevent someone from dragging the cart away from me. And what of Refugio? Someone could come up and make a door, effectively blocking me from my home! My adventure did not require deeding a homestead; that was not an option for me. I thought, I have to lug this cart around or else I have to make a 1x1 house and lock it just to keep the cart safe. I lit the forge and just thought...

I did not want to spend the time to make a shack because it would delay me from my goals. I did not want to have to drag my cart around with me because it would limit my mobility. I started this journey to see if I could start with (almost) nothing and see how long it would take me to obtain a list of supplies and gear that I felt would be challenging, fun, and memorable. I thought long and hard and came to a grueling decision.

I contacted my sponsors and requested that an experienced Stone Mason come to Refugio and create for me small stone walls around the entrance to the cave. I also requested that he make an iron fence, lock it, and create a copper key for me. This would protect Refugio much better and allow me to safely journey abroad without fear of losing precious accomplishments. It would not prevent someone from tunneling into Refugio from another entrance on the rock face, but I did not feel that reinforcing the walls was necessary at that point. My only other option would have been to create a small building, but it would not protect Refugio from someone coming up and putting a door on it - effectively capturing my home. This decision was a difficult one for me. I feared that the recent increase in activity in and around my cave would eventually present potential issues that would threaten my adventure.

My sponsors made quick work putting up the new "security system" for Refugio. I now had a copper key that had to be kept on my person at all times. The original key was placed in a safe location elsewhere in the event that I lost the copper copy. Feeling much safer, I set my attention back to my goals.

I had some items that needed attention or else they would decay. My calf hide would not last long in my large cart. I had heard that the old-timers knew how to wrap items using wood scraps. I took a scrap of wood and wrapped the hide into a giftbox. I named the box "calf hide". The hide would be safe inside the giftbox and would not decay. I then placed it into the cart. Some items, like meals, could not be wrapped, but this was a safe way to store my precious calf hide.

I spent the rest of the day inside Refugio. I had water and food, and I had so much to make and sort out. It was the first night I actually slept knowing all my work would be safe. I was almost ready to go hunting for a pelt!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 10 - So Much to Do

I woke after just a few hours of sleep. I think I was just too excited to spend much time resting. I left Refugio and began foraging and botanizing as I made my way through the fog to the area where the peat was. During my botanizing I found a most excellent resource, a wemp seed. If I could plant it, I would have enough to make ropes, which were necessary to lead animals. I shoveled some tar and headed to get some clay. I wanted enough clay to make a forge. The clay cost me a shovel but it was well worth it. I collected a little more in case I lost some through failure attempts with the forge. I needed to fill my water supply before heading back to Refugio. As I squatted at the water's edge, something off to my left caught my eye. It was dark but I could see something against the night sky. Oh my, it was a young calf! Oh if I only had a rope! I didn't so I could not claim him for my own, but I could sacrifice him to my short sword for some skill and possibly some body parts and meat! I had not had meat in 10 days. I decided it was time for my first fight.

That little guy was quite a challenge for my unskilled hands and cheap sword. But after a long fight he dropped dead. He left me wounded with my health down to 65%, but my wounds were light and I knew they would heal fairly quickly. I used my crude knife to butcher him and obtained a single piece of meat, an eye, a foot, some animal fat, and a calf hide. The animal fat was deemed most important for with it I could make farmers salve, a great paste for bruises. All I had to do was mix it with garlic. I could also tan the hide by mixing water with some of my camp fire ashes I had been saving. The lye would turn the hide into leather. And I could not wait to cook the meat! I could make a real meal with it! I started to head back to Refugio and noticed my speed was considerably slower. It was because of my wounds. Nevertheless, I made my way back to Refugio excited and eager.

Upon my return I set about to make the forge. The foundation of it was successful on my third attempt. I had lots of rocks lying about the cave from which I could make the bricks. Attaching 10 bricks and 10 clay produced my working forge. I decided to position the forge directly in front of the down shaft to the iron. It would not prevent someone from getting by, but I thought perhaps it would create the illusion of a smaller cave with just a forge made for the purpose of collecting lead. This I hoped would help hide my iron source.

I started to work on a whole list of new items: a large anvil, some flasks, a frying pan, a clay shaper, a spatula, a small barrel, a bucket; many things I would need to complete my quest. As I mined iron ore to fill the forge so it could be smelted into lumps, a looming task was heavy on my mind. I needed a pelt for improving some of my blacksmithing items. In fact, some items would likely not be made without one. The only creatures I could hope to kill for one would be rats, which spawn largely in caves but can also be found near trash heaps, the spawn for rats. I would need to spend some time away from Refugio and that made me very nervous. I was not skilled enough to place a door on the mine. Therefore, I would have to make a large cart to secure my precious belongings against theft. As in real life, not everyone has noble intentions.

The large cart was fairly grueling to make. The yoke required almost a full log with each attempt and I probably failed about 20 times. When I reached the last wooden item to add to the cart, I had a decision to make. In Wurm, the wood type of an item is not determined until the last wooden item has been attached. That meant I could make the large cart out of pinewood but attach a cedarwood shaft for the final wood piece and the cart would be cedar. I wanted to make the cart out of something different than cedar, which is commonly used because it helps prevent decay. I decided to use a lemonwood shaft so that the cart would be special; and so I created my large lemonwood cart. I made a large padlock and attached it. At least nobody could steal anything from inside of it. I felt very secure leaving Refugio to seek my pelt. I would simply pack up everything that would fit in the cart, and then I could leave it. But a pelt hunt would be another day. I was drained from all the work I had done. I slept by the forge that night. It was sweet to be sure!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 9 - Light, Lead, and Limitations

When I woke up on day 9 of my journey, I immediately set about to mine the next tile. I had 3 water jars, but 2 were empty. After I had mined about half way through, I decided to get some foraged food and replenish my water supply. I stepped outside the cave and was met with an eerie darkness. What! What happened to that aura of light that had surrounded me since my first day? It was gone...

This added another variable to my survival equation. I would have to create a light source if I planned to travel at night. The darkness in Wurm was really dark. Actually, a shaft dipped in tar with a bit of moss would do nicely to make a torch, but for one important thing: I needed the steel and flint to light it! No, I would not do it!!!

I needed to forage and I needed water. Since I was somewhat familiar with the area and had not seen any wild animals, I decided to light a camp fire near the cave entrance and take the chance of venturing out a bit for my needs. First, I had to drop another tree for fire wood. Once the fire was lit I clutched my short sword and entered the blackness of the night. I returned with blueberries, onions, and some herbs. I made a few casseroles, ate, and then headed back out to get water. The casseroles were increasing in quality but not as fast as my exertion against my nutrition. In short, I was not eating as fast as I was burning energy. It looked like I would either fast again or I would have to spend more time foraging. My mining efforts were more important to me so I decided to spend another fat later and fast. I needed to start thinking about more than foraged food. As soon as my iron was secured, I would make some tools and begin farming some crops!

I reached the tile where I would turn left down towards the iron. As that tile opened, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise, the lead tile! Here is where I found it.

L O O O O O O O
O O O O O O O
O O O O O O
O O O E O O
O O I
O

My next 3 tiles needed to slope downward, so I continued working my way towards the iron I so desperately needed. As I mined I studied a dilemma I knew I was facing. Once the iron was found, I could make everything - the forge, oven, storage bins, a cart - pretty much everything I needed for my challenge. But there was one critical thing I lacked. I could not light the forge, light the oven, or even light a lantern without a flint and steel. Both would be nearly impossible for me to create. I could create large wood piles to generate the charcoal I needed for steel, but they required a steel and flint to light them. I could also obtain charcoal from a lava spider. But, I would never be able to kill one with such low fighting skills and no armor. So I could not get steel. Flint could be obtained by mining, but it was very, very, very rare. I did not have time to mine for it. I could also get flint from a lava fiend. But again, I would never be able to kill one. And so, I realized I would be unable to create a flint and steel as a non-premium character limited to 20.0 skill. The whole thought saddened me greatly. I had created everything in my inventory. I was advancing to my goal - but for that most important thing: the steel and flint. If only I could rummage for steel and flint. How marvelous it would be!

And so I succumbed to the inevitable decision to take my pristine steel and flint and put it to use as I required it. I also succumbed to another fast. I mined until I had finally opened to the iron vein. Stepping out of the cave for a breath of fresh air, I realized I had mined all the night. The morning was thick with fog. I was tired but my goals were now within reach. Retreating from the fog, I laid down for a rest in the Refugio.

Day 8 - More Tools More Time

I spent day 8 in and around the cave which I had affectionately called Refugio. Understanding that an ore tile (I believed it to be iron) was to the left of my entrance, I needed to do some mining in order to expose it. Considering the rock face and the number of tiles, I had the following plan.

O O O O O O O O
O O O O O O O
O O O O O O
O O O E O O
O O I
O

I entered at the "E". It was the only other tile that was low enough for me to open and use for an entrance. The "I" was the location of the ore tile, which I eventually determined to be iron. The red "O" path was my plan to get to the ore tile. The last three tiles would need to be mined down so that I would be low enough to stay underground and not upset the dirt above. This was a tedious plan. Each tile would require roughly 50 mining actions. I was able to perform a mining action in roughly 20 seconds. Clearly, this would take a while, so I paced myself.

All the day was spent mining, foraging, botanizing, cooking, eating, and mining again. I did manage to smelt my iron lumps and using my existing tools, I made an iron stone chisel, a grindstone, and my most important tool of the day, a short sword! At the end of day 8 I had managed to come within 3 tiles of my objective. It was a monotonous day but a fulfilling one. All the work was worth it to me though. Finding an iron tile almost immediately was truly a miracle of sorts. I needed that tile to meet most of the objectives of my journey. So I focused all my efforts around that task.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 7 - An Extended Stay Begins

Awaking from my bed of peat, I decided to act upon my impulses from the evening before and find a place to make my own. I remembered the ledge where I had spent some time earlier in my journey. Foraging and botanizing as I went, I eventually returned to that place. It was wooded with gently rolling hills and there were many cliff rock tiles. This was important because if I was going to create a cave home for myself, I didn't want to make it in just any cleft in the rock. I wanted there to be resources available nearby. By using my pickaxe I could prospect the rock face to see if I could detect any resources. What I needed was iron. To my wonderful surprise, I prospected iron and lead (useful for boat anchors) nearby. I was standing on the very ledge I had been at before. What a coincidence! It was decided then - I would make my home here.

The tile I decided to tunnel into looked more like the shape of a diamond than a cave entrance. If more of the rock face had been exposed and I had enough skill, I could have mined the top corners of the tile to make them more level before tunneling into the rock. The floor corners would likely be more level once I opened the face of the rock. But I was in a survival situation and being "pretty" was not an option at that point. I decided to begin tunneling and hoped the opening would be negotiable.

After only a few tunneling actions, I understood that the rock was too hard at the location to mine an entrance. Initially I was aggravated, but then a thought came to me. Perhaps this exact tile is a resource tile. If this were true, I knew exactly where either the iron or the lead vein was located. This was exciting! But then I needed to find another place to open my new home that was close enough to the ground for me to enter. I did not yet have enough digging skill to do much terraforming.

At about 45 mining actions, I noticed that I would soon create an entrance. It was dark and beginning to rain when I finally broke through. The cave wasn't very deep; I would need to mine more, but I was happy to be out of the rain. I decided to go ahead and mine a second tile and then a third. I would turn towards the ore tile once I had made myself a sufficient place to walk around. Mid way through my second interior tile, something plopped off of the wall onto the ground. It was a diamond! It was only 1.0 quality, but I didn't care. I picked it up and placed it into my inventory. Gems were fairly rare. Into the night I mined my little cave.

I grew very hungry and when my nutrition reached about 8 percent, I was simply too weak to mine. Soon I fasted though and was able to complete the next tile. I decided to sleep in my new cave that night. I felt safe and very comfortable.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 6 - Ideas and Decisions

I woke to a splendid 6th day even though it appeared I must have accidentally kicked my campfire in the night. It had been snuffed, meaning I had no ashes. The only way I was going to use it again was to use my steel and flint, and that was simply out of the question. I moved to another spot on the peat and made a new campfire so I could be warm while I figured out what I would do next. Obviously, I was going to make some more tools, but which?

I made a saw on my second attempt. It was strange, actually. I was beginning to feel almost comfortable in my efforts to make things. I guess I felt like it didn't matter as much if I failed making a tool because I had acquired enough to remove the feeling of being vulnerable. Maybe it was because I didn't have to hunt for branches any more. Oh, if I never saw another branch it would be too soon! Maybe it was the fact that my nutrition was up to 45 percent from all the hot casseroles I was feeding myself. Anyway, it felt good to be in charge of my day.

Having more tools in my inventory, especially the anvil, made me realize I could not hope to continue travelling around toting all my gear. I shed some unnecessary items - things I could now easily make. But what I needed was a safe place to "live" for a while. I needed a cave! Turning out a pickaxe head rather quickly, and turning to see an old pine, I reached for my new hatchet. I noticed the anvil and the other real tools suffered damage with each use. I therefore took extra precaution to repair my tools as often as they needed it. This was good practice for two reasons. First, they would be less likely to shatter on me if their damage was low. And second, repairing would increase my skill in, well, repairing.

Taking my first whack at the pine tree, I examined it to find that I did 20% damage. This meant I would have to hit it about 5 times to drop the tree. Once the tree was on the ground, I could use the hatchet again on the felled tree to create logs. From the logs I could make a shaft for my pickaxe head. Once the tree fell and I had logs, I no longer used peat in the fire. My shovel was still an unrepairable item, but I had unlimited wood now, so I needed to save it for clay later on. And then I had a most wonderful thought. I had an unlimited supply of shafts from logs, and shovel blades from the iron rocks! I could easily make more crude shovels until I could make a large anvil for a real shovel. I felt so industrious!

Looking at the crude knife in my hand gave me another idea. Why not make a short sword so I could have protection and maybe even some meat? Ideas and decisions were fluttering about my brain with many new options being opened to me. Every action gave me more skill; every tool more options. I felt as if the rest of my journey would be a breeze compared to my first five days.

Returning from my second trip getting logs I also realized I had no reason to stay at the peat. I could support a campfire anywhere there was wood. However, I was working so hard to get wood and make tools that my food intake was not keeping up with my hunger. Even though I did not want to fast again, I realized it was inevitable. Night fell and rather than walking back to my ledge from two days before, I decided to spend one more night on the peat-bed. Day six came to an end and I felt pretty confident. Life was so good.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 5 - My Name is Smith

In the morning I awoke to the feeling of cold iron against my skin. Some time during the night my subconscience must have thought it was a good idea to move that anvil from the clutches of my arms to the nap of my neck. I disagreed. Sitting up, I was suddenly reminded that I did a lot of climbing the day before. My back and legs were stiff and I felt like returning to my bed of grass minus one cold anvil. But all of those feelings soon left me as my mind reminded me of the possibilities of greater exploits. And so I rose to greet the day.

My campfire had long died to ashes and so I scooped them up and added them to those I had obtained before. In the night one of the bowls of stew overturned and was wasted, and the other was wholly unpalatable. It tasted funny and so I refused to eat it. Standing on my cliff-side perch, I decided to take inventory of what I had to determine what I needed. Looking over my gear yielded the following: 4.5kg of scrap iron, 12kg of woodscraps, 2 small nails and 2 large ones, a small anvil, 2.5kg of clay, 3 pottery jars of water - 1 empty, 3 pottery bowls containing various herbs, nuts, and other foraged items, a pickaxe head, a shovel, a wooden spindle, 3 crude knives - two in my hands, a mallet head, a fishhook, 3 shovel blades, a mallet, 5 healing covers, and my pristine steel and flint. And oh, I had some rock shards too heavy to carry.

My first chore was to forage and botonize enough food to sustain me for the day as well as to obtain 5 branches. This took several hours to do and when I had obtained the food and branches, I decided it was time to relocate to the peat rather than bring the peat up to where I was. I needed a carving knife, a pickaxe, a hatchet, and any other tools I could make. I needed lots of fuel. And so I made my way over to the peat and created my campfire. With unlimited fuel, I made shafts while my food cooked and my ore heated up. From a shaft I made a few handles for my carving knife attempts. My plan was to remain there until the tasks were done.

The carving knife came on my third attempt and I was so happy to have it! My next goal was a hatchet. My thought was, if I could fashion a hatchet, I would forever be rid of the need for branches. Attempting to create the hatchet head was a grueling exercise in patience. Every time I failed, the 1.5kg scrap had to cool below glowing before I could place it back in the campfire to turn into a lump for another try. I heard that old-timers would always keep a barrel handy inside an unlit forge and would use it to quickly cool scrap metals. Unfortunately, I had neither the barrel nor the forge.

In a moment of cooling boredom, I decided to do some rummaging for more iron and added enough ore to permit 4 tries per session for the hatchet. Day turned into night as I patiently worked the campfire and the iron lumps. Blacksmithing was so painful with .01 quality ore and a 1.0 quality anvil.

During my last set of 4 tries, I finally made the hatchet head. My heart almost stopped. Selecting a whole, fresh shaft, I took the hatchet head and saw a depressing number. I had a 38% chance to make that hatchet. Words cannot describe how I felt as I watched the progress bar inch closer to completion. I held my breath as it went closer, closer, and closer still to 100%. To my utter shock and total amazement - my hatchet appeared! Collapsing in utter exhausion, I embraced my new hatchet and drifted off into a wonderful sleep.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 4 - The Early Bird Gets the Shovel and the Anvil

I woke up around 2AM on day 4 of my journey. The night was cold and I guess I just could not sleep. Feeling over to my right I immediately found a branch! I decided to go ahead and reach for my knife to see if I could get a shaft for the shovel I needed. I was too groggy to be successful but too excited to go back to sleep. I started poking around in the dark (well, I did have a faint light glowing about me) to see if I could find another. I soon did and my decision to get up and poke around paid off wonderfully! My shovel was to be had on the first attempt of the day!

Having another shovel changed my entire outlook. I was immediately wide awake and my mind raced to review the steps I would need to take to get the most out of my new tools and new opportunities. I had passed peat along the road two days before. I need fuel for a fire so that I could smelt the iron rock to lumps. Off I went to get some.

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that during my 4 days of this journey, I was never lost. I knew where I was and I remembered where critical resources were located. This is an important survival tip. Being alone is one thing, but being alone and lost is another! My decision to remain in places familiar to me kept me safe from unnecessary death, at least for the first few days. Even so, I decided to wield my extra crude knives in my right hand and my left as weapons - just in case.

Before leaving the peat, I stepped over to the water to replenish my jars. Then I made my way back to my day camp, a ledge on the edge of a cliff face in a dense wooded area. I had left my iron rocks and some other items so that I could carry the weight of just 3 peat. Upon returning, I built a campfire and placed 10 iron rocks inside. While they were smelting, I created another bowl with my leftover clay and made a casserole and some stew while I waited.

My goal was to create a small anvil, from which all my other real tools would come. Smelting the 10 iron rocks produced the 2kg of ore I needed to give my mallet some work to do. I was surprised to see a 42% chance of success, but not really surprised when I failed. A ritual began at that moment. It went something like this: Prepare 2 casseroles and fuel the fire with peat. Run to the cliff and collect iron rocks. Return to the campfire, drop in the rocks, and eat the casseroles. Repeat same until I had an anvil. Climbing up always uses more stamina than climbing sideways. Therefore, once I was high enough, rather than climbing higher for more tiles to rummage, I traversed sideways along the cliff and thus was able to collect more iron per trip. Maintaining a horizontal path along the rock face required very little stamina drain.

My second attempt to create the anvil also failed. By then I learned that the campfire was consuming 10 iron rocks and 1 peat per attempt. I only had 1 peat remaining, and so I added the third set of iron rocks, ate my food, and waited. Failure again! The iron scrap produced from my first two attempts were added to the third, removed from the campfire, and then returned when they were not glowing hot. Reheating them again produced more ore but at a much lower quality. At this point, I really did not care about quality. In addition, the scraps of ore retained their original weight and mass, meaning I could use them again to try for the anvil. Ironically (no pun intended), the first scrap-turned-into-ore was a success and I had my anvil!

Between the third attempt and my scrap attempt, I ran to the peat to get more fuel, frantically hoping my fire would not die before I got back. I placed a fresh peat on the fire just in time, and well, you know how my scrap ore attempt went! I was so excited. Climbing again, I obtained some more iron rocks for smelting. But there was still much use for the iron scraps. Again, letting them cool, I returned return them to the flames and use the ore for making tools. I didn't worry about improving the anvil because it would get damaged anyway each time I used it. Besides, I knew it would not get below 1.0 quality, and repairing it was something I knew how to do. The scraps served me well. I made a few small nails and a few large ones. My next chore however, was to make a carving knife. I labored over that campfire all day and into the night. My efforts produced the anvil, four nails, and some good skill in smithing, repairing, and hot food cooking - but no carving knife. When at last the peat was consumed, I decided to call it a day - and what a day it had been! Placing my important items in my inventory, I slept by the fire until morning. Tomorrow would be another day of smithing!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 3 - Sticks and Stones

On my third day I determined to collect more branches in order to begin making some very necessary tools for myself. Of course, I needed another shovel, but there were other tools I could make with my limited resources. I rummaged a few rock shards and constructed a batch of 5 shovel blades against the enevitable failures I would experience during the day. But my first few branches were used to create mallet heads so that I could construct a mallet as well. This would require a shaft, which provided enough wood for 5 heads minus failures, and also another unused shaft for attaching the handle. As you can imagine, there were as many failures in creating the mallet on that day as their were with my original shovel the day before. But by then, I was growing accustomed to failure as a means of success and a part of life in Wurm.

When I finally created the mallet, I was actually amazed that I had done it. The mallet is something I would need to create other tools with. It was as important to me as the shovel. That was next on my list, and so I continued foraging for more branches.

The casseroles I had eaten the day before did little to satisfy my hunger. Rather than fasting I tried to just keep my belly full with the many berries and herbs I was foraging and botanizing. While my nutrition dropped to a woeful 12 percent, at least I was not losing fat layers. I also reasoned that a full stomach might just contribute to more successful crafting efforts.

As I foraged and botanized (yes, I finally decided to start botanizing again), my mind wandered to thoughts of "better." It is inevitable in Wurm that one seeks to obtain "better." Then I thought that perhaps if I rummaged for better iron and better rock, I might make a better knife upon which I could have better success! This short diversion in thought and action yeilded another knife with a little better quality. I would use the better and keep the other two for spares.

Night fell on day 3 with not much to speak of my day's work. But, my belly was quite full, I had a new tool, the mallet, and two more knives. I decided to get a good night's sleep and start first thing in the morning. Life was still good.

Day 2 - Part 2 - Clay at Last!

No! No! No! I shrank in my own misery as I tried in vain to dig into the clay. It was on a slope and my skill at digging was too low to obtain it. Turning in utter frustration and with a fevered sweat forming on my brow, I searched to find some piece of Wurm that was flat - any piece, I didn't care where! I found a fence with one section torn down. Beyond it was a once protected meadow. I surmised that it was an old place, undeeded, and long abandoned. I shoveled a few loads of dirt, transporting them and dumping them onto the clay - yes, on the clay! Doing this at the lowest corner of the clay tile raised the clay a bit on that corner, making the tile more level. Then I had a better idea. My skill in digging was only 1.0 meaning that I could only dig a maximum of 3 slope (3 times my level). I had to find a flat tile, dig a corner, drop the dirt back into the same spot, and dig it again. In this way the tile would remain flat until my skill was good enough to get the clay I needed. I estimated the clay slope to be around 15. That meant my skill in digging had to be at least 5. I set my goal for 6 and shoveled for quite a while, reaching 6 just before dark. Finally, I was able to obtain clay, but now my precious shovel had almost 60 percent damage and it couldn't be repaired. Clearly, I needed to craft some real tools as soon as possible. But for now it was good enough for my needs.

My mind raced with decisions on which task to accomplish next. It was now dark and the frogs were croaking frantically along the shore. I wanted a jar for water and a bowl for cooking, so that became my next goals. Taking some of the clay into my hands, I fashioned 3 jars and 3 bowls.

Remembering those broken shafts, I knew I had wood scrap. I combined them and using my knife, I created a piece of kindling. Rubbing the kindling and the scraps together would allow me to make a campfire using friction. I would not use the flint and steel. But what I would need was a log for fuel. Some trees produce just one log, and the shovel can be used to chop it down. Before I lit the campfire, I need such a log.

Using the shovel, I obtained two pine logs from young pine trees. In practice, one should really not cut down trees that are young. The aged and very old trees yield much more wood. But this is survival and I needed a log, not a whole felled tree that I could not chop up into logs. Ideally, a fruit tree would have also yielded a single log. But there were no fruit trees around me and sometimes in survival, the best practice is not always practical or available. Obtaining the logs put an end to my precious shovel. Every tool takes some damage each time it is used. While normal tools can be repaired and even improved, crude tools and beginner tools cannot. It shattered and I was left without it. But I had wood, 3 clay jars, and 3 clay bowls. Now I needed to make a camp fire and place the clay items inside so they could dry and be usable. While the clay items were baking, I used the knife on one of the logs, producing a spindle and a fish hook. I would need those later. The rest of the logs I surrendered to the flames. Once the bowls and jars were done, I baked three casseroles in the bowls from the various fruits and herbs I found. I ate the casseroles and watched the flames die to ashes. In survival, everything matters. I collected the ashes into a bowl for use later in my journey. Day two was long and hard. My shovel gave me food, fire, and a full belly. And even though I knew I had to go forage for more branches so I could make a shovel again, life was still good! Another day in the land of Wurm.

Day 2 - Part 1 - Foraging, Failures, and Fasting, Oh My!

Day two of my adventure found me laying in a bed of grass by the shoreline. I awoke to find a lingonberry and a nettle decayed in my pocket and so I discarded them. It was really foolish of me to sleep without taking care of the more perishable items from the previous day. Looking over the items I had left, I decided to immediately create some healing covers (HC) out of some nettles and rosemary. Not only did I need the covers for future mending, the HC's have little to no decay qualities. Another day in my pocket and the nettles and rosemary would have been useless anyway. My choice to blend these two items proved successful and I added another HC to my inventory. With nettles being a power of 3 and rosemary a 4 out of a possible 5 potency, this second healing cover will be more successful at tending my future wounds. I created one more with my remaining nettle and some sage, bringing my total to 3 important medical items.

Standing to my feet from where I had slept the night before I turned to take in my surroundings. It was then that I noticed only a few feet away was a spider lair! Now the spiders in Wurm are nothing to be compared with planet Earth. They are huge, almost man-sized hunters, and they could easily kill a weak adventurer such as myself. I wasn't too worried about them because I knew they could not swim and I was close to the shoreline. I could jump in, swim down the beach, and come out to safety. But I needed to be extremely aware of the surrounding area as I continued my search for another precious birch branch. The spiders had made their lair out of birchwood, so I was confident I would find a branch for my much-needed shovel.

I knew it! Searching up against that spider lair, I found another branch. Since there is always a danger of a spider spawning near the lair, I decided to continue for a few more minutes to see if I could obtain another branch, but then move on. I eventually did find a second as I cought the sounds of a blacksmith plying his trade somewhere in the distance. Looking up from the grass tiles I noticed it was getting dark. I must have slept longer than I had thought.

My pace quickened as I realized I was getting very hungry. I had not eaten in two days and my stomach was quickly approaching a fasting condition. All the while I was making my way closer to the clay I had seen on the shore. The clay would provide me a jar for water and a bowl for some hot food!

A clap of thunder averted me from my plan to obtain a third branch. It started to rain and I decided it was about time to get to the shore and see about making the shovel. As I whittled away on one of the branches, I successfully created a shaft from which I could attach the shovel blade. But I noticed I only had a 28% chance of success. As it happened, the flimsy shaft broke and I was left with nothing - no shovel blade and no shaft! Letting out a sign of frustration, I checked to see if I had enough rock to create another blade. I did, but I only had one branch left. Eventually, another blade; another shaft; another attempt at making the shovel; and another failure! Survival in Wurm is sometimes harsh and can feel totally unfair. With the rain pouring down and my stomach feeling tight, I fasted in the darkeness along the shore - no shovel, no containers, no food, and no fire. No food? Well, I did have several berries and some herbs. I could have eaten them by themselves, but they provide extremely low nutrition and do not really fill the stomach. But if I could combine them into a casserole, that would sustain me nicely! At that point, I was willing to hold out for the better food.

All of the foraging and botanizing I was doing to obtain my supplies increased my skill in these areas. Skills are the measure of the man in Wurm! Every tick on every skill is important with some being more important than others. I noticed also that flat grass tiles tended to be picked clean of items more frequently than sloped ones. Something else was increasing all that time - my inventory count. When it reached 99 I had a decision to make. Lacking containers, I had to discard something to make room for the branches. Since lingonberry was the most abundant item I found, I dropped my supply of 22. My search for branches and my attempts to make that precious shovel were both long chores. I even abandoned botanizing the tiles I found. The branches were just too important to me and I wanted to waste no time. After many attempts, that blessed shovel finally appeared in my inventory! Oh, I could have kissed it! The most important tool for me in my moment of dispair had finally been produced!

Thinking nothing of my own safety, I dashed down the hill I had been combing, bruising my right hand as I braced against a downward slide. I didn't care though. Bruises heal on their own. I just wanted to use that shovel to get some clay and get on with my adventure. I imagined I felt like some poor hungry and lost soul finally making it to a source of food. It was invigorating to say the least. I swam part way to the little clay spot that protruded from the water near the shore. I lovingly gripped my new shovel - on to the clay!

Day 1 - My First Tool

Hello all! Surviverman here with the start of my adventure in the lands of Wurm. I will begin my adventure not from the beginnings of Golden Valley, where I was taken through a series of tutorials, but at the portal that led me and took me to the Freedom Isles.

As I was whisked away to the Freedom server I thought about the adventure that lay ahead of me. My very first objective upon arriving at The Howl, the starter deed on Freedom, was to make my way to the home of my sponsors. There, I was instructed to deposit all my starter equipment in the mailbox. The starter shovel and rake would not fit, so I dropped them by the box. The only thing that remained in my inventory was my steel and flint. Though I am required to take it with me on my journey, I will attempt not to use it. This means the only way I am going to light a forge or oven is to create my own down the road. Hopefully I will be able to do that at some point.

The trip to my sponsor's deed (the other characters I play in Wurm) took my water down to 60%. Just as in real-life survival, food and water are almost immediate concerns. I decided to start foraging and botanizing grass tiles as I made my way to the edge of the Dragon Fang mountain. I was able to pick up some very critical first supplies by doing this. Most importantly, the sage and parsley I botanized allowed me to create a very important item: a healing cover! This would be useful should I encounter an animal that left me with a medium-level or higher injury.

Reaching the cliff, I climbed up a few tiles and began rummaging. I was looking for two very important items. Iron rock is a crude form of iron that I could use to fashion my first primitive tool. I did find 3 of them and eventually located the second item - a rock shard. Attempting to combine these items to create a crude knife took four attempts. Just as I completed my knife, my stamina gave out and I fell a few tiles to the grass below. Though I suffered a few bruises, nothing was broken! And now I had my first tool! I was very excited.

By this time I was growing quite thirsty and decided to head down to the coast for some much-needed water. I was pleased with my foraging and botanizing. I had obtained onion, garlic (very important), sage, parsley, nettles, a few blueberries, a strawberry, oregano, rosemary, lingonberry, basil, thyme, woad, belladonna, and some sassafras. Not a bad start at all! And I had a knife. Things were looking good!

Checking over my list of supplies, I noticed that I could make a shovel blade and a pickaxe head using the knife against the rock shard. A few attempts and I was able to add these important items to my inventory. I was especially concerned about the shovel. If I could make a shovel, I could get clay. If I could get clay, I could make a jar which would enable me to carry water away from the coastline and into the wilderness. That became my next goal.

The one item I needed was a branch. Foraging for one took a long time and just as I was about to concede that my first day would end without one, I foraged a single branch. Using my knife, I carefully carved on the birchwood branch trying to fashion a crude shaft that I could use for the shovel. Just as I was about to complete it, it broke in two! I had to search for yet another precious branch!

With darkness approaching, I decided it was best to find a place to rest for the night. Until I was able to create the shovel, I could not leave the coastline. I needed water constantly, and there was clay nearby. The lack of the shovel forced me to rest at the beach. My first day had come to and end.