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...