Bryce's Website. Bryce is a character from the MUD COGG, which you should definitely check out.
This website is only one page, because I'm lazy. The menu below just links to sections further down the page, and each section has a "back to top" link that'll bring you back up here to the menu. Enjoy the simplicity.
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(I just found the above picture with an image search and used it because it features the color sunset-orange.)
You see a short lanky dirty-blond-haired adult man with fair skin and baby blue eyes (yourself!).
He is about five and a quarter feet tall and appears to be in the prime of life. He has chin-length feathered dirty blond hair and baby blue eyes. His skin is fair and build is lanky.
He is wearing a wide-brimmed leather hat, a small sunset-orange crystal pendant (opaque), a carmine-red wool scarf, a heavy canvas backpack (open), a striated clay-red wool poncho draped over a brown oilcloth duster (open) worn over an
ecru loose wool shirt, some umber wool trousers bound by a cracked leather belt (with a soft leather locksmith kit (open) and a canvas-covered iron canteen (closed) attached), and some worn leather boots.
He is riding a chestnut horse.
A lean chestnut horse, suited to running long distances at a steady speed.
Bryce Wheellock is a Hillfolk adventurer who resides in the dusty frontier mining town of Shadgard. A locksmith by trade and a member of the Lost Lands Adventurer Guild, he'd be every Adventurer class at once if he could - he collects tales and sings like a Bard (or at least likes to think so), wanders off the trails and buschrafts like a Ranger, explores ruins for loot and relics like a Treasure Hunter, and has a tendency to sneak into places he's not supposed to be in like a Rogue. Feel free to guess which class he officially chose, but he doesn't feel the need to go declaring any particular one as his own.
If you're ever looking for a locksmith, a song, or a drinking buddy, give Bryce a holler. He can often be found loafing in the warehouse by the Shadgard market waiting for work, or at the Hanged Man bar enjoying a mug of Thresher Ale.
(Thresher Ale in the real world. Kind of.)
Mind your own business.
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(My set of lockpicks doesn't look this fancy, because in real life I'm a greenhorn with entry-level stuff. I'm getting better, though.)
Some customs, tips, and guidelines I promote in the locksmithing community, both for customers and locksmiths themselves.
- What with some locks being trapped, it's neither responsible nor safe for locksmiths to work in commonly-populated public areas (this includes NPC population). Locksmithing services usually occur in the warehouse located in Shadgard's market area, which has been designated as the appropriate local locksmithing location. (Rest in peace, old days of locksmithing at the Hanged Man Bar.)
- When you're around locksmiths who are at work, be aware that you may be affected by the occasional area-wide trap someone else sets off. Don't worry: none are fatal (that we yet know of, at least).
- There's nothing wrong with poking fun at a locksmith who's accidentally triggered a trap, as long as they're not too worse for wear from it. Don't get too mouthy about it if you're not a fellow locksmith yourself, though: being teased by colleagues who go through the same themselves is one thing, but a mouthy customer can quickly fray nerves that are already sensitive after the embarrassment of setting off a trap. The locksmith is still providing a service to you, so I advise against biting the hand that's feeding you.
- On a similar note: Even the best locksmith is occasionally going to fail to detect a trap and accidentally set it off, affecting everyone in the area in some negative way. Grumbling is expected, but don't be a jackass about it. It's going to happen to every locksmith at some point - it's just part of the job, and the risk of being in a locksmithing environment.
- After-the-looting tip: You can SELL (CONTAINERNAME) CONTENTS GEMS to sell all the gems from a container at once. For example: SELL BACKPACK CONTENTS GEMS
You're fresh back from the ruins of Aetgard with a haul of lockboxes, and you need a locksmith to help you get at the sweet, sweet loot inside. Keep the following in mind:
- Let the locksmith know where your boxes are from (Tarueka, Harper's Bog, Dusklamp, etc.). This helps the locksmith estimate the lock difficulty and, more importantly, the potential for traps.
- Once the locksmith has agreed to help you, use the TRANSFER command to transfer all your lockboxes onto the ground for the locksmith to work on at their own pace. If someone else is already being helped, wait your turn - transferring your stuff to the ground early will mix your haul with theirs, and then things get messy.
- It's considered polite to wait until the locksmith is finished picking all the boxes before you start interacting with them. Opening, closing, or removing lockboxes from the room (by GETting or LOOTing them) can throw off the order of the items or the syntax used to target them, which the locksmith may have been keeping track of for various reasons.
- Once the locksmith is finished, you can use the LOOT LOCKBOX command to quickly collect all loot from ajar (recently-lockpicked) boxes and automatically toss them in a nearby trash barrel. This is the preferred method of loot collection because it causes the least scroll spam for everyone in the room. It's also just fun to rapidly enter LOOT LOCKBOX and watch all that loot come rolling in all at once.
- Always pay your locksmith for their service. There's no official standard rate for pay, but a general guideline I'll put forward is ten to fifty percent of the total riln from the haul, based on how satisfied you are with the service and how generous you feel or can afford to be at the moment. No need to tell the locksmith what percent you gave, but know they can usually tell when they're being underpaid based on the amount of boxes and how many were tumbler locks (which yield more riln).
- Remember that the locksmith is putting their safety at risk to perform this service, due to the various traps that locks may have on them. Even the best locksmith might get a bad roll and miss the occasional trap. The tools of the trade also suffer wear and tear and occasionally need to be replaced, so this is not a service that requires no investment on the part of the locksmith.
Locksmithing is a joy, ain't it? Let's try to keep the locksmithing experience efficient and enjoyable for everyone.
- Keep in mind that as a locksmith, your actions and reputation are going to affect that of the entire community of locksmiths to some degree. Whether we like it or not, we locksmiths often have a shared reputation as a whole.
- Don't ask for a specific fee in payment, but allow the customer to determine what percentage of the loot they want to pay you with. This helps establish trust between the locksmith community and the customer base, and also often results in customers feeling generous (if you provide good service) and paying you more than what you would have gotten with some standardized per-box fee.
- Always disarm a lockbox before picking it. I don't care if you swear you already disarmed it during some previous session or instance. You could be misremembering or mixing boxes up.
- Remember that in most cases you can easily target the next lockbox in your queue with the words "closed lockbox". For example: DISARM CLOSED LOCKBOX, PICK CLOSED LOCKBOX. Once they're successfully picked, they become "ajar" instead of "closed". You can't pick boxes in worn containers, so you don't risk targeting your own carried boxes rather than the customer's on the floor.
- You don't need to be greedy about it, but always let it be known that some form of payment or compensation is expected in exchange for locksmithing services. Generosity is a nice thing, but locksmithing is a service and involves both safety risks and riln investments/upkeep on the part of the locksmith, so setting an expectation among customers that they should get this service for free is detrimental to the locksmithing community at large, and will likely get you into trouble with your fellow smiths.
- If you find a particularly dangerous trap on a lock you're working on, bring it down to the warehouse basement to work on away from customers and fellow locksmiths. I don't care how high your skill is: you're going to occasionally fumble that roll.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help from another locksmith if you're having difficulty with a trap or lock. Some of the most fun to be had locksmithing is working together with a colleague.
- Similar to the above: If you and a less-skilled smith are both working at the same time, consider letting the less-skilled smith take priority while you act as backup for the boxes they can't get. Cooperation between locksmiths is a good thing, and can be maintained while also keeping a friendly competitive spirit. I know I enjoy occasionally rubbing it in Lee's face when she can't crack a lock and has to pass it to me, but I still always try to be genuinely helpful.
- Some locksmiths have sticky fingers. That seems to come naturally for many in the locksmithing profession. Be that as it may: at the very least, exercise restraint when it comes to someone else's customer. Causing suspicion or blame to fall on another locksmith by picking their customer's pocket or palming their customer's loot before they collect it is, as far as I'm concerned, among the worst crimes a locksmith can commit. There'll be consequences.
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(Tom Browning's "Off the Trail" painting, image © Tom Browning.)
One of the greatest joys of playing MUDs is getting out there and wandering the world to see what you might find out there. It makes for some great armchair adventure when you can't - or just won't - get out there in the real world. A hassle in reality, a breeze in a MUD. I'll give an obligatory admonition to get out in the real world when you can, and with that out of the way, let's talk wandering in COGG.
First up, don't be scared to just get out there and wander around. Sure, you might get lost or die, but this being a MUD you can just hop right back in the saddle soon enough. Death ain't a big deal to us as players, though we should still treat it with seriousness in-character. Find a balance of being cautious enough to stay alive, but risky enough to let yourself get out there. If you die, it's not the end of the world.
I like lists, so I'm gonna turn this into a list of tips and info now.
- There are a lot of signs out in the wilderness (and a lot of other places in the game). Stop and READ them. Learn where they are and use them as landmarks. They'll help you get to important places like towns, outposts, and guild facilities. They'll also help you figure out where you are if you're lost. Before panicking and asking for directions help on ESP, take a look around the nearby roads for signs. Learning to help yourself is a valuable skill. That said, I get that some people struggle with wilderness navigation. If you really are stuck and need help, don't be scared to call out on ESP. Just make an honest effort to help yourself first, is all I ask.
- Always bring some food with you when heading out into the wilderness, but if you do run out, don't worry: You can't starve to death in COGG. It'll limit your energy regeneration to 5% your maximum which can make it easy to die, but you can at least still travel around the wilderness and blunder your way back to civilization and food.
- On the subject of food, if you're runnin low in the wilderness, you can try to SURVEY to see if anything looks edible. If you see some berry bushes or mushrooms or whatnot, use the FORAGE command and you'll automatically search for edible stuff. Folks with the Bushcraft skill will find more food and find it more quickly, but it doesn't take any skill to find basic edible stuff. Not everything that shows up in SURVEY is edible, though. Also, some things aren't as obvious. For instance, if you see a juniper tree, there are likely to be juniper berries around for foraging. If you keep foraging for a good while and don't turn anything up, the area you're in either doesn't have anything to forage or may have been recently foraged out by someone else.
- You might occasionally see people ridin around on mounts. These useful critters are a huge investment of a few hundred thousand riln, but they make wilderness travel faster and also make wilderness movement cause hardly any nutrition or energy loss. With how expensive they are, you're not likely to get ahold of one until a good while after starting your adventures, but it's somethin to save up for and look forward to.
- You can't get a warhorse if you can't learn the War Riding ability. Don't worry about it if you can't learn it: My non-warhorse does just fine helping me explore around the wilderness, and I just leave him outside of dangerous combat zones where I'm going to be sneaking around instead of riding anyway. Plus, I saved a couple hundred thousand riln.
- You'll notice that whenever you get to a road the game will inform you of the TRAVEL command. Learn to use this. It's not difficult, and it'll save you a lot of hassle for auto-traveling the roads. Basic usage is TRAVEL (DIRECTION), like TRAVEL SOUTH. The direction has to have a road to travel it, but you'll then keep following that road even if it goes different directions, automatically moving along it, until you get to a dead end or a fork in the road with more than one way to go. Real handy for routine travel between common destinations.
- Once you have the basics of the TRAVEL command down, you can start getting fancy and specifying road fork directions in advance for one long continuous travel past forks in the road. For instance, I'd type TRAVEL NORTH NORTHEAST EAST outside Shadgard to start traveling north, head northeast at the first fork I get to, and east at the second fork I get to. It makes common travel routes even easier to manage as auto-travel takes over most of the work for you.
- While auto-travel is real convenient, always keep an eye on what's going on while you're auto-traveling. You don't want to blindly walk past a friend, someone in need, a unique creature, an event hook item or NPC, or blunder into any of the dangerous creatures that can be found out in the wilderness from time to time.
Enough about auto-travel and roads. Sticking to the roads is useful, but boring. Wander off the road at random. See what's out there. Keep an eye out for trails that other characters have made: they might lead to something interesting. And while you're out there, if you feel like you reach a spot where there might be something more than what you first see, it's worth a quick search (use the SEARCH command) to check for hidden stuff. You can find all sorts of things, from cast-off hidden litter (jackasses) to entrances that lead to secret areas. Some members of the Adventurer Guild can get the Wanderer's Eye ability which can sometimes automatically reveal hidden items out in the wilderness. Not nearly as dependable as manual searching, but still real handy.
Oh, and because some people seem to have a real talent for gettin lost: Roads tend to lead somewhere. If you're lost and are lucky enough to stumble across the road again, follow it instead of just blindly wandering at random in a frustrated panic. You'll probably end up at a town or outpost, and if you don't - just follow the road back in the other direction then. Once you get to an outpost you can get your bearings, and most outposts sell at least basic supplies.
- If you come across a critter that looks like it might be dangerous, you can either immediately leave the room or, if you're feelin bolder, use the CONSIDER command on it to see how challengin it might be. Non-hostile critters don't always give a consider rating, but most hostiles will. Just be aware you might get tagged while doing so.
- If you've got the skill for it (Stealth), hiding and sneaking around is a great way to scout out potentially dangerous areas. Just use the HIDE command and then start moving around. For members of the Aventurer Guild, the Footpad ability makes you sneak around in less time while the effect lasts. Those without the Stealth skill can also do this, but it probably isn't going to be worth it. It'll take a lot longer to move around, and with no skill you're probably going to get spotted real quick anyway.
- Everyone starts out with an ESP pendant. Those little pendants that turn the color of your AURA when you put them on. These allow you to use the ESP command, which broadcasts what you say to anyone else with an ESP pendant in range. (Limited ESP range isn't implemented at the moment, but is said to be planned.) This can be real handy for communicatin with others while you're out wandering, and particularly if you get lost, or want to get more information on something you've stumbled across.
- The mentioned ESP crystal pendants run out after a while and need to be replaced. You can tell how much juice they've got left by their description. The more opaque it is, the longer it has to last. The more transparent it is, the emptier it is. They're usually available for sale at the town market. Just type ORDER CRYSTAL PENDANT while at the market and if there are any available, you'll be able to buy one. Don't forget to use the AURA command to pick a unique color to identify yourself on the ESP network. If you stick with the default gray, people won't be able to differentiate between you and anyone else using the same default.
- You might occasionally be lucky enough to find an item that prompts you to STUDY it when looked at. These are lore items that you can study at the Library of Qamar to learn more information about the item and possibly about the world. To do this though, you need a portfolio. Make your way to the Library of Qamar to pick up one of your own. To get to the Library, head out of town and into the wilderness, and then just follow the signs. Seriously. Learn to read and follow the signs.
I think that's all I've got for my hodgepodge of wandering advice for now. And if you get nothing else out of this ...
LEARN TO READ THE DAMN SIGNS.
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- COGG Official Site - COGG's official website. It has connection info, a wiki, a BBS (forum), all that good stuff.
- Son of the Sea - The website of Orris's player. Of particular interest are some nice area maps he's put together.