For those of you who want to get straight in and start battling, the command is simply 'attack <monster>' or 'battle <monster>'. For those who hate typing, they can be abbreviated: 'a' is enought for 'attack', 'b' is enough for 'battle'. The monsters names can be shortened to the first few letters also.
This command needs to be repeated every three seconds until either the monster is defeated, your character loses the battle, or one of you flees.
Now to the basics - firstly, how do to find a monster?
When your character moves from room to room, you will get displayed on your screen - The room name The room description (read this - it may contain useful information) The obvious exits (BUT not the hidden ones) The other characters in the same room The monsters in the room The objects in the room Type 'look' to redisplay your current room's details.
So you have found a monster but should you try to battle with it?
MUD is level-based - characters and monsters have a level. The higher, the level a character is, the stronger it is and therefore it can survive for longer in a battle and hit its opponent for more damage. The same applies to monsters so a level 1 character has little chance against level 5 monster for example.
To determine if a monster is a suitable level for you to attack, type 'look <monster>' - if it says 'a perfect match', then you know it is the same level as you and at full health points (HP), you have an even chance of defeating it. (For details on your HP, see the training tome about the 'score' and 'info' command).
When battling the monster, it may take more than one hit to defeat it. Therefore an attack command (of one type or another) needs to be typed every 3 seconds. The exclamation mark '!' will repeat your previous command.
Note that in a battle especially, abbreviations are probably best
When your character attacks a monster, it will usually attack back. When it does, every successful hit by the monster will reduce your HP. When you hit successfully, you will reduce the monster's HP. When the monster's HP gets to 0 - it is defeated and you get experience for the battle. If your HP gets to 0 before you manage to defeat the monster, then you lose the battle.
It is very important to note that attacking a monster at the same level as you when you do not have full HP is not advisable. You will more than likely be defeated. If you think you are not going to be able to complete a battle you have started, you may be able to 'flee' from the battle.
Some monsters try to block your exit so it may take several attempts. Usually you will drop any weapon you are wielding when you flee and paladins actually lose experience when they flee.
You can use the 'set' command to get your character to flee automatically when its HP gets below a certain level. In some battles, this feature does not cut in soon enough so you should not rely on it. The set command is 'set wimpy'. Note that the default is 10HP. It should be noted that when your character attacks a monster, it is added to that monster's enemy list and stay on it until the monster is defeated. Whenever you encounter that particular monster again, it will attack you. If this becomes a problem, a DM or caretaker can purge the monster for you, but don't ask too often and don't expect the proceeds of the battle.
The use of weapons when attacking can increase the amount you hit with, depending on the stats of the weapon and your proficiency in using that type of weapon.
There are 5 types of weapons in terraMUD as well as barehand. When you created your character, you would have chosen a weapon proficiency and been given 20% proficiency with that type of weapon. Any successful use of a weapon will increase your proficiency and therefore increasing the chance of you successfully hitting the monster.Your can view your current weapon proficiencies using the 'info' command (see the training tome for details).
Use the 'inventory' command to determine what weapons you are carrying (see the objects tome). Use the command 'look <object>' to determine the type of weapon it is. Use the command 'wield <object>' to wield the weapon.
Note that you may fumble your weapon in battle. This can be due to a low dexterity and/or a non-neutral alignment. New characters have a neutral alignment.
All monsters have an alignment. Every time you defeat a monster, your alignment is possibly altered. If the monster has a good alignment, then your alignment will shift slightly towards evil. Defeat enough good-aligned monsters and you will become evil. Similarly if you defeat enough evil-aligned monsters, your alignment will become good.
The consequence of being evil or good, as opposed to neutral, is that your luck will change. With luck affecting the wielding of weapons, the casting of spells and the price offered in pawn shops, a non-neutral alignment can have a major impact on your character's abilities. With the exception of paladins, try to keep your alignment neutral. Killing evil monsters when you are evil will eventually bring you back to neutral and vice-versa.
Paladins are the exception as they continue to have good luck when they are good, but are severely affected if they are evil. Use the 'info' command to determine your current alignment. Use the 'know-aura' spell to determine a monster's alignment. (See object tome for more information on spells.)
As well as inflicting damage using a weapon or barehand, realm spells may be used to attack monsters. There are 4 realms - Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. Each realm has 5 levels of spells, all which have to be learnt before you can use them. When you created your character, you would have chosen a realm proficiency and been taught the lowest level spell in that realm and given some proficiency with that realm.
See the training tome to determine which spells you know and the object tome about how to learn more spells.
To cast a spell on a monster, type 'cast <spell> <monster>'. Note that the casting of spells cost MP.
Often your character will find it easier to defeat a monster if you have the assistance of other characters. Several characters attacking the one monster will result in more hits on the monster and less hits by the monster on the individual characters. There are pros and cons about battling in a group. Firstly you must be able to rely on the other characters to continue attacking with you until the monster is defeated. Additionally because you didn't contribute fully to the defeat of the monster, you will only get a portion of the experience allocated. The main upside is that you will be able to defeat higher level monsters whose defeat gives more experience.
If you do decide you want to battle and explore with a group, the best thing to do is for all the characters to 'follow' the highest-level character in the group. This command will allow you to follow that character around. To follow a character, you must be in the same room as them when you issue the command. Then whenever that character moves in a given direction, you will automatically follow.
When you are in a group, you can use the 'gtalk' command to talk to others in your group. 'gt <message>' is a quick way to negotiate within the group prior to and during battle. Working out who gets what propr to engaging in battle is a good plan - saves arguments later.
A final note on combat - defeat is in integral part of life. You will no doubt be defeated from time to time, but hopefully that will be rare. When you are defeated, you will end up in The Regeneration Chamber, the place where all bruised and battered players recuperate. The regenerate door leads back to the Sickbay, where you can re-enter the game. When you are defeated, you also lose experience points. You will lose 5, 10 or 15% percent of your total experience points at the time of your defeat (depending on your level). This doesn't seem like much right now, but when you reach higher levels, this can be important. You will never lose more than one level of experience when you lose a battle, though. You may also lose weapon and realm proficiency and gold - the amount you lose will depend on your current level and proficiencies.
There are some additional commands that will assist your character before and during battle; depending on your class.