These words brought to you by Lagermane and updated by Tpickles
Welcome to Narfell! Welcome to the Fugue! Are these two statements interchangable for you? This post can help.
Fret not worried traveler because avoiding death on Narfell is not as hard as you may think. Eventually, you're going to wind up in the fugue through plain bad luck, but there's no harm in pushing that unhappy time as far back as possible. With that in mind, there are a few simple ways to live through your newbie stage and on into the mid-levels.
Get into your character's head. Think of them as a person with hopes and dreams of their own. Your character should be thinking of their death as a big deal, unless it's their hope and dream to die. A death can be a major event for them, not just the end of a fun hour in front of your computer. Think of your characters reservations about fighting or wandering aimlessly into the abyss.
This doesn't mean you should strive for safety at all times. Characters can be brave and often even reckless. But when they leap into the jaws of death, they deserve to know they they're going to die for something that matters... a friend, honor, a cause... and not five more gold and an extra 15 XP.
Narfell can also be a great place for your character to reflect on death being a simple playing out of rolls or mechanics. Talk to other characters about any revelations your character may have had, share your character's horrific experience in the Tales by the Fire forum. Did they learn something? Have they gained a new nemesis?
Narfell was not built with solo'ing and grinding in mind. It's easy to wind up in the situation where you need someone's help. Most AI driven followers will not be smart enough to know how to do what you need.
If no one is in game, try pinging our #looking-for-group channel in discord.
Avoid going anywhere without gaining information about it first. Stop by the Peltarch commons, and ask people about the surrounding lands. Most Narfers will be happy to talk your ear off about what's out there. Narfell prides itself on our roleplay opportunities. Getting information from the locals can be one for you!
Norwick is not safe. The interior of the Boarshead is not safe. The only place you can feel safe in is the lobby and player lounge, and even there you still have the chance of a DM accidentally doing a 'port all to Rass'.
I've seen people drop dead from one wound outside the Boarshead. I've had the first thing that happened to me upon transitioning to the south fire be getting smacked by a fireball and reduced to 4 HP. You are not safe anywhere. Your character can relax and chill out, but you should not. This especially means that you should not feel the leisure to run around town at 'Badly Wounded', waiting for chance to strike you a blow that normally would just wound but instead sends you to the Fugue. Which leads us to...
Unless you are on a DM quest or have no choice, if your health drops to Injured you should make for town or heal yourself. You are now at the point where one run of bad luck will kill you dead. Unless there's a really good reason, it's time to call it a day. What sort of person runs around for fun with gaping wounds?
There is a tendancy of the part of many players to assume that just because someone is higher-level than you, they know what can and cannot be done, and are trustworthy. Don't believe it!
First of all, someone who appears to you as high level may be a lvl 4 powergamer who logged onto Narf a week or two before you. They may have little more idea than you as to what is safe and what is not, and may have a tendancy to take unacceptable risks. Don't blindly follow someone out unless you've gotten enough of a feel for them trust their judgment.
Second, even assuming that the high-level PC in question is the paragon of judgment, there is a tendancy for higher-levels to forget just how darn fragile lower-levels are, or not to care. I've experienced this on both ends, from being 1 HP and a potion of Cure Serious away from dying in the South Rawlins, to blissfully leading a lvl 1 barb into Giantspire Pass to play with the Flamestriking ogre shamans. (Hi Jazz!) Part of it is forgetfulness. Part of it is simple unwillingness to tell someone, "Shove off, it's been fun but you're gonna die if you come." Part of it is a chain of trust; High-level is trusted by Mid-level who is trusted by his Low-level friend, resulting in confidence unsupported by coherent information.
If you're going somewhere that sounds dangerous or unusual, stop and candidly ask your high-level guide if they think you're up to it. If they say no, do both of you a favor and take your leave.
Yes! If you see a monster, you do not in fact have to charge at it screaming a war cry! You can, in fact, slink quietly off. If battle is going against you and you get that sinking feeling that you can't win, you don't have to stay there and die... you can, in fact, try to run away. Now, sometimes this is more successful a strategy than other times. Running while in combat means you're going to get at least one Attack of Opportunity coming your way. Running while in combat with something that's faster than you is pointless unless you have a way to distract or slow it.
Many people are rightly reluctant to abandon their comrades. Keep a few things in mind. You all can run, first of all. Second, if you die, they will feel obligated to recover your corpse and/or gear, which increases the danger to them. If you're all in over your heads, you should all run. If someone is down at Badly Wounded and you're at uninjured, charge in and distract the thing while they run, then flee yourself.
Poor communication and teamwork kills. Before you go out, set the basic objective, designate a team spokesman, and agree to an acceptable split of any and all loot gained. A pledge to divide the loot keeps people from recklessly dashing ahead and leaving themselves open searching bodies; it also lessens resentment over powerlooting. Make sure that everyone understands that the team MOVES AS A UNIT; the team does not split up, or run full tilt through the woods leaving people behind or split off. This behavior kills, and is incredibly aggravating. When leading a party of newbs, I can always tell how successful things are going to be by how much order and coordination they show. If they pull together and stick close, they usually come out of it fine. If they scamper around and dart ahead and jump off the path after everything that looks like an easy target, someone's going to get killed... either the fool who ran off, or someone left behind when the others run to his rescue. One of the low points of my Narfing career was when a group I was in dashed off at full tilt through the South Rawlins for no pressing reason, leaving my character frantically trying to catch up some distance behind in goblin-infested terrain. I was a very unhappy camper.
Always bring healing, preferably redundant healing. You should either have a Cleric in your group, a healing potion or two, or both. Each has advantage. A Cleric can save you if you're lying on the ground at negative HP, slowly dying; you can't drink your potion then. Otoh, many times in a fierce melee you'll get down to 2 HP and the cleric will be beset on the other side of the fight, unaware of your plight and unable to get to you quickly even if he did know. Potions are best in this situation. The best solution, of course, is to bring both and use as appropriate.
I cannot commend enough the practice of carrying an emergency healing potion, even if you have to buy one from Fred at his overinflated prices. Having multiple healing draughts on hand has saved my character's life more times than I can count, and is the single best magical investment I can think of. They are even worthwhile for a Cleric... remember, healing spells can be interrupted and fail, potion-drinking can't.
Know your abilities, good and not. Use every trick you have in combat. Educate yourself on what your spells, feats, and class abilities really do. Part of what separates a successful player from a dead player is that a successful one uses all of his tools, and a dead one only uses the most obvious 60%. Knowledge is power. Versatility is power. Power is survival when used intelligently.
By the same token, learn what you can't do. If your character is not suited for melee combat, don't charge in. If your character can't hit jack with a bow, don't use one. Remember, it is better to be absent than useless, because a useless character must be healed, guarded, and possibly hauled back to town dead.
Which leads us to something I had to learn myself, even though it was counter-intuitive. If lag is crippling you, say your goodbyes and log off. If you don't, you'll die. Do let people know that this is the case, though; don't make them hang around thinking you just crashed.
Show courtesy as a player if not as a character. This isn't really a survival hint, but something I feel strongly about and wish to use as a closing bit of advice. Your character can be a rude, nasty, malicious brute. That's fine. But as a player, you should always try to remain calm, reasonable, and unfailingly polite. Observe the server rules, and ask about them when you are in doubt. When you ask a Player Guide or DM about something, thank them for their time afterwards. Remember that the people playing are often very different than their characters, and try not to develop a dislike for a player based on her character's IC actions. Even if you do dislike a player... it's inevitable; I don't think highly of everyone myself, and I'm sure it's mutual in some cases... do your best to keep it from interfering with the game and other people's enjoyment of the game. Avoiding them is probably the best answer.
Hopefully someone will find some of this useful. If not, I enjoy hearing myself talk, so it's served a good purpose anyway. 🙂