Upon your emergence from the prisons, your first glimpse of Phenomedom’s surface shall be the Doobah Hills. Scarcely less dangerous than the tunnels you have just left, but a nearby road looks pleasant enough. It winds lazily to the southwest, away from the hills to a greener, more open landscape.
If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time to S)ave your progress. This will cause you to exit to Legerdemain’s main menu, from which you can immediately restore your game, or start a new one. The act of saving rarely offers respite from a future death, however, and neither does quitting. If you should try to restore the histories of such a hero, you will typically find her resting in eternal peace.
Life in the wild is a bit different than below the surface. For one, light is generally more abundant, so feel free to (r)emove your blazing torch when scouring the countryside. Also, there are certain items: mushrooms, plants, herbs, and the like, which tend to show up with greater regularity here. As with armor and weapons, you would do well to sample such sundries from time to time, tasting and nibbling via the (u)se command, although such items, once used, are typically gone forever. Your skills in outdoorsmanship can also serve well in the wilderness, enabling you to h)unt for food if the need should arise. Finally, the scale of the viewing area is a bit larger in the outdoors; this manifests itself in terms of increased amounts of time played, which is designated as TP in the lower right of your screen.
But despite its differences, the wilderness of Phenomedom can prove just as inhospitable as any prison. ‘Twould be wise to follow the roads, and quickly, heading westward until you have reached Hamdon. For it is only in the towns of Phenomedom that one can one find a true haven, and even these may prove fleeting.
A few words of caution, though, as you approach, for the cities have their rules. First and foremost, no manipulation is permitted within Hamdon; such actions would certainly draw attention and, at best, would be misunderstood. Second, no c)hanting of any kind is to be tolerated, for there are those who believe that certain phrases, when chanted, can lead to effects of a magical nature. Third, Hamdon will not be host to combat of any kind. Though the authorities, if any, shall not require that you sheathe your weapon, you will find any hostile acts to be in vain.
The sanctuaries of Phenomedom are home to many citizens, and Hamdon is no exception. Indeed, if you wish to learn more about this faltering village, there is no better way than to interact with its populace. To do so, approach a citizen you would like to converse with. You may (l)ook upon him as you do your enemies, though of course your motives here are ones of diplomacy, rather than warfare. Once you attempt to (t)alk to an adjacent citizen, you will be prompted to either h)ail, c)hat, g)ossip, o)ffer something to the citizen, or a)sk the citizen about a topic. Hailing is merely an exchange of pleasantries, although the importance of such exchanges should not be underestimated; they may offer vital clues to a citizen’s identity, or his motives. To chat is to discuss a topic of the citizen’s choosing, while gossiping is the preferred way to learn of the latest goings-on in the citizen’s home town. Offering allows you to submit some coins or an item for inspection. You are encouraged to offer items to others with regularity, for some you meet may avail themselves in identifying or even repairing certain articles. Concessions of gold, however, should be made with care, for even the laziest of roustabouts will accept gold that is proffered them.
Throughout your conversations you may notice certain responses contain highlighted words. These words often serve as good topics to a)sk of the person who brought them up. Some citizens may also mention topics that should be a)sked of other citizens. Still other topics may be gleaned by visiting faraway places, or performing astonishing deeds.
You may find some who are rather unresponsive to your questioning. In such cases, it may be best to call upon the citizen some other time, perhaps in future days, when your prowess has grown? You may also find it useful to catch up on gossip with those you have not visited in a while, for the state of affairs in Phenomedom can be one of constant change.
The village of Hamdon, despite its calamitous times, is host to several thriving shops. A shop’s entrance is designated by a number from 1 to 5; you may (l)ook at the entrance to discern what type of shop it is. Purchasing an item is as simple as standing in the square that the item occupies, and trying to g)et it. Once you have verified your intentions with the shopkeeper, the item’s cost will be deducted from your purse. Thievery is not tolerated in Hamdon or anywhere else, and any item you cannot afford shall be denied you.
Most shops will also purchase your items, although a standard rule of thumb is this: shops will not purchase an item that they themselves would not ordinarily carry. To sell an item, stand in an empty square and attempt to d)rop the item you wish to sell. If there are no empty squares, then the shop is full, and you must return at a time when its shelves have grown bare. Otherwise, the shopkeeper will make you an offer. If you accept his bid, coins will be added to your purse accordingly. To obtain the best prices, only sell those items whose attributes are fully known to you.
You may notice in some shops that seemingly identical items command different prices. This is often an indication that the item is imbued with magical enchantments, or, in rare cases, a curse. To find out for certain, you must purchase it. Such a finding, once purchased, can be fairly evaluated through the use of the hst@ts command, which allows you to compare, for example, your capacity for damage relative to when another weapon is wielded.
Some shops, such as Farmer Attick’s in Hamdon, may also sell packs. Packs, though purchased like any other item, do not take up any room in your inventory. Rather, your one-time purchase of a pack larger than your own shall expand your inventory, offering additional slots in which to store other things. Furthermore, a larger pack increases the capacity of each slot, allowing stackable items such as mushrooms or scrolls to lie in larger piles. Ammunition, in particular, can be combined into larger stacks than any other item types.
In addition to shops, a few inns remain among Phenomedom’s towns, though as a rule they are few, and far-between. Unless you are a master of outdoorsmanship, resting at an inn is far more refreshing than anywhere else, and affords you an opportunity to have your travels recorded in a guestbook. This record is your sole respite from the nightmares of death, and is free of charge.
You may also store your belongings in an inn for an indefinite period of time. To do so, simply d)rop the item, and agree to its storage cost. No matter how far or wide you travel, the innkeeper will be sure to preserve the item for your return.
There are other places to visit in Hamdon, though not all of them immediately penetrable. Some houses are locked, and will remain so unless you divulge who it is you wish to visit. As with many things it is often wise to consult the citizenry in such matters, for they are often quite aware of who their neighbors are.
And so, perhaps now the cobwebs have parted a bit, and you can begin your journey in earnest. A night’s sleep in the inn should prove salutary, and if you can spare a few coins to upgrade your equipment, so much the better. Be persistent in your exploration, be it north, south, east, or west, for in Legerdemain there is no right way to proceed. Rather, ask the right questions, keep a keen eye about you, and perhaps…just perhaps, you may learn why you were kept in a Doobah prison in the first place.
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