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4. More things to do

4.1 This section sets out various bits of advice concerning what to look for after you've gotten started in a MUD and are reasonably comfortable with your environment.

4.2 One of the most rewarding things that you could do is to join a clan. Clans, or guilds, are organised groups of people with common objectives. Before joining a clan, make sure you know what they stand for, what their admission criteria are, and how they are regarded in the MUD. Once you join them, in a sense, you adopt their persona and their reputation. Thus, it's good to find out beforehand whether the clan you are looking at emphasises socialising, exploration, player killing, or what have you. Who knows? One day you may even lead a clan!

Necromium has an elaborate, tiered, clan system. Before describing these, however, it is useful to note that Necromium does not require you to participate in a clan if you don't want to. You are free to choose which path is best for you.

Turning now to the system, at the lowest tier are the player-run clans, which can be seen, conceptually, as nomadic tribes. The members are bound together by name, and they have a central communications system. Noble houses live one level up from clans. Some clans have been granted the status of a noble house. Noble houses gain access to property rights, can own ships, and are given a large piece of real estate (a noble house) which they can call their own. Noble houses can participate in diplomacy with other noble houses, and other clans are permitted to pledge loyalty to noble houses in order to gain access to the same rights granted to the noble house.

At the same level lie the non-affiliated guilds. These are not run by players. Each class (warrior, thief, mage and cleric) has a guild of their own, which gives them rights approximately equivalent to that of a noble house. Rounding this off are the Newbie Academy, and the Royal Guard, which are also non-affiliated guilds.

At an even higher level, there is also an underlying story line in the MUD about how the noble houses will one day restore the royalty of Necromium ...

4.3 Before embarking on playing sessions, remember to check the quality of your connection to the MUD - if you're always dropping link, your MUD experience will be poorer for it. Imagine being the only healer in a group fighting an epic battle against the Endless Devourer and going link dead. If you do want to continue playing despite a poor connection, do make sure your friends understand. Also remember to tell people if, halfway through a session with a group of people, you encounter lag. Tell them, so that they can take it into account.

4.4 Play within the rules. It's sometimes hard to understand why some people seem to regard the MUD experience as an opportunity to bend or break rules, just to prove that they can. Don't get the wrong idea about this - you can still be an evil anti-paladin, you just need to do it within the rules set by the game. Be evil. Fine. But don't hack. Don't exploit coding flaws in the game. If the rules say you can't spam a player to get an advantage in combat, then don't. If the rules say that you can't deliberately drop link to make a mobile lose its target, don't. And don't complain if you're caught. One thing about free, volunteer-staffed games is that if the owners decide that you're a destructive influence, it is a certainty that you won't ever play there again. But if you play nice and fair, you will be seen as a valued member of the community and your game experience will be all the better for it.

4.5 Maintain a firm grip on your real life. This is not preaching - it's a critical point that must be understood. If you pick a bunch of people, put them together in an unfamiliar location, and tell them they're playing a game for a prize, some will remain true to themselves and behave the same way they behave outside of the game. Some will adopt a persona that is calculated to endear them to others. But some adopt behaviour that can be characterised as being antisocial or offensive simply because the game allows them an escape. In other words, free of the bonds of societal norm, each of us reacts very differently. And bad things can happen in MUDs - you could get befriended and betrayed, killed and looted, and so on. Ever watched "Survivor"? Same phenomenon. Always, always remember, that at any time, you can switch your computer off and take a nice break.

4.6 With all this in mind, the rest, really, is up to you. The great thing about MUDs is that the experience you ultimately have is very much defined by the type of experience that you choose to have. If you want to be a rabid evildoer, you can. Pick a player kiling MUD, and cut yourself loose. If you want to be a friendly tradesman, you can. Pick a social MUD with some roleplaying elements, and set out your shop's trading shingle. You want to be a hero? Pick an adventuring MUD, find a group of like-minded people, and go change the world. The point is worth repeating - what you are, and what you do, is ultimately up to you.

We hope you will join us on Necromium MUD, but in any event, we wish you all the best!

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