June 17, 2000
PK cannot occur anywhere other than in designated PK zones, although certain occasions (which I will deal with later) allow you to fight in other places. There are two types of PK area - NPK and CPK. There are help files by these names in the game and I suggest you read them. I will only be dealing with NPK for this is the aspect that many newer players will find of interest - if you are not at least competent at NPK then do not even consider going into CPK. I will be concentrating on PK as regards a single class player, for when a person gets to their second class the options available increase dramatically.
In a nutshell PK is the art of fighting with your fellow player (within certain rules) and gaining PK points for reputation. When someone is NPKed they will be transported to a safe distance away and left on one Hit Point. They do not have to go to an altar to pray - many just heal back up and return to the fray. When you enter a NPK zone or area, you get a warning message. If you are not prepared to face the prospect of being killed by someone else then stay out.
PK can be initiated in LPK (lawful areas of the world - most of the realm) if two people have used DUEL (read HELP DUEL) or if they have BLOOD on them (read HELP BLOOD - but basically if you attack someone in PK then you can be attacked in lawful areas for a while afterwards. Sometimes there is no escape from justice!).
Each class in the game of Medievia has its own attributes and has to deal with attacking or defending against player killers in its own way. I have a general guide here for each class on how to go about attacking and defending. For reasons of simplicity we have to assume that there are only two people involved who are single class, of a similar level and have a similar quality of equipment. Make your own choices on what to do if your opponent is of a differing level or a multiclass but the advice here is just a general guide to the whole concept. If you find yourself in a mass PK frenzy with many active fighters, just pick a target and hope for the best!
Perhaps the best way to experience PK and practice the basics is to go to Xezhada Cathedral when you are less than level twenty. The place is designed for low level players to practice their PK skills on one another and has some nice equipment to boot. One caveat, however - the Cathedral is limited to a certain amount of players. If you see a queue of people outside then you may have little chance of entry.
One very important feature of the game that helps enormously is the ABBREVIATION command - read the help files on this. In a nutshell it allows you to type only a few letters to target an effect (Kick, spell or whatever) on an opponent. Also note that many spells and effects have their own abbreviations - trial and error will show what these are. For example, instead of typing in BACKSTAB AZAKAN you could just hit BS AZ and be pretty sure of attacking me. Instead of CAST COLOR SPRAY AZAKAN you could try C COL AZ for a faster attack. When actually engaged in melee the target does not need to be specified - C COL would work fine at this point.
With only a short experience of the game you will realise that a lot of your character's strengths come from the equipment that you wear. One major concept to consider is charged items such as wands and potions - wands can be both offensive and defensive in nature while potions are generally defensive.
Notable wands are the Platinum wands to shoot magic missiles at your target to supplement your attacks (Karlisna Magic Shop), although the Prism wand from Riverton Magic Shop sends out a Color Spray that has a chance of blinding the target. Clear Glass Wands cast invisibility on the target - especially useful on yourself - also from Riverton. One note to make is that wands are generally weighty so you will not be able to carry too many at once.
Potions have several spell imitating effects. The ever popular Misty potion (found on mobs) allows you to see if someone is evil or any people or items that are invisible. Green potions (found on mobs and Labyrinth Alchemist) regain you Hit Points when quaffed. Golden potions from the Chemists at Riverton are more effective but you can only carry half as many for the same weight. Most people prefer to take a larger number of Greens as opposed to Goldens, but if that is all that is available then use it. Magenta potions give you a small amount of healing compared to a Green, but they also cast the Armor spell on you (Riverton or Mage's Workshop in Medievia Castle). Amber potions allow you to detect hidden thieves or even mobs - Riverton again.
Closer to Medievia City you can find Effervescent and Deep Blue potions in the Ungiri Village (strength and remove curse/poison respectively) and possibly the nicest one around is the Flasks of Holy Water from the monks in the Graveyard Church. These are prized on auction as they cast a Sanctuary spell on someone at any time - even in the middle of a fight. There are Teleport potions you can pick up but for a controlled exit from a fight use a Swirling Blue and White to get the effects of a Word of Recall spell.
The main attack form is to find a target (Scan works wonderfully for this - tels you what is in the next room if you are lucky), make sure you are sneaking and then walk into the room with the target. Backstab them and spam a Flee. When you have fled decide whether to try and return for another strike - but decide quickly as they are not going to hang around and wait for you.
Against a fellow thief, all things and dice rolls being equal, you have to try get the first stab in. The process usually runs that you stab, they flee and return while you are lagged and stab, then you flee and return to finish them. A clever opponent may not return the stab but run off and try to heal up some so consider hunting them down if they do run away.
A thief has little in the way of natural healing abilties so carry plenty of Green potions (Labyrinth Alchemists), maybe even Golden (Riverton Chemist) if you have to. The Meditate skill is generally not useful in combat as you have to scurry far from pursuit and be rested (therefore taking more damage on the initial attack from a vengeful foe) and it takes time to do this - as well as movement so be careful you don't find yourself unable to move!
A warrior is probably your favourite target. He will have a decent Hit Roll and Damage Roll and has no major attack forms. In a stand up fight he will be able to wear you down but the kicks are generally not that brutally effective (they still hurt but are not the be all and end all). He may take three or more backstabs to wear down thanks to his high hit points, but he can be beaten.
A cleric is another matter entirely. Clerics usually have similar Hit Points to your own, as well as a reasonable choice of armor. They have a large variety of defensive and healing spells, as well as some potent offensive spells. Often a battle with a cleric will necessitate several attacks with backstab and a few dashes away from the action to heal yourself with potions. Very often you will find the cleric with lower mana but fully healed and looking for revenge. If he manages to attack you before you get a backstab attack then you should flee for another attempt.
Mages are, until level nineteen, a nice target. At level nineteen they get the rather nice Mana Shield spell which allows them to take the damage on their rather substantial mana. They have no healing spells of their own but their spells are generally able to pump out enough damage to make your life a misery should you stay in combat. A mana shielded mage can be worn down - just keep fleeing and backstabbing till you have to run and heal, then come back and repeat. Make sure you are loaded with green potions as this will let you get your Hit Points back faster than he can regenrate his mana.
Both mages and clerics can have the fireshield spell at their appropriate levels - this can really ruin your day by reflecting a lot of damage back at you. There are two ways to handle this - the first is to avoid using Backstab until the fireshield goes down and just use Trip to keep them down as much as possible. Your superior melee abilities should start to wear them down. The most common alternative, however, is to just let loose with the Backstab. You will only recieve half the damage he does and a decent strike will kill a mage without mana shield (generally), and at the very least severely inconvenience a cleric. As always, take plenty of green potions for this. Please note that the Fireshield spell is a short lived one (three ticks or so) and you can sometimes catch them between castings of the spell. At that point hit them with a backstab!
Track is generally reckoned to be too slow in combat situations so use it rarely to figure out where your foe went at intersections at the most. Sneak prevents people from seeing you enter the room which can be very useful, although there are areas where sneaking cannot happen. Hide is probably best used when there are a number of thief type mobs around - a lot of hidden life- forms in an area enables you to disguise yourself even when a person has Sense Life cast on them (potion or spell).
Try and keep your saving spell (-ss) as good as it can get - I'd advise about -5 or as close as you can get to it. (Consider that if you get blinded then you are so vulnerable it is unbelievable). Your best statistics are definitely Hit Roll and Dam Roll for that all important Backstab. Don't forget Hit Points as you are likely to take a reasonable amount of damage when in your backstab lag (three round of combat can help) but as a single class character you have no need of that mana. Any item that decreases mana will often have a really good bonus in another area.
Take note of the equipment mentioned above in the thief section as you are going to need it. Your healing abilities are roughly the same as the thief but you will need more as you have more Hit Points to recover. Also take note that your natural saving spell is worse than his so some equipment that improves that would be very useful to avoid the blinding effects of spells or wands. I would seriously advise about -7 ss if you can manage it.
To take a thief on you really need to avoid the backstab but this is easier said than done. If you know you are going into a situation against a thief you must try and attack first before they strike with the backstab. Using wands and spamming the attack is possibly the only way you can have a chance of doing this - using Kick will lag you for two rounds and give him a much too great window of opportunity. Your superior melee skill will tell if you can engage him for a few rounds like this, especially if you manage to Bash him just before he is able to flee as a successful Bash would keep him there for one more round of combat. This is a tough match - a single class warrior is generally regarded as the weakest PK class and this is going to be your worst opponent. Good luck - you will need it.
Clerics and Mages are very similar in concept for a warrior - they can be lethal. Both classes get the Blind spell and this often spells doom for you. Keeping a good -ss (saving spell - the lower the better) will reduce the chances of this a lot but if they get it in then prepare to die. A cleric will often be able to heal most of the damage you cause on him and still cast the occasional offensive spell while a mage has a definite advantage in his offensive spells when resting behind his Mana Shield (if he's less than level nineteen then he's likely to want to be out of there as mage Hit Points are the worst in the game). Use bashes when possible here (every other combat round) and be prepared to run.
As far as equipment choice goes, Hit Points are good to supplement but not everything. Armor is good but Hit Roll and Damage Roll are also very important. Never neglect your saving spell and always look out for equipment that reduces your mana as the benefits are often awesome.
So using the space you would use for these items for extra potions is a good thing, yes? Hardly - your mana will not last forever and there are times when you cannot cast (eg Firestorms). Supplement your abilities with these items as they can often save your neck.
One spell that you can ignore in one-on-one combat is Faerie Fire - it helps you hit your opponent but without decent weapons and damage capabilities it is somewhat redundant. It can be useful when working in cooperation with another person so that you can augment their abilities, but a spellcaster gains very little from it for themselves.
A note about spell use should be made here. The advertised spell cost is not strictly true when reading HELP SPELLS or HELP *spellname* - all spells cost fifty mana initially when you are first able to learn them and the spell cost goes gradually down as you level to the advertised cost. So the fact that you may have just qualified to be able to cast the spell Harm, for example, doesn't mean that it is the best spell to use as you may run out of mana too quickly. A better choice may be a less effective spell (such as Cause Critical) until you are able to sustain the amount of mana usage for the more powerful spell in one or two levels time.
Always read the help files on your spells as some have extra considerations ( alignment restrictions and extra abilities and so forth).
So, why do many people regard clerics as being the worst PK class? Basically because the offensive spells are good but not that great. A cleric in a PK situation will spend most of his mana casting healing spells on himself and only throwing a few offensive spells out. When using the mightily useful spell called Heal at fifty mana points per usage, your mana will not last forever. The really useful offensive spell that a cleric has is the Hammer of Faith which is a highish level spell - it does serious damage to people of opposing alignments and limited amounts to people of similar alignment. Most of the time a cleric is reduced to using Harm spell or a lower level equivalent to do the damage. Never overlook the potential of the Dispel Evil spell if you are of good alignment - it is a cheap spell to cast and can do a reasonable amount of damage each time if your opponent is evil.
Possibly the greatest deterrent to attackers is the Fireshield spell - if this available and you have a decent quantity of Hit Points then use this spell. It reflects half the damage your opponent does on you back at them and is a nice augmentation to the damage you are causing. An excellent way to deter backstabbers, it only lasts a short time but is very nice to have. The usual spell to protect yourself, however, is Sanctuary - this halves all incoming damage from your opponent. You cannot have both these spells in operation at once - casting one voids the other.
One of the greatest advantages you have is Blind spell - no other single class can cure this without another person's help and as such it is invaluable. A blinded opponent has less chance of hitting you in combat and cannot see you to backstab or cast spells directly, nor can they use items such as wands or potions. Don't forget that you can even cure blindness on yourself or another person - the only single class that can do this.
Tackling thieves can be tricky - that backstab makes them very potent. Sanctuary is probably your best defense as an equivalent level thief will probably be able to survive the backstabs he needs to defeat you if you are fireshielded - Fireshield only reflects half the damage you suffer and your Hit Points will generally be similar. He will probably try to heal up at some point so make a decisio - do you do the same and end up with reduced mana or do you run after him and keep pounding? Generally speaking the continually pounding option is the way to go - but be wary as even a hevaily wounded thief can flee and return with another backstab.
Warriors can be fun. Their kicks are generally enough to hurt but you will have the advantage as it is easier to Blind them and you can heal yourself faster than they can. The general principles that you use against thieves are applicable here, although Fireshield is probably a better option than Sanctuary - he can only use melee attacks and he will be hurting himself while you are healing yourself. The bashes that he will often employ merely make you miss one round of casting while that will be two combat rounds in which he cannot do anything like kicking or quaffing potions - it's bad but not that bad.
Cleric versus cleric duels can take some time. Both sides tend to heal themselves a lot as well as casting Blind spells and similar at the opponent inbetween. A useful spell to use here is Dispel Magic and try to remove the other person's protection - this is by no means guaranteed to occur. One nifty trick to use on someone if they are fireshielded and you haven't started melee yet is to cast Sanctuary on them (dispels their Fireshield) and then try and dispel that (you use seventy-five mana to do this and halves any damage to them, but you do not take damage back). This is not always a recommended course of action but it can take an unwary opponent by surprise.
Tackling a mage can depend a lot on his level. Below level nineteen a mage is a moderately easy target although he can pack a punch. At this point his protection is heavily limited to armor and a few minor spells (notably Shield for 20 armor class adjustment). He also has much lower Hit Points than any other class although he has a number of very nice offensive spells that must not be ignored. At level nineteen a mage gets Mana Shield and this changes things. This must be worked down in stages and you must be careful if he has fireshield up at the same time. Both are short lived spells but also can be dispelled - try and do so. Be wary of the Curse spell he can use on you as these can really ruin your spellcasting abilities while he has several weakening spells that can force you to unwield your weapon. Keep pounding his Mana Shield and be prepared to flee to heal up, returning to beat upon a weakened shield once more.
As far as equipment goes, a little supplement to the saving spell is desirable but after this you can happily go for Hit Points, Armor and Mana. Hit Roll and Damage Roll equipment is pretty much useless.
Then you have the Blind spell as well as Color Spray which has a chance if blinding, not to mention that an enemy suffering an attack by Color Spray has no chance to save versus spells to take half damage. Curse will also have this effect as well as reducing the chance that an enemy will be able to cast a spell at you.
You have one low level protective spell called Shield (improves armor by twenty) and then there is an intermediate one - Stone Skin - whos effects get better and better every time you level. At level nineteen, however, you start with the ability to take damage on a Mana Shield - this can be combined with Fireshield to really deter backstabbers.
Never underestimate Energy Drain either - only castable by evil mages, it will replenish your mana and movement from your enemy's stores. It's nice to have a spare boost to your mana but never neglect the fact that the enemy's movement potential will be hurt as well. A warrior or thief with low movement cannot Meditate to get their Hit Points replenished and there is nothing more embarrassing to a thief in combat who wants to flee to return with a backstab than the fact that they try to flee and find they are too tired to do so.
Malediction is a spell that has generally met with disappointment from users. Originally considered to be the equivalent of the thiefly backstab, it uses a lot of mana at one go and thus removes a lot of your offensive and defensive potential in one blast. Best used, if you must use it, to finish off an opponent.
Farsight is a rather useful spell in PK areas as it allows you to see enemies up to five rooms away - good for hunting down targets and just as useful for checking for pursuing foes.
Oddly enough, mages often have the capacity to carry more equipment around than other classes - the Strength spell can be cast multiple times to get a strength of eighteen without equipment usage. The melee benifits of high Strength for a mage are negligible, but that is not the use you should be thinking of for this spell.
Thieves are a pain - should you be battling one and your Mana Shield runs out (not from having too little mana, but from the limited time it will last for) then prepare for him to flee and backstab. If he flees then flee yourself ( hoping it's in a favourable direction) and recast it - then go hunting. Often he will try to trip you but just keep casting and looking for a chance to run and heal if the damage he inflicts is getting too much. Weakening spells could work well against them but a Blind is generally best of all.
Warriors are generally easy once you get Mana Shield - up till that point treat them with caution as their superb melee skill will wear you down as they try to Bash you as often as possible. Of course, a quick persusal of the Bash rules show that he can only Bash you if he has a weapon wielded - get the Strength reducing spells in (Chill Touch, Weaken and Plague as available). If he loses his weapon he is forced to resort to Kicks every other round while you can pound with about three spells (on average) in that time. Many decent warrior weapons are heavy so they can be very vulnerable to this tactic. Blinding them through Color Spray or Blind spells can very profitable as well.
Clerics are nasty - they get a lot more Hit Points that you, not much less mana or natural saving spell ability and they have plenty of spells. Generally speaking they have worse offensive spells that you but you are, on average, more likely to dispel them than they are to dispel you so that should be your primary goal. Blindness on them generally makes them run until they can cure it whilst the weakening spells is unlikely to remove weaponry. Blindness is probably the tactic to use, especially if you want to escape or force them to run.
Enemy mages are just a pounding match. Trying to dispel them is as bad a chance as them dispelling you, but it is probably best to make this your main aim as a dispelled mage is very vulnerable. The other option is to go for a Blind and then take your time and work on them with many attack/flee combinations.
For equipment you should keep an eye out for items that aid Hit Points primarily as Mana equipment (which is nice to have around) tends to be more commonplace. Saving spell equipment is good to have but not as necessary as it is for a warrior. As for Hit Roll and Damage Roll - forget them.
As previously mentioned this guide is based on equivalent levelled enemies in a one-on-one situation. If you come up against a much higher level foe then prepare to run (there are a couple of recent articles that deal with this topic) or just grin and bear it. Sometimes life is just unfair. There are, however, a couple of pertinent pieces of information that you will need to know.
Formations in a PK situation can be very useful as the various members will complement each other's strengths. It would be best to have a thief or a mage leading as they have the best chance of hunting a foe down - the combination of a couple of thieves or warriors getting an alternate bash/trip combination can really stop someone from escaping. A multi-class character also offers many other alternatives, and the possibilities therein are too many to fit within this article.
When you initiate an attack in a PK area you can be attacked in a lawful areas - try HELP BLOOD for details. While it is illegal to use the spell Summon to bring a player to you (especially for the purposes of Player Killing them) it is not illegal to Phase to a Blooded player to attack them while weak. SETPHASE N or SETPHASE T will generally stop them (read HELP SETPHASE for details).
The other point about being Bloody is that someone can type BLOOD and see who is Bloody in the local area as well as direction and approximate distance. This only works within the wilderness so if someone is chasing you down when you are weakened in this state just dive inside the nearest zone. Instead of getting a direction and rough range, a hunter will get a result of "In the near area..." and would have to search through the areas in a zone.
Occasionally you will come across a term known as Cherry Picking - well, quite often really. A Cherry Pick is when a person attacks someone who is in a vulnerable position - this can be as soon as they finish a fight with a mob and are down on Hit Points and Mana as well as any short term spells (Mana Shield, Fireshield or Sanctuary) about to run out. A standard tactic is to locate a target who is fighting a mob, wait in the next room until you hear the death of the mob, then rush in and attack. Thieves and mages have the advantage here as they can use scan/farsight to locate a foe and then rush in with a Backstab or a Malediction/spell volley. Perhaps the most vulnberable targets are people who are resting or sleeping - the initial attack will cause significantly more damage than against a standing target.
A player with Blood is often to be seen searching for a safe place to regenerate their resources - perhaps one of the best concepts is to look at the Mayor's Office in Riverton. The Mines to the west of the town are a popular PK area but many is the Blooded player who rests in the Mayor's Office in the Town Hall. The main street is regularly swarming with people and a Blooded player resting in a side room is an ideal target to a scanning thief. The Mayor's Office is up from the Town Hall proper and, as such, is harder to see into for a hunter.
In conclusion, never take PK personally (although you should read the rules on PK thoroughly). It may be disheartening to be slain a few times, but it's a learning process and much more interesting than slaying mobs that are just so predictable.