First of all, let me call your attention to the first word of the title of this page - self-defense. This is precisely what this is all about. I will not try to tell you how to go on a daemon-slaughter tour in Hythloth or how to act in a mass-combat while perpetrating a violent assault on Orc Fort or even teach you the best techniques to be used when you get involved in a PK-Anti-PK war. Self-defense is first and foremost the ability of avoiding a fight; all the examples given are things you do when you yourself are actively looking for trouble. This page is not about that at all. If you prefer such things, then go to Covetous - off you go - Shoo! But we all know that sometimes trouble will find you first, whether you like it or not, and those of us which are of a more peaceful disposition might like to know how to survive such unpleasant events, preferably with our skins and worldly possessions intact. That is the meaning of self-defense and that is what I will talk to you about.
Some of you might like to know what I mean by "seamstress-witch". It is just a denomination for those of us who finance their studies in magic with extensive, and very lucrative, tailoring - it's as simple as that. This will also somewhat define the general character in terms of stats, I will presume throughout this text that you have high intelligence and dexterity, while your strength might be trailing. I am a very good example of this myself, both my former statistics are quite high, and at the same time I could barely wear bone-armor or wield a Viking sword. Now you probably know that this is very much to my liking anyway, since neither does look any fashionable at all, but never mind that for now. This is not "Ye Ol' Tank-Mage's Combat Manual" however, just keep that in mind. Let's get down to the subject at hand.
I will separate this page into four parts for easy over-view:
Avoiding combat is the absolutely best form of self-defense. If there is no combat in the first place then you won't get hurt at all either. Basically there are four methods of avoiding combat altogether, Recalling away, running away, hiding and, of course, making your opponent avoid you. All these methods have their own pros and cons, let's consider them one by one. Using magic, Recall, or even Teleport, is a terrific way of avoiding any unpleasant encounters, both spells are quite fast and leaves your opponent clueless about where you disappeared to, although another skilled wizard could figure out which of the spells you used just by seeing you casting. Teleport doesn't take you very far however, Recall is much, much safer. This method of course implies that you have the reagents needed at hand, or maybe a scroll (a very good option) and the mana to spend. It also helps to have that little spell-icon already up on your screen or the spell prepared as a macro, trying to find it in your closed spell-book within your closed backpack may spell a fatal delay. A very stylish, or foolhardy, person could even use a gate travel spell to make her get-away if she thinks she has enough time, just remember it's a very slow spell. But if you gate into a city and that Dread Lady opponent is foolish enough to follow you... Well, then she can't take more than three steps until she gets killed by some of Lord British murderous guards, and if the gate has closed behind her and if she cannot use magic to get out again, things might become really funny to watch. Sometimes, however, you might not have some of the necessary resources available to perform a magical get-away, then you have to resort to more down-to-earth methods. Running away, plain old hoofing it, is a pretty good option for a seamstress-witch. You're probably not heavily encumbered (I certainly hope you're not - because you shouldn't be) in the first place, which means you can run very fast. When running, don't run in a straight line, zigzag through the terrain, your opponent will have a tough time trying to target a fast moving person who moves a bit erratically, change direction a lot. You are *not* supposed to travel in any specific direction but to get away from your opponent. Instantly going into hiding is also a great way of avoiding combat, if you are good at it. For extra protection, hide behind another object such as a house or a tree, to make you extra difficult to spot. Casting the Invisibility spell is *not* an option in this case - it's a slow spell and the magical words appearing gives your position away. If you are fast enough to hide, your opponent might not even detect you at all, but if you see him stopping and he's just standing there nearby, then assume he is searching for you with a detect invisible. Prepare that Recall if you can do it at this time, (if you were caught unprepared), and use it instantly if your opponent starts so say Wis Quas (Reveal), or if you suddenly becomes visible for any other reason. The last option, looking so fearsome that the opponent rather avoids you is a really good option. The prime method of achieving this is to leave town only with a large group of other players, the "safety in numbers"-rule is very dominant in UO. Another method is running around the landscape without holding anything in your hands. To most veteran players eyes this appearance virtually screams "wizard", and few people like to take one on if they're not extremely good themselves. Actually since we all are seamstress-witches, this is probably what we would do normally anyway, since holding things in our hands hampers spell casting in the first place. To use this in the inverted manner, dressing up as a newbie while in fact being an adept mage is beyond the scope of this manual. This trick could be used for the purpose of luring other foolish players to attack, when you are actively searching for combat, but as I said that is *not* what this text is about at all. Now I do not have to tell you not to approach a person who is standing over another person's dead body without anything in his hands, or stop to open boxes you might find in the middle of the road, do I?
Next we come to the situation where you want to break off from an unwanted encounter. Here you probably will find yourself in a worse position that in the previous section where you could choose to get away before combat altogether. When you need to break off combat it is very likely that your opponent already has gotten a surprise drop on you, and you may be hurt already. A good thing to remember is - do *not* enter unsafe areas without your Magic Reflection up and operational. It is very important to be aware of the fact that this life saving spell doesn't last perpetually until hit by another spell nowadays, it will expire as time goes by as well, know how long your spell will last and recast it when necessary. If you manage to reflect the first spell cast at you, then you might just have the time to get away as previously described. An archer's bolt or arrow will not be reflected however, you might find yourself in big trouble if you are jumped by one of those. The major difference between this and the previous case is being aware of just how hurt you are, if you take too much damage then you might not be able to physically run away no matter how fast you are. Keeping an eye on your status-bar is a very prudent thing to do, so leave it up on your screen whenever you need to go out into the countryside. This far we have covered a ranged assault on you, magical or not, since this the most likely one - but you might even get attacked by a warrior from time to time. This is an easy situation to deal with, you *are* faster than he is in his tin-can armor, and as long as you don't get too hurt, you can outrun him, do so, don't let him get into your face - move it - move it - move it. Even if he is on horseback, just dodge into the Sosarian forests, a horse has an even tougher time than you finding its way through the vegetation. If you run physically, remember the lesson from the previous section and move a bit randomly, even a warrior could switch to ranged attacks if he sees he can't catch you otherwise. Don't stop to heal yourself until you are well out of range, your opponent might be able to hurt you faster than you can cast those healing spells, and if he can continue to hit you he might even be able to interrupt your spell casting. Of course if you know the bard skill, successful use of it can stop combat for a while. Maybe a summoned animal or a pet can distract your opponent long enough, there are many more variations than those mentioned here.
Sometimes, combat is completely unavoidable however, and you must hold your own to avoid getting killed. This is a much rarer event than many of those testosterone-filled young teenagers really think, since their first thought usually is to retaliate. Now you already know that the sensible first reaction is to get away. But let's assume you can't or even won't flee for some odd reason. Then you must remember who you are, a seamstress-witch, and hopefully proud of it. We fight with magic first and foremost, and we *always* fight with ranged attacks. If your opponent is another wizard then start probing with a Harm spell from afar. This will not hurt him much but it will bring down his Reflection if he's got it up. Then, and only then, you turn to your heavier artillery like Energy Bolts or Explosions. If you have friends nearby, be very careful with area attacks such as Meteor Swarms or Earthquake unless you yourself want to become a Dread Lady. Then remember your *other* advantage - your speed. Circle your opponent, move at all times that you are not casting yourself, he will have a difficult task trying to target you if you do so. If you have friends in combat, cast Reactive Armor on them and send them running into the face of your opponent, he will not have time to target you if he's in melee with a halberd wielding maniac hacking away at him. On a similar note, avoid an opponent's heavy fighters, they'll eat you for breakfast if they get close to you, but, as I said, you can most likely outmaneuver any opponents who are not as lightly encumbered as you. Now you might be a bit of an airhead from time to time and run out of reagents and scrolls. This is *not* a smart career-move for a seamstress-witch, but it could happen if you weren't keeping an eye on your inventory. What should you do then? Switch to your bow or crossbow of course, a bow is a fast weapon nowadays and hurling a stream of arrows at your opponent while dancing around him is to use precisely the same technique as if you were casting spells. Training archery as your primary combat mode is a very smart thing to do, you still don't want to fight hand to hand with anything bigger than a dog anyway, just don't forget that tactics and resist magic skills. It goes beyond saying that the bow you use as your personal weapon should be *the* most highly enchanted weapon you can possibly get hold on. Hey folks, my Lingerie Shoppe just got in a *brand new* accurate crossbow of power and daemon's breath with a lot of charges remaining... You should keep a close watch on your opponent's status box too. If he gets hurt too much without being able to hurt you back significantly, then *he* might decide to try to break away from you. At that moment you must make a split-second decision, let him go or press your attack. Letting him go is a very nice thing to do, but beware, he might just retreat to heal up and come back. If you decide to terminate him with or without extreme prejudice, then hit him with low-mid level spells like Vas Flam (fireball) - these spells are fast and hurt a good deal if you are a skilled witch. Don't give him the opportunity to use his Recall spell, and if he decides to run physically then follow him. You *are* faster than he is. If your opponent isn't a spell-caster at all, and is wearing heavy armor, then he will be dead-meat even if he is a Grand Master Warrior, provided you play it correctly. Just keep your distance at all times, no matter how hurt your opponent is, it's still not a good idea to get into his face. He might sport a Reactive Armor spell and if he is wielding a large weapon then have a healthy respect of it. Don't get cocky - stay cool and collected. Overconfidence might loose you the battle.
But there will come a time, no matter how good you are and no matter how careful you are, that you might find yourself eye to eye with a foe you simply cannot beat, no matter what. If it's a computer-generated enemy then you're most likely dead. D-E-D. It's a simple as that. But if it is a human opponent there are a few last-ditch defensive tricks you might try if all is lost anyway. Throwing all your money on the ground while running as fast as you can, might be that small distraction that may save you. Few players can resist the sight of a pile of gold, his eyes will go to it, and just maybe that small delay will gain you the time to finally use that Recall scroll (which you should have done long ago already). Just don't try to be smart about it. You *do not* have the time to separate out 6 gold coins from your own cache - just throw it all away - if the situation is so bad that you have to throw away your money - then you don't have time to try anything funny. Unless of course you are so smart that you actually are carrying around small piles of 6 gold coins to throw away as distraction already. Now don't say that clever preparations can't save you. If your opponent has managed to back you into a corner somehow, then be certain that your own Reactive Armor is working, RA is a very good deterrent from having a foe close in on you - especially if he is aware of the fact that you have one up. A small, but exceedingly fast and powerful handheld weapon can also save you, especially those with a ghoul's touch (Paralyze) enchantment, if your opponent is wielding a slow weapon. An unexpected successful hiding might also be your salvation, as might the use of your bard skill to stop fighting for just long enough to give you a chance to flee. You might even try to prepare a say-macro to plead for your life, but don't expect it to work. Few UO-players are willing to listen to pleads of mercy anyway, especially not when they have tasted your blood and think you are about to die anyway - but it might be worth a shot - if things are that desperate, anything goes.
Hopefully this little text has given you some ideas how to stay out of harms way. I'm sure that you will survive a lot longer out in the forest if you have to go out at all. Remember there is very little business to be done outside the safe confines of a city. Now let's be careful out there...
Are you crazy? Killing other players is the *only* way to play UO... get me to the Main Page.