About Nelkum
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Turning off the noise

Perhaps the hardest thing to deal with as soon as you enter the Academy is that suddenly all the channels get turned on, and everyone is talking at the same time. What you can do about it is turn off the channels that you don't need. First off, you can turn off the racetalk channel, because as long as you are in the Academy, nothing that happens on racetalk is relevant to you. To turn the racetalk channel off, type this (without the quotation marks): "chan -racetalk". Later on you can turn it back on ("chan +racetalk"), but by then you'll have a better sense of which things to read and which things you can skip over.  You might keep the ask channel and the chat channel turned on, but you don't need to read everything everyone says.  Unless you ask a question... then please, please, please read the answers instead of persistently asking the same question again!

Your New Player's Guide is filled with all sorts of essential information that you'll need to know to be an effective player. But how can you read it when everyone is talking? Well, there's a special place in the Academy just for this purpose. It's called Guidance, and to get to it go east and northeast from the Robed Figure where you entered the game. When you are at Guidance, people can still talk all they want, but you won't have to hear it.
Why you should get your constitution up to 20 and keep it there

It might be hard to imagine, but someday you could become an avatar (a level 50 player). Probably you'll never get to advance beyond level 50 (read Help Howtoimm), but even so, being an avatar is really cool. In fact, that's why most of the players in the game are avatars. They reach level 50, and they keep playing and playing.

But not every avatar is capable of performing well. Whether or not you will be viable as an avatar depends on the preparations that you make on the way to avatarhood. One of the most important preparations has to do with your hit point base. Every time you increase in level, you get additional hit points. But after you reach level 50, you won't increase in level anymore, probably. So if you are level 2 right now, you have only 48 hit point gains left until you're stuck with what you've got. Avatars without a strong hit point base aren't good for much except lugging around a bunch of equipment, or standing around casting spells.

There is something you can do to increase your hit point gains when you gain a level. Your hit point gain depends on your constitution at the time that you gain a level. Type "score" to see what your consitution is. What you need to do is increase your constitution to 20 as soon as you can. There are two ways to do this, using spells and equipment. The trollish vigor spell gives you a temporary boost of constitution, and if a level 40 or higher mage casts it on you, then the boost is 3 points. Two of the bots who are usually in the game and who can cast trollish vigor on you are Flareon (u e from the Robed Figure) and yours truly (u n 4e from the Robed Figure). Take a look at the bot's bio for instructions: type "whois (name)".

There are three pieces of Academy equipment that raise your constitution:

  • New Player's Guide (by 2) 
  • The belt from the cage mobs at 2e from the Robed Figure (by 1)
  • The ring of discord (by 1) from the rabid ferret at e, 2d, w from the Robed Figure. Wait until you have gathered all the equipment from the cage mobs before braving this ferret, because he hits pretty hard.
Neckwear is especially helpful with constitution, because you can wear two items on your neck at the same time:
  • Traveling cloaks, levels 2-6 (by 1): these come from the Sentinel area, but unless you are at least level 12, you shouldn't even think about getting them by yourself. Try asking for them on the traffic channel. Level 2 cloaks could cost you a couple million coins, but the level 4 or 5 cloaks aren't nearly so costly. Each cloak gives a bonus of 25 hit points. 
  • Amulets, levels 5-8 (by 2): these come from the myconoid shaman in the Great Eastern Desert. Occasionally there are some big mean mobs that wander around there, but the amulet is much easier to obtain than the traveling cloak. Level 5 amulets are rare. I've heard that amulets also come in level 4, but I've never seen one that low. The part of the Great Eastern Desert where the amulet is to be found is at 8e, 2se, s, 4se, 2s, sw, w, sw, 2s, 3se, sw, s, 2sw, w, 2sw, nw, 2d, sw, d, n, ne, e from DH[].  Be sure that you can fly as you follow this path, and take a recall scroll, because it is a one-way path.  Be careful not to go east from the Underground Lake.
Other equipment that raises constitution:
  • Thick leather jerkin, levels 3-6 (by 1): It's from the Sentinel, and I'd be amazed to see a level 14 player obtain this without help from anyone. Also increases strength and dexterity. Try the traffic channel. 
  • Lizard gaiters, levels 3-6 (by 1): from A Moment in Nature. Enter the portal at the far western end of the Academy. Increases your hit points. Reduces your charisma, but big deal! These are perhaps the best leggings below level 12 that you can obtain without outside help. (Halflings should get a pair of short brown pants from their nation hometown and find another way to increase constitution.)
  • Farmer's longjohns, levels 3-11 (by 1): from Crystalmir Lake. 
  • Pair of travelling boots, level 5 (by 1): from Wyvern's Tower.  The area is located at 6n, 3nw, w, n, 4e, s, w, (from here, make sure you are invisible to avoid being attacked by a nasty mongrel or a great big bear), sw, s, sw, 2s, sw, 3w, ne.  These boots aren't inside the tower itself, but are sold in the area called Wyvern's Tower that is the approach to the actual tower.  Look for a path to the north before you reach the tower itself.  Be careful not to enter the moat unless you are prepared for difficult fights.  You can enter the tower from the moat, but there is no walking path from the moat or the tower back to Darkhaven.  These boots increase dexterity also.
  • Cockroach's exoskeleton, levels 6-8 (by 1): from Tullfuhrzky Manor, from DH[] go nw, 2w, 4n, w, look painting. Much better than the farmer's longjohns. 
  • Nightshirt, levels 6-9 (by 1): also from Tullfuhrzky Manor. Almost as good as the cockroach's exoskeleton, but it doesn't have the same gross-out appeal.
  • Hide of a python, levels 6-8 (by 1): from Tullfuhrzky Manor. 
  • Claw of a forest bear, level 8 (by 2): an excellent talonous weapon from the Pixie Forest, from DH[] go 6n, 6e, se, e, 2ne, e, nw, 2n, 2ne, nw. Also gives a strength bonus. 
  • Gray robes of the monk, levels 8-9 (by 1): from the Sentinel area. You probably won't find this unless you can survive beyond the point where you get the traveling cloak. Try the traffic channel for this one. Includes bonuses for wisdom and damage roll. The effect of the gray robes on your armor class is awesome. Unfortunately, evil-aligned characters and some classes (thieves, vampires, and warrior-types) can't use it. 
  • Bearskin cloak, levels 8-12 (by 1): from the Gauntlet area. There isn't much of a market for these on the traffic channel, but they are a good substitute for the traveling cloak because they are less likely to get scrapped in battle. The hit point bonus is 20 points, as opposed to the 25 point bonus on the traveling cloak. Be careful when buying this, though, because there is another bearskin cloak (from Mahn-Tor) that does not increase your hit points or constitution. 
  • T-handled blade, levels 8-11 (by 1): from Ockwater Fens. This is a short blade weapon that is too difficult for you to get without help. Buy it on the traffic channel if you have enough money. Also gives bonuses of dexterity and luck. If you go to the touble of buying this, see if you can get an avatar to enchant it for you. (Make sure that avatar's alignment matches yours.)
  • Battered iron helmet, levels 9-12 (by 1): from the Gauntlet area. Use this instead of the beanie if you want a bonus of 20 hit points, and don't care about losing 10 mana or losing 2 points of wisdom.
  • Fishing pole cut from thick reed, levels 9-12 (by 1): a flexible weapon from Ockwater Fens. Much more expensive than the T-handled blade, but worth the price. Increases your damage roll by 3, plus another 3 if it is avatar-enchanted. Also improves your dexterity.
  • Periapt of health, levels 10-16 (by 2): from the Sentinel. Not rare, but quite hard to find. I've never known anyone to use this to max their constitution, but you can if you want. I still prefer the New Player's Guide.
Why you should max your strength, and how you should do it

After constitution, strength is your most important statistic (according to Nelkum). Why? Because if you're like me, you're a pack rat. Your containers are stuffed to the brim with as much junk as you can possibly carry. So what happens when you invest your fortune on that amazing piece of equipment on the auction? Why, the auctioneer tries to hand it to you, and it goes tumbling to the ground because you're at your max weight. So you drop your container to pick up your purchase, and here comes some thief mob and steals half your stuff because you left it on the ground. Or along comes some idiot lowbie who sacrifices your container full of stuff to get one gold coin for his sacrifice. All because you hadn't maxed out your strength. 

There are good ways and bad ways to increase your strength. Let's start with the bad ones. The ogre might spell increases your strength by 1 to 3 points, depending on the skill of the caster. The problem is that it's a temporary spell that's bound to wear off at the least opportune moment. Another bad way is to rely on your weapon's strength bonus. There are some mean old mobs out there who can disarm you and send your weapon flying. You go to pick it up, but you can't carry that much weight, so you're left there fighting without a weapon. You put up your dukes, but the mean old nasty mob just stands there and grins before delivering that fatal blow. 

Strength is important, and you'd best get it using equipment, but without relying on the strength bonus of your weapon. Here are some low-level items that can boost your strength:

  • Pair of splint metal sleeves, level 1 (by 1): You should already have this, since it comes from the Academy
  • Ruffled livery, levels 0-1 (by 1): Paladins get this from the pre-authorization area.  Warriors get a tarnished breastplate, and rangers get a weather-stained leather tunic.  Any of these three bodywear items will raise your strength by one.  If you play a different class, you will get a bodywear that raises a different statistic, but not strength.  But you can buy the livery (or the other items) from the Academy shop near the dragonsnake.  From the robed figure, w, d, s, 2e, s.
  • Frosty roseate ring, level 1 (by 1): Since this is a ring, you can wear two of them. It also boosts your hit points and mana. You'll find it in the Warehouse, 4w, 2n, sw from DH[], or u, n, 7w, 2n, sw from the Robed Figure.
  • Deerhide pants, levels 3-4 (by 1):  This can be found in the Warehouse, but it can only be worn by warriors, rangers and paladins.  But my preference is to use the lizard gaiters from A Moment in Nature for constitution (and a hit point bonus) instead of strength, or the eltor-hide leggings for strength (see below).
  • Iron bracers, levels 1-5 (by 2): these come from the Sentinel area, and you probably won't survive there unless you are at least level 10 or in a group. Best to ask for them on the traffic channel. 
  • Dark green robes, levels 2-5 (by 1): from the Sentinel area, same room where the traveling cloak is found. If you can buy this on the traffic channel it probably won't cost much.
  • Thick leather jerkin, levels 3-6 (by 1): This item comes from the Sentinel area, and if you are below level 14, I'd be amazed to see you get it all by yourself. Ask for it on the traffic channel. It also gives bonuses on dexterity and constitution. 
  • Thick metal chain, levels 4-7 (by 1): Now here's an item that you might be able to get in the Sentinel area if you are really good at fighting. Best if you take a group, though. And anyone who doesn't know how to fly is going to get left behind. Look for a place where you can go up, even though it doesn't say that you can go up. And once you get into the building, by all means avoid going north. There's a big nasty guy named Detrak there, and he's delighted by the fact that avatars can't help you get a CR (corpse retrieval) in the Sentinel. The max level there is 20. But try your luck at getting this chain. It has bonuses for your hit points and damage roll, and what it does for your armor class isn't half bad. If you can find your way around Detrak, you'll come to a pile that needs to be opened.
  • Headstone's stolen plaque, levels 5-9 (by 1): This reduces your charisma, but do you really care how pretty you look? OK, so maybe there are some benefits when it comes to impressing the opposite sex. But if it's strength you're after, look for this plaque in the Unholy Grounds. To get there from DH[] go nw, 2w, 4n, e, then look painting. 
  • Eltor-hide leggings, levels 6-38 (by 1): from the Northern Plains, located at nw, 2w, 4n, e, look painting, n.  These leggings also give 2 points of dexterity, a hitroll bonus, and 30 hit points.  Unfortunately they are not readily attainable by the characters who could benefit the most from using them.  The low-level leggings are found on Inahir children, who wander about in a huge area.  You would need to be about level 15 to kill them.  The children are very difficult to find if you are looking for them, although you are fairly likely to encounter them while walking through the Northern Plains on your way to another area.  Try to act like you don't care whether you find the Inahir child or not!
  • Plaid cotton apron, levels 6-10 (by 1): from the Shattered Refuge, located at 9s, w, 3s, w from DH[]. 
  • Stone shield, levels 6-10 (by 2): from the Shattered Refuge. Look for a scientist who is really a traitor near the southeast corner of the gnome area. Open the trapdoor below him, go down and head west. Look for a guard post on top of a hill. The hobgoblin guard there has this shield. Thanks to Tashana for reminding me about this shield's strength bonus!
  • Panther-crested ring, levels 7-9 (by 1): From Lady Tullfuhrzky in Tullfuhrzky Manor. With additional bonuses on dexterity and hit roll. You'll find Tullfuhrzky Manor by setting out from DH[] and going nw, 2w, 4n, w, look painting. 
  • Bright silver bracer, levels 8-19 (by 1): This is a nice item because it includes a hit point bonus, and since it fits on your wrist you can wear two of them. But it is a so-called "area repop," which makes it fairly hard to get. It comes from the area called Crystalmir Lake (see directions on my home page). You'll find it in a fire pit, unless someone else got to it first. "Area repop" means the next one won't show up until the area resets, indicated by the appearance of a message in dark green. But this item won't show up at the area reset if anyone is in the Crystalmir Lake area, including you. This is why the bright silver bracer sells for a lot of money. It also increases your hit points by 5. 
  • Leather leggings, levels 8-12 (by 1): from the Gauntlet area. You'll need to ask for these on the traffic channel. But beware, because there are other leather leggings that are not from the Gauntlet area, and they don't give a strength bonus. You'll know you have the right leggings if you drop them on the ground and type "Look". You'll see icky stains!
  • Studded leather gauntlets, levels 9-11 (by 1): from the Gauntlet.
  • Arabella's golden bracelet, levels 11-12 (by 1): from the Unholy Grounds. Not much better than the lightweight tin sleeves except for a bonus of 5 hit points.
  • Golden ring encrusted with diamonds, levels 11-12 (by 1): from the Unholy Grounds. It raises hit points by 10 and mana by 20, so it's an improvement over the frosty roseate ring.
  • Earrings of Solace, levels 12-20 (by 1): from the Town of Solace (see directions on my home page). These are sold in the marketplace. Do not go up into any towers while looking for the marketplace!
  • Gold chain bracelet, levels 13-17 (by 1): from the Coral Depths, where it can be found in the famous locker of Davy Jones. You need the aqua breath spell, detect invis and detect hidden to find Davy. Coral Depths can be found at 6s, ne, 2s, se, 2e, s, 2sw, s, 2e, u, 3e, ne, 2e from DH[]. Follow the path until you find a "somewhere" exit, then type plunge. Go all north, then all east. Attack Davy, even if he looks like he can kill you. He'll place you in his locker, where you should use the search skill to find this bracelet and other valuable items. Usually they aren't there, but it's worth a try. The bracelet also increases dexterity.
  • Heavy woolen apron, levels 14-21 (by 1): from deep within the Coral Depths. Not nearly as good as the thick metal chain.
All about Academy equipment

You have twenty-four slots that you can fill with wearable equipment. Check your equipment (type "garb") to see what you are wearing. The twenty slots are Light, Finger (2 items), Neck (2 items), Body, Head, Legs, Feet, Hands, Arms, Shield, About, Waist, Wrist (2 items), Wield, Hold, Ears, Eyes, Back, Face, Ankle (2 items). You can find which slots are empty by typing "garb".  If you gather ALL of the equipment from the Tower of Knowledge (the pre-authorization area) and from the Halls of Knowledge (the main part of the Academy), then you can fill nineteen of the twenty-four slots.  Aside from your ears (which can be covered with items from Miden'nir and Pixie Forest), the remaining slots are your back, face, and both ankles.  These were added to the game very recently, and there is quite a market for the few items that can fill them.  My advice is that you not worry about the new slots, because the equipment that fits there improves only armor class and is exorbitantly expensive.

I'll start with the things you can find up to the point where you touch the orb (Armor class is complicated. The numbers given are what you see when you identify an item, and the actual effect on your armor class is shown like this: [24]. For example, when you ID your academy bodywear, you'll see the numbers 7 and -3, but its actual effect on your armor class is 24.  If you see a 4 instead of 7 it's because your armor needs to be repaired by a blacksmith. You'll find one at u, n, 3w, 2s, e, s from the Robed Figure.)

  • LIGHT: Ball of iridescent light
  • HOLD: New Player's Guide (ac 8 [8], INT 1, WIS 1, CON 2) 
  • WIELD: The eleven varieties are not all in the same weapon class, but they all have the same statistics: (damage 1-6, magic, unenchantable, hr 2, dr 1)
    • BLUDGEONS: Ivory staff, Wooden warhammer
    • LONG BLADES: Blade of virtue, Ebony broadsword, Forged steel broadsword, Inscribed blade
    • SHORT BLADES: Ceremonial blade, Evil black knife, Long silver dagger, Switch-blade, Weather-beaten trident
    • All eleven of these weapons are sold in the shop below the cage mobs and can be used by any character class.
  • SHIELD: There are eleven varieties, but they have identical statistics: (ac 4 [4], hr 1, dr 1). They disintegrate (autosac) if you drop them, but you can buy a replacement in the shop below the cage mobs. 
  • FINGER: Brand of the peaceful {non-deadlies only} (hp 5, ac 5 [5], DEX 1) 
  • BODY: Differs according to your class, but with similar statistics: 
    • Black death robes (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], INT 1
    • Blood-stained shroud (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], DEX 1
    • Embroidered runed robes (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], INT 1
    • Monk's cassock (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], WIS 1
    • Plain leather vest (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], DEX 1
    • Robes of nature (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], WIS 1
    • Ruffled livery (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], STR 1
    • Runed plate (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], WIS 1
    • Tarnished breastplate (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], STR 1
    • Weather-stained leather tunic (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], STR 1
    • White, silken shirt (hp 5, ac 7/-3 [24], DEX 1

    • Incidentally, you can buy any of these bodywear items at the shop below the cage mobs, regardless of which one was issued to you, so you can choose according to which statistic you need most.
  • Stuff you don't wear: Burlap pouch, edible fungus, ancient dragonskin
You won't be able to return to the pre-authorization area, even if you die and can't find your corpse in time. In place of the ball of iridescent light you can buy a bright ball of light at 5s, 2e, se, 2s, w, n from the place where you go when you die. Or find your way to Nelkum at 7e of DH[] and say 'light'. Your brand of the peaceful can be replaced with a ring of discord (see below). Everything else listed above can be replaced in the shop beneath the cage mobs.  While you are there, you might buy a glow of illumination, which gives a slight advantage over the ball of iridescent (-1 on save vs. spells; for saving rolls, negative numbers count in your favor).

Below is an overview of what you can get from cage mobs in the Academy (2 east from the Robed Figure).  Each class gets items of different names, but the statistics are identical.  The only exception is that the deadly class of bladesingers gets equipment with statistics that don't match those listed below, but it is illegal for non-deadlies to own bladesinger equipment.

  • ABOUT BODY: (ac 3 [6], autosac) cape of the champion, cape of woven entrails, cloak of meditation, cloak of shadows, cover of night, gray wizard's robes, heaven's favor, mist of the seas, priest's robes, robes of the conjurer, tracker's cloak
  • FEET: (ac 3 [3], mv 100, autosac) black buckled boots, boots of courage, boots of divinity, boots of excursion, boots of lore, boots of nature, boots of prudence, boots of stealth, boots of the martyr, pair of moldy boots, shadowed steps
  • HANDS: (ac 3 [3], DEX 1, autosac) blessing of Ceridwen, brown leather gloves, gauntlets of bestial strength, gloves of black magic, gloves of convalescence, gloves of the curate, prestidigitation, razor-sharp talons, sticky fingers, theurgic gauntlets, thick leather gloves
  • HEAD: (ac 3 [6], INT 1, autosac) crown of leaves, crown of the blessed, curse of Caine, fresh blood-covered scalp, helm of enchantment, helm of enlightenment, hood of obscurity, journeyman's cap, metal skullcap, tri-corner hat, wizard's hat
  • LEGS: (ac 2 [4], autosac) bone-plated leggings, cloth pants, iron plated leggings, leggings of augury, leggings of survival, leggings of the forest, leggings of the vampire, pair of torn breeches, plated leg-guards, runed leggings, stalwart greaves
  • NECK: (ac 4 [4], autosac) amulet of divination, bloodstained bandana, bonds of greed, cloak of the hunter, cloak of valor, collar of bone shards, collar of might, mystic's talisman, rosary beads, sorcerer's talisman, tendrils of shadow
  • WAIST: (ac 3 [3], CON 1, autosac) belt of braided hair, belt of knotted twigs, belt of thaumaturgy, belt of the wicked, bright red sash, chain link belt, girdle of fortitude, pouch-covered belt, sash of white cotton, sash of white magic, utility belt
  • WRIST: (ac 2 [2], LUC 1, autosac) bracer of crackling energy, bracer of deception, bracer of faith, bracer of the forest, bracer of white ash, circlet of foresight, crafted iron bracer, cuff of maggots, gold bracelet, primal tattoo, straight cuffs
Elsewhere in the Academy you can find the following items:
  • ARMS: Pair of splint metal sleeves (ac 2/2 [0], STR 1) 
  • EYES: Visor of enlightenment (ac 2 [2], INT 1, WIS 1) 
  • FINGER: Ring of discord (ac 3 [3], CON 1) 
  • WIELD: Shortsword named "Snakebite" (Long blade, min dam 1-3, max dam 6-7, STR -1, dr 3, magic, unenchantable, anti-good, anti-vampire). Because it drains your strength, this might not be the best weapon for you. But it increases your damage roll by 3, as opposed to the weapon that you got when you started the game, which increases it by only 1, so if you can live with reduced strength, this weapon isn't so bad. 
  • You may also find a pouch containing potions and a scroll if you explore carefully above the cage mobs. But these are not things that you can wear.
    Stoneheft answers 'Oh Jeeeze, we have a Nelkrakiem too, that's what we need.  : p'
    Nelkrakiem answers 'It's ridiculous some of these names that get authed : )'
    Rediculous answers 'No it isn't.'

    Morrandir chats 'Nelkum is one of the few avatars on RoD, that is used as a common landmark'
    Cersei chats 'As in go east, then turn left at Nelkum and you're almost there.'
    You chat 'Hmm, people are making fun of my sedentary lifestyle.'
    Cersei chats 'Honey when the mud under your feet's a different archeological layer from the mud next to you, you're more than sedentary.'

    Skivven chats 'He's got more triggers than a bus-full of New Yorkers...'
    Nelkum chats 'LOL!'
    Skivven chats '*Prays to get put on the website*'
    Nelkum chats 'OK, you'll get your wish, Skivven'
    Skivven chats '*Prays for immortal power*'
    Skivven chats '*Pokes Shadrack* That's your cue...'
    Shadrack chats 'ouch...go cut your fingernails :P'

    Stoneheft chats 'I am a bot.  *Automated response to my name in chat chan*'

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