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Coordinating a Fellowship

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Whether your goals in Dereth are to obtain powerful magical items, greater experience, or a glimpse of the strange wonders the lands have to offer, you can achieve these ends more easily within a group.

Whether joining up with old allies or assembling a new party from passersby in a dungeon, you'll want to create a fellowship to unify your group. In addition to generating strength in numbers, a fellowship makes communication easier and allows both experience and treasure to be shared. There is absolutely no reason not to form one, as you can create, join, or leave a fellowship at any time.

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Creating a Fellowship
Up to ten players may join together in fellowship. The player originally creating the fellowship functions as its designated leader, who can recruit new members (up to the limit) or dismiss current ones. When this leader exists the game, the fellowship is automatically disbanded.

To create a fellowship, simply click the Social Systems button (the triangle marked with the outline of several heads), and then the Fellowship tab. Enter a name for your fellowship, and click the Create Fellowship button. You can name your fellowship anything you like, but most fellowships name themselves after their primary objective: for example, "Kill the Olthoi Queen" or "Direlands Exploration Party." This advertises your mission to all prospective members, and helps current ones keep it in mind.

On the Fellowship panel will be a checkbox allowing players to choose between two different types of fellowship: XP Sharing and Non-XP Sharing/No Level Limit. These types will determine how experience points earned by the entire fellowship will be distributed amongst its members (for more details on this, see the "Division of Experience Points" section further down).

Also on the Fellowship panel is a checkbox allowing players to access the corpses of all creatures slain by any member of the fellowship. (Normally, only the player who defeats a particular creature has access to that creature's corpse for a limited time. After that time, anyone may loot that creature for treasure.)

Once you've created a fellowship, the Fellowship tab will display a Members box, below which are the buttons Recruit, Dismiss, and Disband. Select a character within your compass range, and click Recruit to add him or her to your party. If you are sure they wish to join, but you receive a message back stating that the person is not accepting fellowship requests, inform him or her to click the "Accept Fellowship Requests" check box on the Fellowship tab. Any member can access a list of party members in the Fellowship panel, and can click any name in the list to view that character's sex, race, class, and player-killer status, in addition to Health, Stamina, and Mana. Each of the primary attributes is listed with its current value, a slash, and the normal value.

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Follow the Leader
You'll notice that your fellowship members appear as green dots on your compass, making them easy to keep track of at close range. To avoid separation, appoint one person to guide the others. For simplicity sake, it's often easiest to have the fellowship leader be the one out in front. When you're entering unknown territory, especially in dangerous dungeons, the leader may want to appoint the best runner in the group as a scout, and dispatch that person from time to time to explore ahead and report back. The scout should, of course, be careful not to draw monsters down on the party.

If any member of your fellowship gets killed or otherwise separated from the group, click the "Talk to Fellows" option on the chat menu (located in the lower left corner of the screen). This will send your chat messages to all fellowship members no matter how far apart they are. The leader can then decide how to reunite the group.

Note that you can also address your fellowship by typing "/f" and then a comma before a message, such as: /f, Wait, comrades!

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Prepare for Battle
After a scout has reported back on the local monster situation, decide whether your party should proceed. You might try this rough formula for determining the minimum number of characters you'll need to defeat a given monster:

# of characters = level of monster/average level of characters (+2 if a monster's level exceeds the characters' average level)

So if you're traveling with a group of fifth-level characters, you might have characters attack 10th-level monsters four on one, fifth-level monsters three on one, fourth-level monsters one on one, and second-level monsters one on two. However, regardless of the number of people in your party, it's probably best to avoid any monster that is over twice the level of your average character.

Once you've agreed to fight the monsters, make sure everyone is at full Health and Stamina, and designate healers who'll stay out of combat to support party members. Then create a game plan. If the monsters are not too tightly grouped or if they're located on the other side of a choke point, like a narrow entrance into a room, you might have the scout run ahead and try to draw them to the party one by one. One Zone Staff group, for instance, used this tactic to defeat a whole roomful of Lugians that would have otherwise crushed them in a direct assault.

If you've decided to join a fight with a group of monsters that's too large and powerful to gang up on properly, don't split your attacks between different monsters. Have everyone concentrate on killing one monster at a time, starting with magic-using monsters and then working your way through the highest to the lowest-level ones.

Each character should watch his or her Health and Stamina carefully (check the red and yellow status bars at the top of the View Window). Healers should keep their Fellowship tab open and constantly click through the members list to see who needs help. Melee combatants should use the E key or magnifying glass icon to examine the creature they're fighting, comparing its stats to theirs to determine whether to flee or not. For instance, a character fighting a Lich might disengage if he or she realizes that its Health isn't going down or its Mana has recharged to the point that it can cast another powerful spell. Characters should constantly use chat to report major wounds, both to alert healers and keep the group aware that they might have to run. Characters who run should try to heal themselves and get back into the fight as soon as possible. A couple of adventurers can often defeat a superior monster by taking turns cycling out of combat, getting healed, and then going back in. However, monsters will tend to follow the last character they attacked until he or she is out of range, so you'll need plenty of room to run if you try this tactic.

It will also prove useful to give trusted members of your fellowship permission to loot your corpse. Thus, if you make an ill-timed trip back to the Lifestone and unable to reach your corpse, your fellowship members can rescue your items for you. Additional information on corpse-looting permissions can be found in the article: "Recovering from Death."

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Division of Experience Points
On your Fellowship panel, there will be a checkbox allowing players to choose between two different types of fellowship: XP Sharing and Non-XP Sharing/No Level Limit.

Fellowships are defaulted to XP-Sharing. If all members of the fellowship are within 5 levels of the founder, XP will be shared equally. If members are all within ten levels of the founder, XP will be shared proportionally.

If all members of the fellowship are level 50 or above, all members will share XP equally, and there will be no limit to the levels of the members involved. Players of level 50, 55, 70, and 90 could all be in the same fellowship, each earning 25% of the XP.

Alternatively, any ten players can join a No XP-Sharing/No Level Limit fellowship, which functions precisely as it sounds. A level 2, a level 20, and a level 80 player could all be in the same fellowship for targeting and communication purposes, but no XP would be shared between them.

If the makeup of a fellowship changes such that it would invalidate the current type, the fellowship will dynamically change to accommodate this. For example, if a level 10 player creates an XP-Sharing fellowship, and a level 5 and a level 15 player join, they will split the XP equally. If a level 20 player subsequently joins, the fellowship will automatically change to a proportional sharing fellowship. If the level 20 player then leaves, the fellowship will revert to the way it originally was set; there will be no need to recreate the fellowship. (However, you will have to recreate the fellowship if you wish to change from XP-Sharing to Non-XP-Sharing.)

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Sharing the Spoils
The leader should distribute all immediately useful items to the players who can benefit from them most. If a character upgrades his or her equipment from fellowship loot, he or she should turn over old equipment to anyone who can benefit from it. A good leader will keep an eye on this. No one should be hauling around armor or weapons that are superior to those in use. Any loot that can't be used by the fellowship should be converted to pyreals at the end of the adventure and divided evenly among members.

If the "Share Fellowship Treasure" box has been checked, then remember that fellowship members will be able to loot the corpse of any creature killed by the party.

The Human Factor

Every group has its unique dynamics. Make allowances for the personalities and preferences of your fellow party members and adjust your interactions accordingly. Working effectively as a group to achieve some big goal requires much more organization, strategy, and planning than solo adventuring. It can therefore be a lot more satisfying and meaningful. Good luck on your travels, and may your fellowships be prosperous!