Weapons are essential if one intends to survive for any extended period in a MUD and bash NPCs at the same time. You'll find that fighting with your fists is far less effective than having at least a cudgel of some sort which you can wield and jab monsters with.

There are many different weapon classes in a MUD: Since I've only played MUDs with medieval settings, I've not attempted to classify any high-tech weapons here. In simpler MUDs, weapon types do not usually matter; different weapon types are merely thrown in for variety and ranked according to how much strength you need to wield them and how effective they are in battle. However in other, more complex MUDs, the class you belong to affects your proficiency with certain weapon types. For example, fighters achieve optimum performance with blades and two-handed weapons, whereas monks might prefer to use clubs, slings or bows and arrows, weapons fashioned from the resources in the environment they hang out in.

A player usually requires only one hand to wield a weapon (unless it is explicitly stated that the weapon is two-handed). Many MUDs enable the player to wield different weapons in both hands: you could wield a sword in your right hand and a dagger in your left, and with a little luck, do twice as much damage. Longbows on the other hand (as common sense would indicate) require two hands to use. How effective you are with a weapon depends on your skill for that particular weapon class, aside from your strength and dexterity which determine your general fighting ability. (this is true for Nightmare-based MUDs)

Note for Newbies: Having a weapon in your possession does not mean you are using it. You must 'wield' it before it can be of any use to you! I've also seen seasoned but absent-minded adventurers carrying great swords in their inventory, pummelling monsters with their bare fists! Always remember this old adage: "It helps to wield the weapon."
Newbies are also not terribly effective with extremely powerful weapons favoured by more experienced players. As a newbie, your best bet would be a lightweight, easily-wielded weapon that the bigger players usually leave aside.

A Wizard's Note:
Weapon Class This usually determines how effective the weapon is in battle, and how many hit points (on average) that it takes off the opponent.
Weight/Encumbrance This is the factor that usually limits the number of adventurers who are capable of using the weapon. If the adventurer is not strong enough, lugging a heavy weapon about might mean that he/she is not able to wear any more armour which might weight him/her down further. There are some weapons meant for high-mortals/extremely strong players that a newbie cannot even pick off the ground!
Weapon Deterioration Some wizards code a decaying routine into their swords or sometimes it is inherent in the generic weapon code. This will reduce the efficacy of the weapon (its weapon class rating) by a few points after the weapon has been used to hit an opponent X number of times. Some MUDs offer the adventurer various ways of sharpening dulled blades. Special Hits Special hits are usually reserved for so-called superweapons which only high-level adventurers can use effectively. This is also one of the ways a wizard may individualise his/her weapon. Special hits, when they occur, take off a significantly larger amount of hit points than usual from the victim. The frequency at which these hits occur is dependent on very many factors which makes a weapon truly unique. For example, a weapon might be used only to attack evil-aligned monsters, or monsters of a certain gender! (The Bobbit knife is a shining example). Superweapons are coveted by all and attainable only by a few, if you ever get your hands on a superweapon, chances are that you'd spend sleepless nights rampaging the MUD until reboot is called.

Superweapons are the best weapons on the MUD, so each wizard is limited to coding only one or two of these at most. They're usually extremely difficult to obtain, requiring the adventurer to solve puzzles or kill Goliaths in the process. Although most weapons regenerate with the monster after a certain time period, superweapons are usually limited to one per MUD reboot, which means only one player can have that weapon at any given time. Superweapons also sell for huge sums of money.

As one might expect, wearing some form of armour protects you to some degree from damage inflicted by your opponent in combat situations. There are many different types of armour that can be worn at once, for example, helmets, main body armour, gloves, boots, rings, belts etc. You cannot wear more than two pieces of armour of the same type, i.e you cannot wear both a fedora and a baseball cap at the same time. In more sophisticated MUDs, the order you wear armour is also important - you wouldn't, for example, don your underwear only after putting on your pants. In many MUDs, your body is more than just a single entity whose health is represented by the number of hit points. In these MUDs, there is quite a complex limb system - where a player's body is made up of a torso, a head, arms and hands (the number of these depend on your race) and legs/feet. These different parts of your body are protected by their corresponding armour - helmets protect heads, gauntlets protect hands and so on.
Each armour type is characterised by an
AC number (Armour Class). This number represents how effective the armour is in fending off blows. A higher AC means a better piece of armour. In intermediate to advanced gameplay, having good armour makes a very great difference in combat situations.

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Copyright 1997 Artemis