A Pirate's Life
This page offers guidelines on playing a pirate in Shartak. It focuses on the info needed to get a new pirate off to a reasonable start on Shartak. Pirates lead fairly solitary existences in the current epoch of Shartak: once there were large pirate clans but now most pirates carry on life (and death) on the island alone. In the absence of a mentoring culture amongst fearsome buccaneers, we hope this introduction helps.
The areas of primary importance in any camp are the Weapons Hut, the Healer's Hut and the Trader's Hut. Look around the shipwreck, however, and you will see only the Trader's Hut - the pirates' home camp does not have a Weapons Hut or a Healer's Hut. Instead there are various cabins and rooms within the wreck that provide limited resources appropriate to pirates.
Within the wreck the Armoury is the best place to search for weapons and the Large Cabin is the best place to search for FAKs. The Hold and the Large Cabin are also good places to search for gems, gold coins and rum. Other items that may be found include bottles or gourds of fresh water.
The Trader's Hut is not strictly a resource hut. NPC traders maintain a stock of goods that may either be purchased using gold coins or bartered for using other items. The traders may also be persuaded to buy, or barter for, items in the player's inventory.
In general the wreck should be considered as a resource-scarce location. It is, after all, a wrecked ship. The huts at outsider camps are much richer in resources for stocking up the player's inventory. Searching in an outsider Weapons Hut will yield rifles, bullets, machetes, knives, daggers, GPS units and sharpening stones. Searching in an outsider Healer's Hut will yield healing FAKs (first aid kits), bottles of water, gold coins, machetes (usually blunt), knives (also usually blunt) and sharpening stones.
When starting out a pirate player should consider carrying 2 or 3 cutlasses or machetes (they can become blunt or break during use), a knife or dagger, at least one GPS unit to aid navigation, a sharpening stone and plenty of FAKs and bottles of water / rum. Keep a few empty bottles and suchlike, you can refill them with fresh water. Remember that anything can be traded in sufficient quantity. Note also that gold coins do not take up any of your inventory space whilst all other items do require inventory space. Gold is best saved for buying consumable resources such as FAKs, use everything else as a trade item.
Tip: It is important to note that the shipwreck is geographically very isolated. The nearest outsider camp is probably York, three or more days' journey from the wreck. The nearest camp of any kind is the native village of Dalpok, two or more days' journey from the wreck. The natives of Dalpok are, however, not particularly friendly towards outsiders or pirates.
Tip: The GPS unit is your friend. The isolation of the shipwreck and the harshness of the jungle can result in death by attrition. Learn to navigate via GPS and your life will be much easier.
Tip: The shipwreck is so resource-scarce that it is effectively a disadvantage for low-level pirates. Beginner pirates who want to level up in the swiftest manner should get away from the wreck as soon as they can. The outsider camps of Durham and Derby are the most pirate-friendly towns; even the dangerous town of York is a better place for a beginning pirate. In any outsider camp the better availability of FAKs results in a higher XP yield for both hunting and healing activities.
Skills For All Classes
There is a Golden Triad of skills for all characters on Shartak i.e. Combat, Healing and Movement. By developing this triad as early as possible the character will maximise the rate of XP gain. Early development is very important as XP costs for skills increase progressively. A poor start can result in a character being stuck at lower levels for longer than is strictly necessary.
If you plan to advance via combat you should get the HTH combat skills as soon as possible. Mathematically-speaking a rifle offers the most efficient method of killing animals for XP, at least until Close quarter combat and Advanced close quarter combat have been obtained (and Body building too if you want to be really pernickety).
Tip: HTH combat vs animals results in greater damage to the player than ranged combat vs animals. This can be used to the player's advantage i.e. to gain more XP from combat and self-healing.
Tip: Don't neglect the HTH combat skills! These are the base-level combat skills for everyone.
Triage and First aid are exceptionally useful to most classes. Triage offers no XP in and of itself, it merely allows identification of wounded players and helps prevent wasteage. First aid doubles the HP healed by an FAK (first aid kit) and means that one FAK can gain you as much as 10 XP (as opposed to 5 XP without the skill). It also makes FAKs go further, meaning less time spent searching for FAKs, rather useful at the shipwreck where FAKs are scarce. Together these skills offer an XP income stream that does not rely on hunting or combat but only if a ready source of FAKs is available.
Tip: Wounded players who have run out of FAKs usually head for the nearest Med Hut or Trader's Hut.
Tip: Scarcity of FAKs at the shipwreck makes healing a less-attractive career for the pirate than for either outsiders or natives. Nevertheless, improved personal healing benefits everyone regardless of class.
Everyone benefits from getting the Exploration and Trekking combination as soon as possible, ideally after the combat and/or healing skills. Exploration enables the player map and Trekking halves the APs required to travel through jungle of density 6 or less. The primary reason for purchasing the movement skills is to preserve more APs for activities that gain XP i.e. hunting, combat, healing, searching for goods et al.
Tip: Given the resource-scarce nature of the shipwreck there is a strong case for pirates purchasing Exploration and Trekking at an early stage to allow easier access to other camps.
Tip: Although movement skills don't earn XP in and of themselves, chopping jungle can earn a few XP and trading with a trader from another settlement can earn 100 XP for each 'first' visit (see 'Haggling' below).
Tip: Trekking should always be purchased immediately after Exploration as the latter is of very limited use on its own.
Once you have maxed the three main groups (Combat, Movement, Healing) the skill choice becomes much more subjective.
Stamina is a good purchase. The extra HP can mean the difference between death and running a cutlass through your attacker's gizzard. It has no direct XP-earning capability but it does mean that you can take (and self-heal) a lot more damage.
Tip: Stamina should only be purchased when the character has sufficient FAKs or herbs in hand to immediately heal the bonus HP from stamina (and earn 20 XP for doing so).
Haggling is another nice-to-have but should not be taken too early. Traders can be visited repeatedly but XP from trading can only be garnered by continually doing the rounds of the traders at all settlements (not just your own). You have to move from trader to trader (camp to camp) to get the most out of trading transactions. Haggling can offset the negative reactions of a trader who is visited too frequently but it is not guaranteed to do so.
Tip: Even without Native knowledge a trading pirate can take advantage of native herbs. Healing herbs are higher-value items that can usually be traded for FAKs on a 1:1 basis.
Native knowledge may seem to be of limited use (jungle berries are an emergency measure at best) but it does open up one very important option - the use of native healing herbs in addition to FAKs. With this ability the native villages become a useful source of healing items. Note that for pirates the native herbs will only heal 5 HP as opposed to FAKs healing 10 HP (with First aid) but they will stop bleeding. Like rifles and bullets, native blowpipes and darts are a waste of time for a pirate who has mastered the HTH skill tree.
Tip: Native knowledge can be a lifesaver for a stranded, injured pirate. Give serious consideration to purchase of this skill if you do not intend to stay in or around an outsider town.
Tracking skills are enormously useful to the venegance-minded or to those defending an area as, at higher levels, they allow you to track specific people if you have them in your contact list.
The following initial advancement paths are suggested. Within each path certain skills can be swapped around based upon the preferred style of play. It is advisable to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a chosen strategy before implementing it in play.
Fighter / Hunter
(1) Close quarter combat -> (2) Advanced close quarter combat -> (3) Bodybuilding -> (4) Exploration -> (5) Trekking -> (6) Balanced Stance -> (7) Stamina -> (8) Triage -> (9) First aid -> (10) Native Knowledge
This path relies upon hunting animals / natives / outsiders as the initial method of XP generation and therefore establishes the primary HTH combat and movement skills as early as possible. By level 10 the character is fairly well rounded. There is a strong case for purchasing Native knowledge before Triage if there is a lack of available FAKs or if healing herbs are available.
Trader / Healer
(1) Exploration -> (2) Trekking -> (3) Native knowledge -> (4) Triage -> (5) First aid -> (6) Bodybuilding -> (7) Stamina -> (8) Haggling -> (9) Close quarter combat -> (10) Advanced close quarter combat
This path relies upon trading and healing as methods of XP generation and requires access to supplies during the initial levels. The movement skills at level 1 and 2 allow for a wider range of play and XP-gathering trading visits to nearby villages. The lack of early combat skills does not preclude hunting as a method of obtaining XP; it just means that animals will not be killed as quickly and will likely inflict more damage before they are dispatched. Levels 3 to 5 result in improved healing supplies and open up greater freedom to roam. By placing emphasis on native knowledge rather than triage the character gets early access to healing supplies from native villages. Levels 6 and 7 improve survivability versus dangerous animals / natives. The level 8 skill presumes that the character is making frequent trading visits and it will help offset potential negative reactions but will not result in more XP. Everything from level 8 onwards is optional and almost certainly subjective.
Technically-speaking, advice on clan membership falls outwith the remit of a beginner's guide (there is nothing simple or quick about inter-clan politics). However given the paucity of XP-earning opportunities at the shipwreck clan membership is a worthwhile consideration for a beginning pirate. Joining a pirate clan will almost inevitably lead to combat and XP. By working with experienced pirates you can participate in raids on target locations away from the wreck and learn useful strategies for hiding and stalking (a necessity of pirate life). As pirate clans never seem to last for long it is worthwhile checking the Shartak forum to see which one is currently in ascendancy. It is also advisable to check out the reputation of a pirate clan before joining up; membership in the wrong clan can be the equivalent of the Black Spot. The current premier pirate clan is The Bloody Legion of Black-Hearted Brigands, the successor to larger but now extinct pirate clans such as the Pirate High Command, the Brotherhood of the Coast, the 1st Imperial Privateers Regiment, the Jolly Roger Crew, and the Scurvy Crew of the Hellborne Strumpet.