Idlechasing for witches
Witches' magic is magic out of the earth, not out of the sky. Most of the strange abilities associated with 'the craft' have a physical aspect; requiring a person, a component, a talisman, or physical condition to be met.
Many of these abilities can be used anywhere with a touch of planning and forethought, requiring only the witches' mind, and occasionally a portable object. Some abilities require special gear or conditions, available only in certain locations. For this reason, an idlechasing witch may wish to construct two different sets of idling aliases. One that can be used in all common idlechasing areas, and a separate one that takes advantage of witch friendly spaces for maximum xp return.
- 1 Portable Skills (30x)
- 2 Non-Portable Skills (30x)
- 3 Lesser Guild Commands
- 4 Other Useful Commands for Witches
- 5 Table of cost and experience return
- 6 Locations
- 7 Example Aliases
- 8 See also
Portable Skills (30x)
Witches potentially have 9 unique 30x commands, plus the witch-only use of "convince". Some of the commands are not available in all areas, however. Convince, Fade, Gaze, Hedgehog, Imbue, Mock, Squint, and Tempt are readily available with a bit of planning. Circle requires a large area. Brew requires at least a source of fire.
Requires: a large hag stone.
Convince is the command witches use to prepare their tricks. Although it is not technically a guild command, it is one that only witches are able to use, and can provide a 30x return on xp. Although each stage of trick creation uses a different syntax, the convince command counts as only one command being repeated several times with a diminishing return on gp spent. By convincing a stone to learn a new trick, then convincing the stone to forget the trick, however, the stone will be reusable.
You may wish to create an alias that alternates between the 'convince to learn' and 'convince to forget' commands to get the best return on your xp. To set up an alias to swap between learning and forgetting, try playing with the following alias group. By using "idleconvince", the MUD will automatically realias "idleconvince" to alternate between "idleconvince1" and "idleconvince2".
- alias idleconvince idleconvince1
- alias idleconvince1 convince stone to learn Miss Anne's Idle Chatter;alias idleconvince idleconvince2
- alias idleconvince2 convince stone to forget trick;alias idleconvince idleconvince1
Alternatively, you may wish to create an alias in which you convince the trick that the first stage is easy. The likelihood of the stone exploding is reduced. To do this, you'd need to already have convinced the stone to learn a trick (for example, "My Idling Trick"), convinced it that it isn't cast on anything and that it has 1 stage (refer to 'syntax convince' at each stage.) Then use the following alias:
- alias idleconvince convince My Idling Trick that stage 1 is easy to cast
You may wish to carry backup stones when idlechasing. A failure at the "it has x stages" part can cause the stone to explode, so although the potential for using more gp at once is attractive, it may not be worth it--a simple convince to learn/convince to forget cycle is more reliable. The stone can also sometimes explode from "convince to forget", with low ma.me.me.convoking bonuses.
Convincing costs 30gp and returns 900xp max for the 'convince to learn' syntax.
Convincing costs 30gp and returns 900xp max for the 'convince to forget' syntax.
Convincing costs 30gp and returns 900xp max for the 'it is cast on...' syntax.
Convincing costs (30gp x stages) and returns (900xp x stages) max for the 'it has x stages' syntax.
Convincing costs 30gp and returns 900xp max for the 'convince that stage x is easy' syntax.
A witch can fade into the foreground, but will fade out of the foreground if she moves. Using the command again to fade back out of the foreground offers no extra xp.
Fading costs 25 (covert) gp and returns 750 xp max.
Gaze requires: a container (reusable); some water, and a small amount of ink (not reusable).
Although it gives a 30x return on xp, the components are annoying to maintain. The water will most likely mix with the ink by the time your gp have regenerated after your alias, so you'll want to carry a few bottles of water and ink if you plan to use Gazing in your alias on a regular basis.
Gazing uses 30gp and returns 900xp max.
If you choose to include this command in your idling, make sure your Inner Esme stamps down on your Inner Gytha before you start doing anything embarrassing.
The first part of the hedgehog command is to take a deep breath. This is the point when your Inner Esme should wise up and intercede. Once you start singing, There Will Be Trouble.
The Musician's Guild comes down very hard on offenders in Ankh-Morpork. NPCs may start to attack. Dummies may misfunction when trainers are distracted or killed. All in all, you are ok to warm up, but do not start to sing. Stop the command immediately after beginning.
Warning: It has been reported that the 'stop spell' very occasionally would not kick in quickly enough and a verse will slip out. Since the aliases described below never failed, this could be caused by the specific alias used.
- This should never happen if you define aliases clearly separating the actual hedgehog command and stop spell such as:
\alias xhedd hedgehog;stop spell; \alias xhed get scumblecon from every component pouch;drink 1/100 of scumblecon;shake scumblecon;put scumblecon in every component pouch;xhedd;
- Note that the "\" is meant to escape the string so that your client does not split the line at the ";". This might need adjusting for your mud client.
- Note also that the trailing ";" is important since it prevents arguments from mucking up your stop spell.
- Since aliases sometimes randomly fail (saying the alias name without the first letter doesn't exist) at worst it will not try to hedgehog at all.
Using "idlehedgehog" will then cause you to attempt to take a deep breath to begin the song, then stop before actually singing anything. It is possible to at least TM cr.music.instrument.vocal in this way.
The Hedgehog Song costs 55gp for the deep breath alone, and returns 1650xp.
(Research needed on gp cost and xp return on verses.)
Requires: a hag stone or crystal, large or small.
The imbue command can copy a memorized spell into a small hag stone, copy a memorized trick into a large hag stone, or enchant a clear crystal with a range of wearable effects.
An imbued stone can not be reused until the spell is educed, leaving the stone intact but empty. As it is far more common for the stone to crumble, explode, or retain the spell when educing, stones are not really reusable in any practical idlechasing sense.
An imbued crystal can not be reused until the spell has faded, and all traces of colour have vanished from the crystal. With moderate bonuses, this can take hours; and it is common for crystals to break when recharging.
There are six spells that can be successfully imbued into a crystal -- Hag's Blessing, Banishing of Unnatural Urges, Fluffy Ear Muffs, Banishing of Prying Eyes, Instant Infestation, and Layer of Lard. No other spells can be successfully imbued into a crystal.
Trying to imbue a spell not traditionally used with crystals, however, is a good mental exercise for a witch. Much like scribing or contemplating, a witch can run their mind through the spell to be imbued, then giving the spell a good shove into the crystal. The spell will pop right back out, but as long as the attempt is made, TMs are possible on the casting methods, experience is gained, and the crystal is still reusable. Also like scribing or contemplating, no spell components are necessary to imbue a spell.
Imbuing a stone with a spell or trick costs the same as casting the spell, and will return up to 30x the gp in xp.
Imbuing a small crystal costs the same as the spell +50gp, and will return up to 30x the gp in xp.
Imbuing a large crystal costs the same as the spell +100gp, and will return up to 30x the gp in xp.
Failing to imbue a large crystal with Delusions of Grandeur (100gp spell) costs 200gp for a 6000xp return.
Larger, but less frequently memorized, Fruity Flyer (200gp spell) costs 300gp for a 9000xp return.
It may also be possible to create a trick with 5(+) easy stages, using only 10(+) head space, and consuming 120(+) gp. (Research continues.)
Requires: An object, or one or more people.
Mock can be used on a single person, a group, or a talisman. As targeting while grouped can sometimes be complicated, you may just wish to mock an item in your inventory. (Your ever useful broomstick is already a talisman, so it can never have a delusion to accidentally be shattered.) As you can not use the same mock twice in a row, you may wish to use an alternating alias, for example, "idlemock", below:
- alias idlemock idlemock1
- alias idlemock1 mock broom by saying Idle idle idle la la la...;alias idlemock idlemock2
- alias idlemock2 mock broom by saying Idle idle idle blah blah blah...;alias idlemock idlemock1
Mocking a living target or a group costs 25 gp for the attempt, plus 25 additional gp per valid target. Someone is a valid target for mocking if:
- You successfully placed the evil eye on them, and
- You are mocking an action that they actually performed.
You can mock without eyeing first, but it will only cost the 25 gp for the attempt. The same is true if you try to mock an action that they didn't perform.
Mocking a talisman costs 100 gp and returns 3000 xp max, so this will be preferable to mocking your group most of the time. However, if your group consists of five or six people, then group mockery will use more gp. To make sure that everyone gets included, the simplest thing is to do some covert action that everyone has a chance to see (note: fade does not seem to work for this) and then mock "watching":
- slip penny to backpack
- mock group watching by saying That's terrible watching!
Squints cost variable gp and return 30x xp max. You may wish to use an 'eye' squint if you also include a mock in your alias. Squints chain like normal commands, with a diminishing return in xp, regardless of which squint methods you are using. (However, a single squint with multiple methods in it still gives back 30x.)
- Eyeing (evil eye) costs 10 gp and returns up to 300 xp. (Confirmed.)
- Glancing (speed) costs 10 gp and returns up to 300 xp. (Confirmed.)
- Winking (defensive) costs 15 gp and returns up to 450 xp.
- Ogling (noses off) costs 15 gp and returns up to 450 xp.
- Blinking (+1 strength) costs 25 gp and returns up to 750 xp.
- Peering (stats) costs 30 gp and returns up to 900 xp. (Confirmed.)
For combat use:
- Scathe costs 10 gp and returns up to ? xp. (Uses ma.me.el.fire.)
- Squinch costs 30 gp and returns up to ? xp.
These values are partially guesswork and will definitely need to be confirmed.
Using multiple squint methods in a squint doesn't seem to increase the gp usage additively--for example, a squint which consists of a very small part of glancing, a rather large part of peering and a very small part of eyeing only uses 21 gp, less than peering on its own.
So, since there doesn't appear to be a way to make squints that cost more than 30 gp (or whatever the single highest-cost squint method is), there's no real reason to use multiple squint methods for your idle squint, unless you want to mock a person or group instead of a talisman(in which case), or unless you're trying to tm something particular. The easiest thing is to use a pure peering squint.
But if you do want to make an idling squint that uses multiple methods, here are some guidelines.
The cost of a squint method seems to have something to do with the proportion of each method--putting in more of the higher-gp method brings the cost up towards the cost of that method. However, there seems to be a practical limit to how much of any method you can put into a squint, since if you put too much in then you get something like this (from researching peering many times, then eyeing): "Idletest consists of peering and as good as nothing else." The method that there's too little of (in this case, eye) doesn't get used--though there's still enough of it that the gp cost is 28 instead of 30.
The proportion seems to be affected by which method you use first--the method you use first seems to be used in a larger proportion.
A squint that's created by researching eyeing once, then researching peering 15-24 times (the order is important), will cost 27 gp and have enough eyeing in it for the eye to work. Researching peering 25 times will cause squint info to return, "Your current squint consists of a humongous part of peering," so this appears to be as far as you can take it. This is a good squint if you want to mock a person or the group instead of a talisman.
Proportions (may be incomplete or out of order):
- Very small (seems to be smallest amount that has any effect)
- Great deal
- Rather large
- Very large
Tempt requires: a target, and a piece of fruit.
If your target is removed fast enough, they will wander off without consuming the fruit. The fruit can then be reused. This works well enough with shearers, if there is only one shearer present in the room. Otherwise, be prepared to bring a supply of dried/preserved fruit, preferably cut up into small bits.
Tempting costs 20 gp for the attempt, plus 20 gp if the target takes the fruit. The first 20 gp has a return of 30x, but subsequent gp counts as repetition and gives less. For example:
- Tempting one person takes 40 gp and returns 750 xp, for a return of 18.75x.
- Attempting to tempt one living thing who cannot take the fruit (such as the demon-claw coat hook at Granny's) costs 20 gp and returns 600 xp, for a return of 30x. Shoulder pets and summoned fireflies can be used in this way--this is probably the best and most convenient use for idling.
- Attempting to tempt when you have between 20 and 40 gp results in spending 20 gp to make the attempt, with a return of 30x. In this case the target doesn't actually get tempted. It's unknown whether attempting to tempt without actually tempting can tm.
Non-Portable Skills (30x)
Requires: a container, liquid to be brewed. Location: anywhere with a heat source for brewing.
Brewing gives xp based on the use of the brew command, not the quantity of tea being brewed. A pre-made container of unbrewed tea can be made ahead of time. The witch can then fill a vial or other small container with the unbrewed tea from the bottle, and carry around this smaller container for convienient practice.
Although multiple bottles can be brewed at once, this seems to count as repetition, resulting in a reduced rate of return.
The gp is used at the beginning of the brewing, so a simple "brew <container> on <heat source>;get <container>" alias appears to work to allow you to brew the same tea over and over. It's unknown whether brewing is tmable this way, or whether the tea will eventually finish brewing and need to be replaced.
Brewing costs 15gp and returns 450xp max.
Requires: candles, knives, bat, grail, hat, occult jewellery with lower skills. Location: anywhere large enough to circle; ie: outdoors, Ogg San's hut, etc.
Circling costs 100gp and returns 3000xp max.
The quickest way to only prepare (and abort before completing) the circle command is to use an embedded alias like:
- alias idlecircle circle;stop spell
This will give you the xp for using the command, but stop the creation of the circle. It may however prevent you from tming. This method will still require enough space to possibly create the circle in order for it to work.
Circling can also be used, but fail, if you do not have some of the items you need to circle. For example, if you need a dark red candle, then not having it will make you fail while still spending the gp. (This works for a dark red candle, a silver grail, a mummified bat, and ceremonial knives.) Lacking some things, though (possibly worn things? This seems to be for lacking occult paraphernalia including your hat) will just give you a message that you aren't skilled enough and not take any gp. Since you need fewer items as your ma.sp.special bonus increases, this is only usable up to a point. Also, not finishing the circle may prevent you from tming.
Unlike octograving, a witch will wind up travelling inside her circle as she traces it on the ground. Groupmates that are following you do not end in the circle with you unless you leave the circle and re-enter it, which could disrupt their situations, actions, or cause them to lose their targets. If the witch was the target of some spells or commands, those might fail if she enters the circle at the wrong time even if she leaves or dispels it right away. Each room can only fit one circle, causing other witches to fail if the timing is too close, though dispelling it can narrow this somewhat.
These downsides can be avoided by failing to circle as above or only preparing to circle by queuing stop right after circle in an alias as for hedgehog, since it takes a couple of heartbeats before it manifests.
Circling also causes an apparent spike in visible background radiation in the room, but only the real amount of thaums in the room is used to check for dungeon dimension effects and probably for everything else as well so that should not be a problem.
Lesser Guild Commands
These commands give a lesser return on gp, and might only be worth your time if you are chasing a certain tm or filling out an alias.
Casting spells and tricks gives a 15x return on gp. Casting different spells count as seperate commands. This can help you flesh out your alias to give you your maximum xp return.
If you are casting spells, please pay close attention to the background magic levels. If the Dungeon Dimensions start pressing in to our reality, you might want to ease up on the magic. See thaums for more information.
Fueling your broomstick returns only 15xp for every gp spent. Brooms can not be refuelled once they are filled to capacity. If you really want to include flight and fueling in your alias, you might consider recording a spot as near as possible to your idling spot, stepping one room away, flying to your destination, then stepping back into your idle group room to refuel. If this is done, it is highly advised that the flight be the last stage of your alias -- commands after takeoff are impossible while flying, and you don't want to automatically step in the wrong direction in case of a misflight. Move back to your grouping room with a seperate alias.
Another alternative is to start out with an empty or partially empty broom and then "fuel broom with 6 gp" (fueling a broom with 5 or fewer gp results in getting no xp, and doesn't count for bringing the command count up) each time. This should let you do up to 100 fuels before needing to fly somewhere--and using so little gp means you get the benefit of using multiple commands while not using a lot of gp on low-return commands. This does necessitate keeping track so that you know when it's completely refueled, though--a good way to do this would be to have colour or sound triggers for the phrases, "The broomstick is already brimming with fuel" and "The smell of kerosene permeates the air around you."
Other Useful Commands for Witches
Studying a map uses 20gp and returns 300xp max for a 15x return. Studying multiple maps has a diminishing return on xp, but you can also "consult map" and "locate <location> on map", which count as separate commands (costing 10 and 20 gp, respectively). Some witches may wish to include maps in their idling in the hopes of a direction tm to make flying easier, and work towards additional broom slots.
Throwing is a useful skill to practice as it is a non-magic skill used in Beesargh. Throwing a weapon costs 30gp, and can return up to 450xp. A rubber throwing knife is recommended if you don't want to get into combat with your target.
Table of cost and experience return
|Name||Exp. Return||GP Cost||Requirements||Notes|
|Convince||30||90||large hag stone||90 to learn/forget and 90 per stage|
|Gaze||30||30||Container, water and ink||-|
|Hedgehog||30||55||Scumble||For the deep breath alone|
|Imbue: Hag Stone||30||spell||Hag stone||Cost is spell casting cost|
|Imbue: Small Crystal||30||50 + spell||Small Crystal||Cost is 50gp + spell casting cost|
|Imbue: Large Crystal||30||100 + spell||Large crystal||Cost is 100gp + spell casting cost|
|Mock: Talisman||30||100||Talisman||Your broom is a talisman|
|Mock: Player(s)||30||50||Person(s)||25gp for the command and 25gp for each person.|
|Squint||30||30/25/15/10||None||Varies with the type of squint, max is peering at 30gp|
|Tempt||30||20/40||Fruit, target||20gp for the attempt, 20gp if target takes it.|
|Brew||30||15||Liquid, ingredients||Needs a heatsource|
|Circle||30||100||Occult paraphenalia||Need a large room|
|Fuel||15||6||Broom||Need to be >6gp to return experience|
An ideal location for witchy idling is Aunty Ogg-San's hut. It has brewing facilities (as well as ingredients if you should run out), the room is large enough to circle in, and Aunty Ogg-San stays put, making her a good target for non-agressive spells or squints. Also, since the hut is in Bes Pelargic, it's possible to hedgehog there safely, but, like all NPC's Aunty Ogg-San sometimes objects to you hedgehogging in her presence.
Some (perhaps all?) of the Agatean family estates in Bes Pelargic contain large rooms with access to brewing equipment. If the room is large enough, it is also possible to circle there. As always, Agatean lands are not subject to Morporkian law re: theft, singing, etc. Confirmed locations: The Tang Family kitchen, the upper level of the McSweeney Family stable.
Another good location is the creek near Granny Weatherwax's. It has water for gazing. Is big enough to circle in. Does not have any NPC's to object to the hedgehog song and you can cast fireflies there as it is outside.
cast hag's blessing squint Peer at flies fade into foreground idlemock tempt flies with apple study map consult map locate ankh-morpork on map circle idleconvince fuel broom with 6 gp shoo flies
Idlemock and idleconvince are aliases (as described in the mock and convince sections), and Peer is a squint that's entirely peering and costs 30 gp. Idlemock mocks a broomstick for 100 gp.
For this alias, you need a map, a cured apple/other piece of fruit(will not be accepted), a large hagstone that's bonded to you, a broom, to be somewhere you can circle, and to be able to fail circling while still using gp on it.
This uses 386 gp--81 on 15x commands and 305 on 30x commands, for an overall rate of 26-27x.
This is a special alias for idling in Auntie Ogg-San's hut.
squint Peer at ogg-san fade into foreground idlemock tempt beetle with apple study map consult map locate ankh-morpork on map idleconvince circle brew cup on fire get cup fuel broom with 6 gp
Differences between this and Example 1: brewing is used instead of Hag's Blessing, Auntie Ogg-San is used as the target for the squint, and a beetle (a shoulder pet) is used as the target for the tempt. Also, it requires a cup (or other container) with some tea.
This uses 376 gp--56 on 15x commands and 320 on 30x commands, for an overall rate of about 27-28x.
Uses 300+260 gp for 30x return. Maxes out the xp gain from your gp if you take care not to miss any regen ticks.
imbue large crystal with Mother Harblist's Fruity Flyer; alias idlexp idlexp2 $ifarg:$endif$
squint Peer at $arg:dummy$; fade into foreground; idlemock broom; tempt pet with apple; drink 1/100 of bottle; idlehedgehog; idleconvince; alias idlexp idlexp1
The idea behind this 3 part alias is to burn so much gp with 30x commands that only 7 commands total are needed. This is because the regen time is so long even with 4 gp regen (comfortably over 4 minutes) that by the time you're ready to use it again, you get full experience. You need a max gp pool of 300, or a little more for comfort and to help you not waste any regen.
The first alias is only for cycling the other two conveniently. Use it whenever you have 300+ gp ready. The second alias only has one command but takes 300 gp. You need the bat spell, or you should be able to replace it with Biddy Amble's Bee Buzzer. The last part of second alias is for quietly consuming any arguments given to the alias so they don't mess anything up. You might be giving it an argument because of the third alias.
Third alias contains the other 6 commands. As shown here, it takes 260 gp and requires a shoulder pet for tempt and an external target for the squint. Any living thing in the same room should do, including other players you're idling with. Just keep doing 'idlexp nanny' for example. By default, it'll try to target a training dummy since those are some popular idlechasing spots. You can also have a version that replaces the squint with idlecircle. It would be usable when completely alone but you need room to circle. It makes the alias take 330 gp total but this hasn't been a problem in practice (with 4 gp regen) because it takes a while to run the alias. You could easily lower the gp use by changing to another method of squinting or mocking differently, though.
Another option would be to use squint and circle in the same alias at a suitable place like the lancre dummy. This would allow you to drop hedgehog so you don't need to carry the alcohol. Or at least you can save it for some proper drinking!