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Introducing: Mules

A key feature of Early Enrollment v10 is the introduction of Mules. The goal of this system is to make long range travel for trading purposes easier in the hopes of spurring more economic action, while at the same time providing a new target for player bandits to try and claim. The design intent is that mules are something that are used for special occasions to move large quantities of goods, not something every gatherer out in the wood brings along with them every time they go out, so the mechanics are balanced in that direction. 

Getting a Mule

The first step to getting a mule is crafting a set of saddlebags using Leatherworker.  Saddlebag recipes are all uncommon recipes that must be found in play.  Better saddlebags produce mules that can carry more or can take more damage before submitting.  These saddlebags are then taken to the muleteer, which is a new extension to the bank building in all Settlements. 

The player clicks on the door of the muleteer, opening a window that allows them to select the mule they wish to spawn based on the saddlebags in their inventory.  Once the mule type is selected the mule spawns in world immediately.  You can only have one mule active at a time; if you try to activate a mule and you already have one active the attempt to activate the second mule fails. You cannot claim a free mule if you already have another active mule.

Saddlebags are consumed when summoning a mule.

Using Your Mule

Your mule will follow you as best it can at as long as it is with you. It will not be attacked by NPCs and will follow you through most terrain, but cannot follow you off cliffs. Its base movement speed is comparable to your trotting (normal) speed, but the mule begins to slow down much sooner than player characters once it begins taking on encumbrance.  So it’s relatively quick to get an empty mule to where you have items stored, but takes a lot longer to move a mule full of goods. 

Clicking on a mule you control opens up an inventory window for that mule.  You can transfer items from your inventory to the mule and vice-versa.  The lowest level mules start with one thousand encumbrance and higher level mules go up from there.  Items may be added or removed from the mule freely for the first four hours of its existence.  For two hours after that items may be withdrawn only.  After the 6th hour the Mule despawns and leaves a husk that remains in game for 30 minutes before vanishing.

Your mule appears on the local map with its own mule icon:

Losing Your Mule

If your mule gets more than sixty meters away from you, it will stop following you and alert you via an overhead notification message that it has lost sight of you and awaits your return.

It will wait for one minute for you return to within sixty meters; if you do not it becomes a free mule that can be claimed by anyone.  Dying automatically puts your mule into a free state. 

Mules can be attacked, but they cannot be killed.  If they are reduced to 0 hit points, they sit down on their hind legs and become a free mule that can be claimed by anyone.  Attacks on mules are considered attacks on the owner in terms of flagging and Reputation. 

Free mules can be claimed by anyone with a ten second interaction that is interrupted by damage. Once claimed the mule is considered the property of the character claiming it and the mule now has no relationship with the previous owner.  

If a mule is a free mule for more than fifteen minutes the mule will despawn, leaving a husk that contains seventy five percent of the items in its inventory at time of death.  This husk recognizes no character as its owner so it must be emptied in chunks as opposed to all at once.  The husk will despawn after 30 minutes.

Risks of Mules

Since this is the first iteration of the mule feature we have not yet accounted for every hazard to which you might subject your mule.

If you manage to get your mule stuck, trapped between the terrain and Pharasma’s barrier, or lost in terrain too broken for it to escape from, we won’t have the ability to assist. You’ll have to figure out how to portage the inventory from the mule to safer ground – and if you’ve somehow led your mule into a situation where you can’t reach it (or its husk) you’ll lose that inventory.

The mule AI is based on the monster AI. It’s possible that you may discover interesting things you can do to a mule that cause it to behave in unexpected ways by casting spells on it or using attacks against it. If you somehow put a mule into a broken condition so that it cannot follow you, or you cannot access its inventory, we won’t be able to help you and you’ll lose whatever it’s carrying.

Use your mule carefully and know the risks.