In Unreal World, one of your major concerns is getting enough food to stay alive. Luckily, there are a couple of methods to do so.
Active fishing means that you actually stand by the lake/river shore, with a club/spear/fishing rod, waiting for a passing fish. The best tool to use for this is the fishing rod, followed by spears (javelins count) then the club. A complete session of fishing lasts about 3 hours, less if you manage to catch something.
One thing to remember is that active fishing with javelins is a slow way to starve to death. You just can't get ahead with this method even if you use rapid water tiles. Either buy/rob/steal a fishing rod and/or net, or get food another way. However, with a high enough fishing skill, javelin fishing can help your character along until a better source of food can be found.
Passive fishing uses nets, which you must trade for. To set a net, wade out into the water and deploy it with the fishing skill. There is no need to spread multiple nets over different tiles, you can put all your nets in the same spot with no ill effects. Now leave it undisturbed for at least one day - there won't be any fish inside before, and checking will reset the timer - but shorter than two days; if you leave it too long you will only get a message about all the fish being dead. The game will make a note in your log of the time when you set or check your nets. A good way to use nets efficiently is to check them one time period later than when you set them the day before (i.e. if you set them in the afternoon of the 23rd, check them in the late afternoon of the 24th). When you've reached evening or the night, just take a net-fishing break for one day and start over in the morning or small hours. This will let fish four days out of five easily, and more if you're careful about not missing a beat. It's best to check and reset as soon as possible, since you don't seem to get more fish for being close to the time limit, and this way there is less risk of missing the deadline and loosing a catch. With a high fishing skill (and the Fisher's Request ritual) you can expect to net 4-5 lb of fish per net per catch, sometimes much more, when you net half a dozen lavarets or burbots. If you store the raw fish in a cellar, you can wait for two catches to stack, and string up 3 lb lavarets or burbots by the 19 to smoke or dry every other day or so, very efficient 57 lb per string. Batches of bigger fish are more difficult to accumulate, but then you only need half a dozen to get a better deal per string than with meat.
Local fish resources may become exhausted after some time (with truly massive amounts of fish caught?). You will notice that both active and passive fishing yield almost nothing. It seems that resources are replenished at the beginning of each month.
Everybody's favorite way of getting meat, hunting can be a daunting challenge (yet very fun and satisfying!). While hunting for small game (squirrels, hares, foxes and badgers to name a few examples) may be easy, larger game is not and can easily injure or even kill you if you aren't careful.
To find an animal, either climb up on a tree and scan the surroundings, or use your tracking skill to locate some tracks.
If you find tracks, follow them to the animal, where you can choose whether or not to zoom in and look for it. An animal will always be on the same screen as you when you first zoom in, but may be obscured by trees or they might not be where you're looking. You will be facing the direction of the animal when you zoom in, so you only need to walk straight ahead.
Different animals behave differently. For example, squirrels like to jump from tree to tree, while hares take off as soon as they see you. Forest reindeer tend to run, but will attack if enraged. Bears and lynxes are deadly, and can kill you with a single swipe. For this reason, it's a good idea to hide, sneaking close enough to attack from a short distance away. Most of the time it is effective to strike them on the legs to prevent the animal from running away. With Bears and Lynxes it might be a good idea to try for headshots.
The weapon of choice for many hunters is the bow. Failing that, javelins with Oath of Iron performed on them are also very effective, although this can be considered an exploit (Note: no longer works). In any case, attacking from a distance is much safer than trying to get up close and personal, unless you are doing it on purpose. Javelins have one advantage, in that they can be used as a melee weapon.
Dead animals give great rewards in the form of meat and hide. Make sure to first use hideworking to skin the carcass and only after that cut the carcass for meat as cutting for meat removes the carcass. Meat is very nutritious, and hide can be worked into a number of useful items, such as clothing and cord.
If an animal runs, it is possible to find it again just by wandering on world map in the direction it ran in. However, this is very hit or miss, and not guaranteed to succeed as the animal does not always run in a straight line. It is possible to follow tracks left behind. By using the tracking skill when standing on top of tracks, the direction that the animal is travelling in can be determined. It is also possible to climb to a tree on the zoomed-out map and hope to spot the animal nearby, but you might lose precious time when climbing, allowing the animal time to far enough and out of sight.
Once you have encountered an animal on the zoomed in view, if it runs out of sight, it is possible to encounter it again on the zoomed-out map nearby.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get food, trapping basically means setting traps in random locations and waiting for an animal to stumble into them. Traps are very easy to set up, and can yield huge rewards. One of the most popular types of trap is the trap-fence, a long line of fences and trap pits, designed to force animals (usually herbivores like forest reindeer or elk) into the pits. Trap fences are set up as follows:
==O==O==O== where = is a fence or obstacle and O is a pit
Naturally, there is a lot of individual variation on the precise spacing of the trap pits. The most common trap pit used is the trap pit with sharp stakes, as it often kills whatever animal stumbles into it, which is advisable if something dangerous such as a bear or lynx has been caught. However, if you don't have the time (or don't want to check the traps every few days) it may be more useful to set a plain trap pit as they incapacitate, rather than kill. Since corpses are wiped from the map after a period of time, this will give you a greater margin of time to kill them, and also provides skill gain. You cruel, cruel player.
Traps can be baited with raw or cooked fish or meat. Predators are known to try to steal food from the player, and if food is placed on a trap, they will wander into it.
As of version 3.13, the game uses a much more realistic trapping simulation. The success of a trap is dependent on where and what kind of trap is used. If a trap does not catch anything for a month or so, it is highly unlikely that there are any animals nearby, and so the best course of action is to move them away. Different animals now prefer different types of terrain; for example, bears favour caves. Beginning hunters may want to set simple deadfalls and snare traps, as they catch small game far more efficiently. It is also a good idea to set traps where you see small game; if you see a fox in the area it is probably a good idea to set some fox traps. The Favourable Trap ritual also helps to attract more game to your traps.
My favoured location is a lake amidst a sea of trees. Fences among 8 neighbouring sectors to complete sealing the lake, with maybe 3 trap pits each side, and some more fox traps beside the fence to catch fox. That will ensure 4 medium to big animals during the first month, after that the local animals are exhausted and the rate trickled down to near nothing until the next season. Still, that's enough food for one year.
Trap pit, also, in my experience is better than spiked trap. You will sometimes fall down your own pit, and it will only cause you bruises. Spiked traps can kill you. Second, trap pit will keep preys alive longer. Sometime you notice an animal in your pit but you have pressing business to be elsewhere for days (like a waiting pile of almost fresh meats need to be dried). A day or two in that pit wont be enough to lose you that carcass, something cant be said for spiked. And third, with a trapped animals you can kill them slowly to practice your skills: stand one step away from them if that's bear, or next to them for everything else, and slam your weapon class of choice on that target.
A more civilized way to produce food is through agriculture. The type of farming practiced in the Unreal World is slash-and-burn agriculture, where an area of land is cleared by burning, which fertilizes the soil for planting crops. In game terms, this means that you must first burn something (firewood, wooden block, sticks etc) over the spot you wish to farm, and then plant your seeds. These plants will take some time to mature (a few months) before they can be harvested.
There are many kinds of crops in URW. The main vegetables are turnips, broad beans and peas. Other useful plants include hemp, meadsweet, nettle and yarrow. Cereals such as barley and rye can also be grown, but not wheat. They are all grown with the Agriculture skill. You can acquire seeds by either harvesting and then threshing crops, completing the Agriculture task in the Living in the Wild course, or by buying them from stores. Occasionally, general stores will also sell rare vegetables such as cabbages.
Sheep and cows can be bought from villages and milked every day using a container like a pot or bowl. The largest container is the wooden tub and can hold 8 pounds of milk; two tubs of milk are guaranteed to be able to nutritionally feed and quaff your thirst every day (and is considered a bit game-breaking).
Another option for domestic animals is slaughtering them for quick and easy meat; If they're leashed beside you, you can kill them with an instant deathblow, letting you harvest their carcass and fur immediately. This is most easily done with dogs, as they are cheap and provide plentiful amounts of meat and a good amount of hide to turn into warm clothing; Generally the hide is not worth much, but is good for personal clothing, making them a good all-around choice.
Unfortunately, as of current (3.20), animal husbandry has not made it into the game and thus buying a matched pair of animal won't allow you to further grow a herd for self-sufficiency; All animals must be purchased and brought to your home from a friendly village.
Stretching: Soups or Water
To use your food more efficiently, make soups to stretch highly nutritious food like fish a bit. Alternatively you can also quaff water directly when hungry as long as you have nutrition level at "abundant".
See also Cookery for various other recipes and info on food preservation.
Trading easy-to-make goods such as wooden clubs or torches for meat, rye bread or rye flour can be a very easy way to get food, provided that you find a village with a food shop. Version 3.13 adjusted the values of traditionally easy-to-make trade goods like wooden bowls, but torches have taken their place.
Berries start ripening in summer, when blueberry bushes start growing. They grow until late autumn/winter. The different kinds of berries are:
- Northern bilberry
- Black Currant
Both the cranberry and cloudberry can only be found in marshes. They are easy to find, but yield little in the way of food. However, it's an easy way to feed yourself day to day. Around 10 fistfuls are enough for one day.
In the normal course of a game, you will find little use for berries as they do not give much energy, and collecting them is tedious. Berries have little nutritional value when raw, but cooking them (producing berry porridge) increases their nutritional value. Berries also quench a small amount of thirst when eaten raw. Berries are also good for baiting bird traps.
Another form of foraged food are mushrooms. There are many different kinds of mushroom in the game, ranging from delicious to deadly. Many a poisonous mushroom has meant the end of an otherwise successful character. Remember to boil all mushrooms before eating them, as chances are they will be poisonous otherwise, and never, ever even think of eating a sand mushroom.
One can easily live off stockpiled wild plants, as long as enough is harvested in the autumn to last the whole year. Nettles can be found in groves in large quantities, and have good nutrition. 3.15 adds many root plants, the most notable being the lake reed; it grows in clusters of 100+, provided you have a watercraft for access.
If you are desperately in need of food, you can attempt to kill a fellow human for food, as they typically are relatively weak unless they swarm in numbers. Beware Njerpezit or Foreign Traders, however, as they are much stronger than the average villager, and wield high quality weapons and armor. Each human will typically offer 30-50 cuts of meat, however much of this will go to waste as you can only butcher a human if you are starving to death. You can however eat human cuts even if you are not starving, even if your nutrition is good (or above, presumably). You must have at least 3% starvation in order to butcher a human corpse. IMPORTANT: If you are not starving yet when the human dies, it will probably rot before you are starved enough to butcher.
If your stealth skill is high, then the prey can easily killed by sneaking behind them (while hidden). The strike will always hit, so go for the head.
One of the most vexing problem is food storage. You don't want them to spoil, as spoiled foods is only good for offerings, famines, or feeding dogs.
The best way to store food is to build a cellar and to put traps around it to keep vermin out.