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BatMUD Lawyers Guide (by Dryad)





Merchants have the "law" skill which gives them several useful services
to offer to other players.  There is a law office in BC (in the southeast
quadrant) which sells legal papers; the merchant must buy and fill out 
these papers in order to make use of the law skill. You need to have law 
trained fairly high to be able to offer reliable services; if your % is low,
you will frequently fail when you try to submit papers, causing you to have
to buy the papers again.    

Surname              5000 gp
Epitaph request      10000 gp
Marriage             50000 gp
Divorce              75000 gp
Loan                 500 gp
Loan cancel          500 gp
Bank garnishing      2000 gp
Castle plot sale     200 gp



The law office also offers the following services, which are available
without the help of a merchant.  As you can see, both of these services
are MUCH cheaper if done by a merchant.  

clear surname        50000 gp   
divorce spouse       750000 gp  (not sure if this works now)



Surname Changes: Players can have a merchant reset their surname for a fee, usually in the 20k-25k price range. To reset the surname, the merchant buys the surname papers for 5k ("buy surname") then completes them ("complete papers"). Once the papers are complete, the merchant gives them to the customer, and the customer submits them ("submit papers") in the law office to clear the surname.
Epitaph Requests: These papers hearken back to the days when players died and left tombstones in place of their corpses. The form would allow the epitaph to be set for the tombstone. In August 2005, Shinarae re-coded the forms. The epitaph request form now allows a player to put a single-line message at the end of a death by monster. It only works once and doesn't save over reboots. Cost has not changed.
Marriages & Divorces: These papers are no longer valid. Don't use them! If you want to get married, talk to a wiz to make arrangements. Divorces are apparently coded into the wedding bands now. If you want to get a divorce, check out the wedding band for more information.
Loans: Merchants use the loansharking skill to give loans to other players. To give a loan, the merchant buys loan papers for 500 gold in the law shop then fills out the paper with the borrower's information. Once the paper is filled out and signed by the borrower, the merchant submits it to the bank. The bank administers the loan and provides the borrower with two new bank commands, "loans" and "payback". "Loans" lets the borrower check the loan status at any time, and "payback" allows the borrower to make payments. Payments can be made at any time and in any amount; the lender does not have to be online in order to receive payment. Merchants have the "credit check" spell that allows them to check a player's past loan history. I reveals the details of previous loans, showing when the loan was taken out and when it was paid back. Late loans are very obvious on the credit history, so it's important to pay back loans on time. Unlike real life, your credit history on Bat does not expire -- your loan history sticks with you forever. Filling out loan papers: fill out creditor < creditor > - the person lending the money fill out debtor < debtor > - the person getting the money fill out amount < amount > - the amount the debtor gets fill out payback < amount > - the amount the debtor pays back fill out duration < days > - # of days the debtor has to pay back loan fill out late fee < amount > - fee charged if the debtor doesn't pay back the debt in time. Once the form is completed it must be signed by the debtor ("sign form") and then taken to the bank and submitted to the teller by the merchant. Third party loans: As of Feb. 2005, merchants can now broker third-party loans between players. Here's the scenario. Player A needs to borrow cash from Player B. A merchant goes to the law shop, buys the papers, and fills them out with the loan terms. Player A then reads the papers, signs the form if the terms are agreeable, and gives the papers to player B. Player B goes to a bank and types "submit". The loan is immediately in effect, and both players can type "loans" to see the loan status. Player A types "payback" to make loan payments. The merchant is not involved in the loan, other than in the inital paperwork, which the merchant completes for a fee (negotiated by the parties). The merchant can also offer the credit check spell to player B for a fee. Merchants can charge what they want; for reference, I charge 15k to set up a loan and 2k per credit check. Dryad's advice to borrowers: * Borrow sparingly. * It is only possible to have one loan out at a time from a lender; however, you can have 2 loans out at the same time from 2 different lenders. * Be conscientious about your credit history; you can't fix past errors. * Choose your loan duration wisely. If you overestimate your earning potential, you risk having your loan run late -- late fees are expensive, and late loans go on your credit record. If you underestimate earnings and pay your loan off early, you're paying excess interest (since the interest is fixed up-front). Nice for the lender, but not so nice for you! * If your loan is going to run late, keep communications open with your lender. Merchants are able to apply bank garnishing, and this will drain money from every deposit and transfer to your bank account. The garnishing rate is random and ranges from around 60% to 90% of money deposited. Dryad's advice to lenders: * Always cast "credit check" at potential loan customers to see their credit history. If the history is poor, either don't lend or increase the rates (especially the late fee) to counter the additional risk. * The highest risk loans are those to low level/low age players and those with poor credit records. Question players as to their backgrounds - those that suicide characters or play a character then quit are likely to disappear with your cash. When in doubt, ask for personal references. Having a player quote you their friends list is often useful. * The loan rates you offer are entirely up to you. Historically, the interest rate tends to be in the range of 10% interest per month. I sometimes lower the rate on long loans, but there isn't much incentive to offer discounts since there's always another player waiting in line for a loan. * Late fees are a bit trickier. If a player has an excellent credit history, I set the late fee to 10% of the loan cost. Essentially, this covers 1 month's interest if the player is late on the loan. If I have any doubt about the borrower's reliability, I set the late fee to 15%. Newbies and those with poor histories get a 20% late fee, if they get a loan at all. * Players sometime offer collateral to guarantee their loan. This is useful when you feel that a loan is high risk. You generally ask for an item of similar or greater value than the loan, such that if the player defaults on the loan, you can sell the item to recover your costs. The downside to this is that the lender is personally responsible for the borrower's item. Only accept collateral if you are certain you can keep it safe. * How much to lend? With max skills, a merchant can broker loans of up to about 4m per player. My personal rule of thumb is that I only give large loans to players I know well and have a long history of continuous play on the game. With newbies, my inital loan max is 100k. If the player pays back on time, I double the max of each subsequent loan (so 200k, then 400k, then 800k). A you gain experience with giving loans, you will get a feel for your own ability to assess players as well as your personal tolerance for risk. * Don't hesitate to apply garnishing to a player's account if their loan is overdue. It only costs 2k to set up the papers, and it is sometimes the only way to extract money from an overdue client.
Loan Cancel: If you're a merchant and want to forgive a loan (why would you do that!?), you can fill out and submit one of these to the bank. Syntax: buy loan cancel fill out form < creditor > < debtor >
Bank Garnishing: Fill out this form to enable bank garnishing. You submit the form to the bank, which will immediately begin garnishing a random % of all money deposited or transferred into your client's account. Syntax is: buy bank garnishing fill out form < creditor > < debtor >
Casle Plot Sale: Don't use these papers. Castles don't exist anymore, so this is another overlooked legal relict. Think someday a wiz will clear these out? Nah... that would make too much sense! But hey, if it bothers you, send in a bug or idea report.. maybe someone will pay attention. Or at least make a nice collection out of them.






"Making the Outerworld Smaller TM"

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