Mercuryman takes place all through the game.
The Mercuryman Challenge is a fun variation to regular game play. The variant in this case is the weapons the PC's use. Instead of using weapons like normal, you must use all missile weapons as melee weapons and all melee weapons as missile weapons. There are a few weapons which fit both categories, such as spears. These weapons may not be used at all. You will find that when you play this way, you easily and quickly gain bonuses to hit and bonuses to damage. I don't know why this is. Anyway, this challenge is really not very hard, but it can be fun and interesting to have your level 30 troll fighting with broken arrows, and actually doing a substansial amount of damage. You may choose to use any melee weapon (or any piece of equipment for that matter) as a missile. An important and interesting feature is that throughout the game you will never gain any weapon experience levels. In other words, you may end up doing (1d4+70)/2 damage and have no weapon skill levels over one. If you are gaining weapon skills, you are probably doing something wrong.
The best strategy I can think of is to use rocks as melee weapons. They are abundant and you gain bonuses to damage quickly. As for your missle slot, maybe short swords. It's up to you.
1. Don't use sheilds. Always have 2 missiles in your hands.
2. Fight with food, tools, gold, etc. Why? Because you can...