Brought up by a question someone had of "What do I do when I first join the game?"
As a newbie, you will start in the inn in either Elvandar, Arborea, or the Underground, depending upon your race. A good thing to do is to introduce yourself to the NPCs in the inn, and they will have a few quests for you that they will likely mention, or you can ask them 'help'. That is one thing to keep in mind--a lot of NPCs will respond if you ask them 'help' with either a quest or other information. Note that there are a wide variety of quests. Some will be simple things that a newbie can solve, some may require you getting a bit stronger to fight certain monsters, and some will require help from other characters. If you're having trouble with a certain quest, ask other characters to see if they may be able to help.
You should be given a map of the city you start in that will show you the locations of shops and other features in the city. You can buy armor and weapons to suit your character. Doing quests is a good way to earn money to start out with.
So where do you start to hunt as a new character? In Elvandar, you will be directed to the thildens, which have infested an area east of the city. This is probably the best place to start hunting in this area. In Arborea, some popular hunting spots for newbies are the gremlins and nibblers, which you can find near the crossroads west of the city. Also, there are a few places outside the north gates of the city. In the Underground, you will probably want to follow the road to Derring, which is a bit east of the city. There are several newbie areas and quests here.
As you hunt, you can build up your combat skills. In Arborea and Elvandar, you can also bring the scalps of certain foes to the city hall to collect a bounty for them. This, along with completing quests, will help you earn some money. It isn't necessary to hunt creatures if you don't want to be a combat-oriented character, although it will be helpful to have some fighting skills for self-defense.
You should probably consider what type of character you want to play and set your stats accordingly (this can be done in the ooc room if you type 'ooc' and head east). Fighters will probably want to focus on str, agi, and con, while if you are looking to become a mage or cleric, you should invest more into int and wis, and dis can be useful to prevent being distracted while casting. Of course, the types of skills you learn will affect your stats as well--this is generally intuitive; swinging a big sword will probably increase str, while learning languages will increase int.
Another thing that was brought up was "How do I tell NPCs from PCs?" It can be a bit tricky, but some signs can suggest that one is a PC--they're generally a bit more active, looking at things, taking things from bags or backpacks, etc. Of course, you might happen upon someone zoning out in the city square. Generally, NPCs will respond if you ask them something. 'Help' is a good thing to try. Also, if you introduce yourself, they will generally immediately introduce themselves back.
Duncan hisses in Common: love not keepzss zssomeone alive
You speak softly in Common: Sometimes it's all that keeps one
You smile slightly.