COMMAND: ready
ARGUMENTS: [combat mode] <item(s)> [extra info]  

The "ready" command readies equipment (including weapons, shields, armor,
spellbooks, and magical items) for use in battle.

The required argument is the name of the item or items to ready.  This can be
the name of a single item, or a special keyword combination such as "all" or
"ALL" (see "help syntax").

When readying items that are used in the hands (such as weapons, shields,
spellbooks, and magical items), there are two combat "modes" involved--which
mode you ready an item in controls which kind of combat it will be used in.  
Whenever you are fighting an opponent in the same room as you, you will be in
melee combat mode, and anything you've readied for melee combat will be in your
hands (and you will have put your ranged items away).  Likewise, whenever you
are not fighting an opponent in your current room, you will be in ranged mode,
and anything you've readied for ranged combat will be in your hands (and you
will have put your melee items away).  The combat mode that a given item will
be readied in defaults to "ranged" for launchers and ammo, and "melee" for
everything else.  To ready things in a combat mode other than the default, add
"melee" (or just "m") or "ranged" (or just "r") as an argument in front of the
item name.  Some items, such as shields, you will likely want to ready for both
combat modes, and this must be accomplished with two separate commands, one to
ready it for melee combat, and the other to ready it for ranged.

For certain items (such as launchers and spellbooks), extra information is
required when readying the item.  For launchers, this is the id of the ammo to
fire.  For spellbooks, this is the spell to cast.  This information should be
added after the item name.  If not specified, the object's default is
used--unless the item has been readied by you previously, in which case the
last spell or ammo you were using is automatically set.  The ammo and spell
used can be easily changed after readying the item using the "ammo" and "spell"


ready sword
(ready a sword for melee combat)
ready ranged longbow poisoned arrow
(ready a longbow (firing poisoned arrows) for ranged combat)
ready ALL
(ready all possible items in your inventory in their default modes)
ready ranged stone
(ready a stone for ranged combat (throwing))
ready ranged spellbook fireball
(ready a spellbook for ranged combat with the fireball spell)