There are defenses against carvings and prevention methods to avoid them the same as we have to try to avoid city staves and draongs. (Though I have my own personal hatred against them for being around for four months a year).
I think the biggest reason why things are quieter from a combat side is due to the many new defenses in place to avoid fighting all together. It used to be the only way to avoid a fight was to be DP, in a stockroom and in the Pool of life. Now we have dragons that kill you in one fell swoop and globestaves that make traversing to someone idling in their guildhouse impossible as well as people who use DDW to (avoid) fighting rather then improve it.
This place should be about interaction with the land but so many would rather sit in one room all day long out of sheer paranoia over something that in the end isnt that bad to begin with. So you die, you learn something and you just go grab a friendly jjer and bash some monks to get your experience back up. At least its something!
Some will argue that they aren't the combative sort and would rather focus on economy and building up their city. That is what DP and Pacifism is for in my opinion. Everyone else should at least take a hand in combat to some degree and enjoy the rush it gives you.
Zadar you are a Paladin and you seem keen but you need to toughen up. You are way too hot and cold and you wont last very long in this place until you develop more of a steely resolve becomming of a fighter. The enemies you face now are no wher near the levels of sadism that have been experienced in the past. You have it good.
Written by my hand on the 17th of Midwinter, in the year 1241.