Some time ago (shortly after Beta 1.3 launched), I started a new minecraft game, and made a little base. (Didn't know about beds yet, so I just waited out the night). Anyway, when light came, I took out a spider and a creeper close to the entrance, and went out to build a tower on top of the base's location (so I could find my way back if/when I died.)
However, due to the rough nature of the terrain outside, I couldn't see very far, and I was promptly ambushed by another three creepers, and blown to bits.
So, my question would be the following:
In a new game (before you get the resources for a bow and arrow, or elaborate traps), how do you avoid copying my nefarious end? Creepers are the only enemy in the game that stay aggressive in sunlight (spiders revert to neutral, and other hostile ones burn up), do significant damage by blowing you up (making close combat risky, and you don't really have any alternatives at that stage), AND don't make any warning sounds until they're right on top of you. So what's the best method for dealing with these annoyances?
(Also, I'd prefer something aside from "Sleep at night to avoid the spawns". I know that will work in single-player, but I spend a lot of time on SMP servers, and that doesn't work as well there.)