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Alter is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

Alterations - General

ALTER 1: Where to Start

You have successfully secured the services of an alterer. Where do you begin?

An alteration allows you to customize one of your items. This is an opportunity for you to adorn some of your belongings to fit your character's persona or create a roleplaying tool.

Being prepared is a big key to having a good experience at a merchant event. Do you have an idea ready for the item you would like worked on? Have you pictured it in your mind's eye? Even if you would like the merchant to design the item for you, it's good to have a basic idea or two ready ahead of time.

Be sure to read the signs posted at the merchant you are attending, so that you understand what kind of work they do. Most merchants only work on specific types of items and/or services during any given session.

Most alteration merchants may offer a variety of skills. They can add or change the colors, gems, fittings and devices, or even the fabric of clothing. They might offer adornments of feathers, bones, or embroidery. The result is that you may often change the overall style of your item -- like turning a tattered shirt you found in the wilds into a bejeweled organza blouse.

ALTER 2: Base Descriptions

The base description is also called a "tap description" and it is what you see when you glance down at your hands or all (or part) of what everyone sees when you interact with the item in specific ways.

The base description is limited in the total number of spaces used and is commonly referred to as the "15/15/15." It is broken up into three sections: article, adjective, and noun. For ease of merchant use, this is usually relayed as: article,adjective,noun. Each of these sections cannot be longer than 15 characters.

Example: "a,red,cloak" = 1/3/5 characters.
Example: "a pearl-hilted,vultite,longsword" = 14/7/9 characters.

Spaces and punctuation within each section (but not between) count as part of the 15 allowed per section. The first 15 article section must begin with "a", "an", or "some". The middle 15 adjective section cannot begin with "and" or "of". The last 15 is reserved for the NOUN only.

Example of incorrect 15/15/15: "an opal-clasped,spidersilk,traveling cloak"

Even though the above fits the 15/15/15 spaces, the noun field is only meant for the noun; setting it otherwise will make interaction with the item read incorrectly in many cases.

All items require a base description, and the article and noun sections are mandatory. It is considered best practice to include the adjective section whenever possible, as it is the modifier that allows you to differentiate same-noun items from one another.

Example: "a pair of,white and red,socks" and "some,blue cotton,socks

These share the same noun, and the adjective field allows you to "<verb> my white socks" or "<verb> my blue socks," thereby removing the guesswork when it comes to interaction with the items.

ALTER 3: Long Descriptions

Another type of alteration is called a "long description." A long description contains the base description with a phrase added to it.

Example: "an elegant black spidersilk cloak adorned with a faceted ruby clasp"
Example: "a silver-threaded spidersilk backpack edged with braided cording"

Guidelines to keep in mind when requesting a long description:

  • Try to keep the phrase to fewer than 12 words.
  • No commas are allowed.
  • No names or phrases, unless the item is large enough for wording to be seen at a long distance -- for instance, a large painting on a cloak.
  • Ending your phrase with a noun usually sounds best.

Long descriptions are always visible and also show when TAPPED. Containers with long descriptions can be INSPECTED -- a particularly handy tool when stock items on merchant displays only have their base descriptions visible.

ALTER 4:Show Descriptions

When merchants say they can add a "show" to your item, they are creating a design that other adventurers can see when you SHOW them that item or when you LOOK at it. This is usually a short paragraph that describes your item in detail.

Example: "Clasped with a faceted dark red ruby clasp, the cloak is fashioned from finespun black spidersilk and tailored with a pleated hem."

Guidelines to keep in mind when requesting a show description:

  • A minimum of a single complete sentence is necessary.
  • There is a maximum of 511 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
  • Do not tell the viewer how to feel or what they imagine.
  • Avoid providing information that the viewer could not possibly assess from looking at the item.
Example - avoid: "This elegant cloak has been passed down through seven generations."
Example - avoid: "This antique cloak was once owned by the Baron of Studeldorf."

Some scripted items will have pre-set wording that appends to any custom show or, in some cases, will entirely disallow a custom show. Often ANALYZE will indicate when this is the case.

ALTER 5: Joint Long and Show Descriptions

This is not a commonplace service; you should not expect all merchants, or even most, to offer this option. However, details are as follows:

In some semi-rare circumstances, a merchant may offer your item the ability to house both a long description and a show description on a single item. Usually this will come in the form of a merchant offering to add a long description to an item with an existing show description -or- add a show description to an item with an existing long description. Generally, if an item has neither a long or a show already in place, it will not be eligible for this service.

When applicable, the existing description (and base 15/15/15) will be modified to match up to the addition. You can expect that if you make alterations at a later time to an item that already has both a long and show description, both description types will be updated to match. In all cases, the amount of modification to the existing descriptions will be determined by the merchant/GM performing the alteration.

ALTER 6: Live Merchants

Live merchants describe the various NPCs who will work on items in the immediate moment, as opposed to a delayed service. These merchants may use one or several of many selection methods (spinning, room order, raffle, "hook," etc.) and will generally charge a fee of some kind for their services. In most cases, live merchants will be working on a very specifically stated service or set of services, where alterations are the most commonplace.

Please be aware that merchants may refuse to create a particular design. This may happen if the design violates one of the rules stated in the ALTER verb, or if it violates the restrictions pre-set by the GM for their merchant's services. Please don't plead with a merchant to make you an item just because So-And-So has one. It may be the unique item you have always dreamed of, but the merchant must feel comfortable with the item falling within their abilities and the guidelines before they can customize the item for you. We are constantly trying to improve our consistency and standards. As the rules have become more refined over the years, some things that were once allowed may not be available any longer and vice versa.

There might also be other valid reasons for a merchant to refuse your request, like it is identical to special quest or auction items that are limited in quantity. Some merchants might enjoy working with scary, ugly, and grotesque requests, while others won't touch them. Merchants might prefer to work only on items available from their shops, and others might chose to work on a single type of item during a given session; a tailor, for instance, might not be able to dye your leather armor; a toymaker might not be able to add a leather hilt to your sword. Some items are complicated to work with, enough so that not all merchants are comfortable or even necessarily skilled enough to work on those items. And some items are specialized and only able to be worked on by very specific merchant personas.

Given the wide variety of factors that surround a merchant's decision to work on any given design and/or item, when a merchant refuses your design, please respect the GM's decision and choose another design and/or item.

ALTER 7: Scripted Items

Many items are made with a script attached that provides them with special messaging and/or abilities. Altering these items can sometimes break the properties of the item. Merchants may choose not to alter a scripted item, unless they are the original creator of the item or they can verify that the requested alteration won't harm the way the script functions. To be on the safe side, some merchants might prefer not to alter scripted items at all. You can ANALYZE some items to see if they are scripted, as well as ask the merchant to check them for you.

ALTER 8: Essence (Underlying Item Build)

Do not ask to change the basic essence of what an item is. A falchion cannot be changed into "a dwarven war-axe," as it's not an axe. A tunic built to be worn as a shirt cannot become pants. A cloak, though, can become a cape, or a backpack can become a knapsack. Combat items must remain combat items.

Please do not ask the merchant to create two items out of one. A surcoat should not have a gown peeking out from it, nor will boots have pants tucked into them. Exceptions would be a flounce of under-skirting or the flash of a lining (inside cloaks and other over-garments). Items scripted or designed to be two items together or dual items (i.e. twin back-scabbards) are also exempted.

ALTER 9: Transcending Descriptions (Illegal Item Builds/Terms)

Given the sheer length of time that items have been made in Elanthia, it is natural that QC guidelines have changed over time; some terms that weren't previously allowed are now completely legitimate, while other terms that may have once been allowed are now considered "illegal" alterations. In order to allow some modifications to these items, some of which were fairly obtained, alterations to illegal terms fall into two categories: "Not Allowed" and "Restricted".

In both categories, ICE term rules, followed by a script's instructions and naming conventions, will always supersede the aesthetic alteration exceptions noted below.

Non-aesthetic alterations, such as lightening, deepening, enchanting, flare-adding, etc. are allowed on items in both categories, except in the case of script restrictions.

(1) Not Allowed. This is for terms that go against the very essence of the base item's build. For example, a claidhmore that inspects as a battle axe, or a gown that is worn on the head. Aesthetic alterations of ANY kind to this type of item require that the naming convention be updated to modern standards. (In the case of the examples, if you wanted to get the item altered, the claidhmore would need to be renamed into an appropriate battle axe term; the gown would need to be renamed to an appropriate head-worn term.) Items built as pinworn are exempt. Other exceptions: old-style katanas.

Additionally, demon body parts are not allowed to be altered or added into alterations (see ALTER 42). If you have an alteration that includes these parts, unless you are removing the parts entirely, your item cannot be altered.

(2) Restricted. This is for terms that may have been allowed at one point but that no longer meet QC standards. For example, "a throwing sword" or "a pocket watch." Aesthetic alterations are allowed as long as the same naming convention is used; if it is not, then the term must be updated to a currently approved term. (In the case of the examples, "a throwing sword" could be altered into "a dark throwing sword covered in runes" but not into "a throwing scimitar covered in runes"; "a pocket watch" could become "a silver-edged pocket watch" but not "a silver watch.")

Combat items that inspect as a material that is contradictory to their aesthetics fall under the Restricted category. For example, if you have an old "rolaren broadsword" that inspects as "steel," you can alter your item and still keep 'rolaren' descriptor intact. (But if you alter it into something that doesn't include the rolaren in the wording, you won't be able to get it added back in later by another merchant.)

ALTER 10: Additional Resources

Take advantage of the many official documents to aid your designs. There is a plethora of racial, cultural, and Elanthian world-related information that can serve as excellent resources for alteration fodder. For example: each race has both costume and cultural guides; specific Elanthian flora research and Arkati symbolism are also available; some of gems have special meanings, as do the jewelry they fit into! These links provide just a taste of the information that's available to help you design alterations that fit your character:

Alterations - Guidelines

ALTER 20: Wording - General Alteration Tips

The following questions and tips may be helpful to you when you are first delving into alterations in order to assist in establishing the basic design:

A. How realistic is the design you're requesting? What does it look like? Can you picture it in your mind?"

B. Avoid the words "seems to" or "appears to." Additionally, since you are already closely "showing" the item to someone when you have a show description, it is usually not necessary to include phrases like "Upon closer inspection" or "Looking more closely" in the description.

C. Avoid telling the viewer how they feel, think, what they are imagining, or how they might react when looking at the item. There is some additional detail regarding subjective (vs. objective) wording in ALTER 21.

ALTER 21: Wording - Subjective Adjectives

Avoid subjective descriptors that exist only in the mind and are particular to each individual. Words like electrifying, seductive, alluring, baffling, horrendous, frightening, and mysterious are subjective, since they wouldn't necessarily invoke that illusion or feeling to all who will view the item or feature.

A good rule of thumb for this is "Show, Don't Tell," which here means that you should use objective descriptors when possible. Part of why we don't generally allow alterations such as "a sinister black cloak" is that what looks sinister to one person may not look sinister to another; generally you want to describe how the item actually LOOKS detail-wise to the eye and then let the viewer determine for themselves if it's something their own character would consider sinister or not.

ALTER 22: Wording - "Test of Time"

Do your alteration ideas stand the "test of time"? While we do allow for some suspension of disbelief and considerations of magic, generally your alterations should make sense for your item at all times. For example, bloodstained and blood-spattered items are made from materials that are capable of sustaining that appearance for a long period of time. Blood-soaked items, on the other hand, would not logically be dripping blood for months and months at a time, and therefore do not make sense for most alteration requests -- save for in exception cases such as Wounded Wear (which only appear blood-soaked when a player is wearing the item and wounded/bleeding).

ALTER 23: Wording - Out Of Genre and Obscure Terms

Don't ask for items that give you a mental image of something outside of the Elanthian realm. If your outfit looks like a hula dancer, a 70's disco star, or a World War II infantry uniform, it forces those around you out of the medieval ambiance. Items judged to be out-of-genre (OOG), such as mini-skirts, go-go boots, sneakers, etc., will be rejected. We will not create items out of material we don't have (aluminum, plastic), nor will we create things that don't exist in Elanthia (a nazi helmet, a denim jacket). They're OOG. Likewise modern items such as trench coats, halter tops, cargo pants, and hot pants should be avoided. The same is true for real world language-based names such as choli, sarong, etc., which can all be adequately described in detail using common Elanthian terms (bodice or shirt, and wrap-skirt) or Elanthian racial/cultural-specific nouns. We also won't create straightjackets for you to wear.

Words, especially nouns, with recognizable real world place-name/person origins or that are not found in a reputable English dictionary (barring, of course, Elanthian terms) are more likely to be rejected. Any item that did not exist prior to the 1700s is likely too modern.

Additionally, research the item you're asking for. Even if it was an item from the 15th century, if it sounds odd and is not something you have seen in the lands before, the general response from GMs/players will be, "What the heck is a XXXX!" It could be in-genre but too obscure to use as your item noun, descriptor, or color.

ALTER 24: Wording - Assumed Wearer's Body Parts/Gender in Item Descriptions

Avoid mentioning the assumed wearer's body parts, figure, and gender in alteration descriptions; items should instead be described in a way that will make sense for when they are both on and off a variety of characters. For example, "an evening gown cut to reveal the soft skin beneath" takes on a somewhat grisly connotation when seen lying on the ground or being stuffed into a backpack. Tight-fitting clothing wouldn't look right when in your hand (use "fitted" instead in most cases). Clothing "designed to hug the wearer's curvaceous form" would not make sense on all characters/body types. A "blue skirt that falls to her knees" also makes very little sense if it's in your hands or is being worn by a non-female; it is, however, acceptable to use a generic "knee-length" as "a knee-length blue skirt".

ALTER 25: Wording - ICE Terms

"Ancient" materials, such as laen or shaalk, should never be requested and are subject to conversion to modern materials when an alteration is requested. This also refers to ancient creatures, such as raax, and some other similar terminology. These are sometimes referred to as ICE terms and must be changed for copyright reasons. If you offer an item with such references/terms to a staff member (whether in merchant form or not), once the item is in staff hands, staff MUST update the term for copyright compliance.

ALTER 30: Magical Properties (Luminous Items & Perceived Item Movement)

Items can't be made to glow, pulsate, vibrate, shake, rattle, squirm, giggle, shimmer, or emanate, unless there's a really good reason for such, based on the item's actual qualities or the appropriate alchemy dye is provided. A non-scripted item does not move of its own accord. A non-magic item could not glow. It might glitter or scintillate if it's encrusted with gems, but it won't cast any light of its own. Avoid the words, "seems to" or "appears to". A "cloak that seems to have a life of its own" is one that stomps all over the rule of not making an item appear to have properties it does not have.

Alchemy dyes, however, allow for some adjectives, such as "glowing" and "shimmering," to be added to some of your items, even mundane ones. See ALTER 32 for more information.

ALTER 31: Imagery Limitations

When you request any image, it must be one that could realistically be stitched, engraved, painted, or otherwise placed on your item. The image cannot show action or movement or tell the viewer how they feel. It must be an image that would realistically be recognizable to all viewers, and the detail must be something the viewer can realistically see. A viewer could not possibly assess that the image was that of your long lost great grandfather humming a merry tune as he filets hordes of sneering coyotes.

ALTER 32: Colors (and Alchemy Dyes)

It is somewhat common to see requests for hues in alterations (i.e. a copper-hued gown). Generally this is acceptable, but ensure that you have considered how the invoked material makes sense for the base item. In the case of materials/hues such as copper or gold, they have defined colors, but one wouldn't create something like "a topaz-hued gown" since topazes come in various colors; if an item can come in different colors, invoke a specific color instead (e.g. reference the color of a yellow topaz or blue topaz).

Avoid using hues that are in opposition to the item's actual base material; e.g. avoid invoking metallic hues on weapons of a differing material type in a way that misrepresents the weapon's actual material.

Of note, alterations may not include adding a color that references an "Extremely Rare" material unless that item is made from that material. For example, ghezyte is an Extremely Rare material, so "a ghezyte-hued ring" must be made from ghezyte in order to utilize "ghezyte-hued". (See ALTER 41 for more information on material rarity.)

Generally colors are not "magical" in nature, and thus do not "glow" of their own accord or cause an item to "shimmer" at all times (see ALTER 30). Alchemy dyes, however, allow for some adjectives, such as "glowing" and "shimmering," to be added to some of your items, even mundane ones. Additionally, they may at times allow you to use rare/restricted pigments that are not always available. Depending on the size of the item, you may need to provide multiple doses of the dye. Not all merchants will work with alchemic dyes based on IC reasons, and some items may have script or alteration restrictions that will disallow the dye from being applied. See Alchemy Dyes on the GS Wiki for more information.

ALTER 33: Lettering and Languages

Lettering typically goes into the "read" portion of an item, especially for longer content, though at times it will be used in the show description; the only circumstances under which it can go into the long description is for a word or short phrase going onto an item that is large enough to bear words that can be seen from a good distance.

All words designed to be understood by everyone must be in the Common language when placed in the description of an item. Some items can be inscribed with one of Elanthia's various tongues and will only be readable to those familiar with that language. A merchant can examine the item for suitability, but they may not offer that as a possible service, especially if they're not well-versed in that particular tongue. For reference, the name of a language should always be capitalized.

ALTER 34: Racial and Cultural Item Descriptors/Capitalization

Racial and cultural items like "an elven-crafted shield" or "a Mhoragian satchel" are fine, since different races and cultures would reasonably have recognizable styles or techniques.

The name of a race should not be capitalized unless it begins a sentence. The name of a language should always be capitalized. The name of a culture should always be capitalized. For example, "I am a Dhe'nar dark elf who speaks Dhe'narsi, but I wish I was an erithi of the Eloth Dai and spoke Erithian."

ALTER 35: Professional Item Descriptors

Use of professions and normal titles should be avoided when designing an alteration. For instance, "a ranger's backpack" could not be distinguished from "a cleric's backpack." The same goes for items like "a great lord's vultite shield."

An exception to this would be something that creates a distinct and familiar visualization, such as a wizard's hat, as many of us know them to be brimmed, pointy hats, a la Fantasia and Gandalf. Some scripted items may also have specific exceptions.

ALTER 36: Names, Official Titles, Affiliations

GM names do not go on alterations. Character names only go on alterations under special circumstances. For instance, we will not place the image of your enemy's severed head on your shield. However, we might engrave a short note on an item that is clearly a gift: "To Sue, with love, Bob."

Avoid asking for any adornment or mark that signifies you might have a special privilege or rank unless it has indeed been officially awarded to you.

Avoid requesting an alteration that mentions a reference to royal ancestors. We want to try to keep historic lore within that which has been approved for the game. For the purposes of Arkati affiliations, aside from various earned and/or profession-related titles that confer religious rank, you can represent your Arkati affiliation(s) via utilizing the symbols/colors/etc. connected to them, which are noted here: Gods of Elanthia.

ALTER 40: Materials - Base/Adornment Change Guidelines

Regardless of what type of item is being worked with, material rarity and special properties always affect which materials can actually be utilized for alterations.

The base material of combat items (weapons, armor, shields) and lockpicks must never be changed to another material. This can affect the properties of the item and impact its performance. Adding small bits of other materials, including most other combat materials, to the item is generally acceptable, such as in "a mithril-banded vultite shield" or "an ora-hilted steel longsword."

Non-combat/lockpick items have a fair amount of freedom when it comes to changing the base materials and accent materials that make sense for the item/script. Typically, however, they cannot have their base changed to a combat material -- but they can have certain combat material accents added.

Please be aware that changing or adding materials may require the item's encumbrance to be modified; e.g. changing from use of a very light material to a very heavy material may require a change if/when the weight discrepancy is great enough.

ALTER 41: Materials - Rarity

Some merchants may require that you provide the materials for your alteration, particularly for rarer types of gems, skins/creature parts, fabrics, or metals/woods -- they'll inform you if your request falls into that category. Most often, these are items that are difficult to come by: they don't generate often or they only exist in an area where only the most experienced characters can adventure. The quantity of material supplied should match the amount of embellishment requested -- but do keep in mind that not all merchants have the skills to smelt a weapon into fine jewelry creations and/or additional costs for handling rare materials and converting them can apply. Also, just because a merchant might have made items from those materials in the past is no guarantee that it will be done today.

Normally, "Very Rare" materials may only be added as an accent (as opposed to the base material) to an item and must always be supplied to the merchant. "Extremely Rare" materials cannot normally be added even as an accent during the course of a merchant session. You may be able to APPRAISE an item to see if it is made of a "Very Rare" or "Extremely Rare" material.

Items marked as "Alter Fodder" are specifically for use in adding certain accent or base materials to other items. Usually these will be in the form of a block of metal/wood, a bolt of fabric, a special skin, etc., and they are one avenue to acquiring alteration materials that are otherwise infrequently available. Any item can potentially serve as general alter fodder, but items denoted as "Alter Fodder" in their ANALYZE can be used regardless of the included material's rarity. Note that although this generally allows a merchant to bypass the rarity guidelines in the paragraph above, it only applies to altering the non-combat components of an item (unless the "Alter Fodder" item's guidelines specify an exception), and other guidelines in relation to the material's other properties and the item it is being used on still apply.

Of note, alterations may not include adding a color that references an "Extremely Rare" material unless that item is made from that material. For example, ghezyte is an Extremely Rare material, so "a ghezyte-hued ring" must be made from ghezyte in order to utilize "ghezyte-hued". See ALTER 32 for more information on altering colors.

A listing of many metals and woods, and their rarity, can be found at Materials.

ALTER 42: Materials - Creature Skins/Parts

As noted in ALTER 41, some merchants may require that you provide the base material or adornment for your alteration, including skins in some cases. Creature skins and body parts (treated as one and the same here) are currently handled as follows:

No demon parts, including verlok feathers, are allowed to be altered or incorporated into any alteration. This rule is denoted as absolute in ALTER 9.

Petrified limbs garnered from Limb Disruption/alchemy dust may not be altered or used in alterations due to their inherent magical nature (i.e. they are not a loophole for any of the above and below guidelines).

  • Mundane creatures: if the creature is huntable and generally skinnable, you can use any parts from it -- we assume that if you can skin it, you can loot any of its parts. If a merchant wishes you to supply the adornment you are using, having any part from this creature will qualify. If a creature exists on Earth but is not huntable in-game, it is safe to assume the animal exists in Elanthia and that its parts can be used in alterations (and if there are multiple terms/names for the creature, please use the most common English term). Extinct Earth animals are excluded (sorry, no dinosaurs!).
  • Mythical huntable in-game creatures that are generally skinnable (such as minotaurs, zombies, etc.): you can use any parts from it, with some specific exceptions for: (1) night mares, nightmare steeds, shadow mares, shadow steeds -- only the parts skinned from them may be used. Additional exceptions may be added in the future.
  • Mythical huntable in-game creatures that are NOT generally skinnable (such as krolvin, gremlocks, etc.): if you are able to supply the body part, you may add these into alterations. The alter wording must always indicate the exact creature name, and only the part that you are supplying can be used (i.e. you cannot supply an ear and have it turned into a hand -- it will remain an ear). Generally these parts are only attainable via special merchants. Though not huntable, sea thrak hides/parts fall under this category.
  • Mythical creatures that do not exist in game (Elanthian myths): cannot have their parts used in an alteration. For example, there are no huntable dragons in the realm, so an item made from dragon scales is not acceptable for an alteration. Rendering the image of a mythical-in-Elanthia creature is acceptable; implying you have access to the actual/physical body parts of an imaginary-in-Elanthia creature is when/where alterations become problematic.
  • Playable race (eg. elf, human, etc. -- races that come out of the Character Manager) parts: if you are able to supply the body part, you may add these into alterations. Both the specific body part and any noted race cannot be changed when adding existing items into alterations. Generally these parts are only attainable via special merchant services or specific gameplay scenarios.

Of special note: if you are using a creature part that is normally allowed but ambiguous enough in its origin to be confused with creatures that cannot be skinned, alterers will require adding in wording to remove that ambiguity -- for example, if using "a gnome scalp" (skinned from a cave gnome) for an alteration, the alterer will require that "cave gnome" be used in the alter wording in order to remove the ambiguity vs. the playable race gnomes.

Including general body parts pilfered from the dead in alterations ("a belt of linked skulls", "a knuckle bone talisman") is perfectly acceptable and will not, outside of specific exceptions and/or merchant RP, require you to supply anything.

Not all merchants will work with parts from sentient creatures for RP reasons.

ALTER 43: Materials - Gems

Gems added into alterations can be modified to a degree, generally regarding their cut (as long as it is in-genre) and color. Most gems, excluding those with special properties, can be modified to represent any hue variation that the gem exists as in Elanthia (e.g. "azure" is an acceptable alternative hue for a blue sapphire). Gem rarity is a knowledge that all merchants should possess. "Very Rare" gemstones must always be supplied to the merchant. "Extremely Rare" gemstones cannot normally be added even as an accent during the course of a merchant session. You may be able to APPRAISE a gemstone to see if it is "Very Rare" or "Extremely Rare". Some gems are covered in-depth here: Elanthian Gems. Within that, you will learn that some gem types come in colors you don't normally see in treasure drops, while other colors are specifically excluded (e.g. in Elanthia, orange sapphires exist, while red sapphires cannot). Additionally, some gems only come in very specific colors that don't allow for hue variation (e.g. feystones may only be periwinkle or violet).

Rift gems with special properties are not suitable for alterations (doomstones, Eye-of-Koar emeralds, firemote orbs, oblivion quartz, midnight blue riftstones, shadowglass orbs).

Urglaes fangs are prohibited for use in any alterations of weapons, armor, shields, combat gear or magical items but may be "attached" to other items for purely cosmetic purposes if they remain in the original form of an "urglaes fang" (e.g. "a silver armband inset with an urglaes fang"). They may not be used as a "supply" source for urglaes items in general.

ALTER 44: Materials - Metals

Listings of some metals, particularly metals used for combat items and lockpicks, are noted here: Elanthian Materials.

Cloth-of-gold is created when metal thread is woven into the warp of linen, wool, or silk fabric. Other ductile metals that allow threading include: alum, bronze, copper, laje, silver, vaalin, and veniom.

Veniom is so thin and light, crumpling easily, that it would be unsuitable for use as anything with substance, lending itself better as an accent, like threading and tracery.

A number of metals are restricted or simply do not lend themselves to serving as an adornment. Adamantine, coraesine, kroderine, urnon, and zelnorn cannot be added as adornments due to their unique and innate qualities, with the exception of being used as an accent for combat items that share the material's innate qualities. Metals that can be used as adornment but require special handling/considerations:

  • krodera: cannot be adornment on items flagged as magical or that behave as magic-like/dependent items. Base item will be flagged as unable to be manipulated by a variety of magical efforts.
  • black ora: cannot utilize the word "pure" as a descriptor for the metal/accent. The only exception is if the item it is being added to has special scripting to handle re-cursing itself.
  • white ora: item may end up being flagged as holy.

Some materials, such as black alloy, are considered "reserved" materials in that current releases of them are associated with specific underlying properties or lore. However, not all items already existing in-game with these materials reflect those properties, including non-combat items. As such, aesthetic alterations on items that already exist as these reserved materials are perfectly acceptable (ALTER 9). For example, both a black alloy weapon that isn't aesthetically "evil" in description or a coraesine bracelet that does not have a sentient-type script can be altered -- though they cannot be altered to indicate they have properties that don't actually exist on the item.

Note that some materials have specific alteration restrictions (such as no dyeing white ora) that must always be followed.

Tacking "alloy" onto the back of a metal's name is not permissible in alterations. For example, a merchant will not make your "silver band" into a "silver alloy band". Items that already use those naming conventions may keep them intact for alterations, per ALTER 9. However, unless an item's underlying build is made of "black alloy" or "white alloy," removing the "alloy" terminology from a metal is perfectly acceptable.

Urglaes fangs are prohibited for use in any alterations of weapons, armor, shields, combat gear or magical items, but may be "attached" to other items for purely cosmetic purposes if they remain in the original form of an "urglaes fang" (e.g. "a silver armband inset with an urglaes fang"). They may not be used as a "supply" source for urglaes items in general.

ALTER 45: Materials - Woods, Flora/Organic, and Misc.

Woods. Listings of some Elanthian woods, particularly those used for combat items, are noted here: Elanthian Woods. Magical woods, unless restricted by rarity and/or special properties, can be used in small quantities, as in buttons on a shirt and toggles on a cloak, or as inlay and banding on larger items. "Very Rare" woods must always be supplied to the merchant. "Extremely Rare" woods cannot normally be added even as an accent during the course of a merchant session. You may be able to APPRAISE an item to see if it is made from a "Very Rare" or "Extremely Rare" wood.

Flora (trees, plants, and similar organic materials). A large list of Elanthian flora is covered in the Elanthian Flora Guide. Outside of that guide and other pieces of Elanthian flora documentation, if the flora you want to reference exists in the real world, we generally assume that it exists in Elanthia. In that situation, we require that the common English term(s) be used; alterations using overly uncommon flora terms or anything ostentatiously OOG in origin ('lily of Peru' or 'Japanese cherry') will be turned down. In cases of multiple common names existing for a particular kind of flora, merchants may need to abide by a specific Elanthian standard, if/when such exists for them to follow.

Fabrics. There is currently not a comprehensive list available to players of approved fabrics. However, most in-genre and time period-appropriate fabrics will be allowed. Additionally, allowable cloth-of-{metal} fabrics are covered in ALTER 44.

ALTER 50: Items - Weapon, Shield, and Armor Naming

Unusual weapon and armor names are permitted for items, provided they match our naming standards. You might make a helm into a bascinet, or a falchion into "an elven-crafted warblade," but "a cascading riftblade" would not be acceptable. There are very specific naming standards merchants are required to follow for combat items. The naming for combat items is particularly restricted in order to make it easier for players to more easily identify, at a glance, how armor is worn and what base types of shields/weapons you are wielding.

Weapons - naming is available on each weapon profile page (or in the list linked at the bottom of that page).
Shields - naming is listed alongside each shield size description.
Armor - naming is available in the 'Alteration nouns permitted' link near the bottom of the page.

For specifics on materials that can be used for combat items, see the Materials sections of ALTER.

ALTER 51: Items - Pockets and Containers

The size and worn location of a container should make sense. A backpack, for example, should not be made into a coin pouch. A sleek silk dress with no pockets should not be made into a backpack. Likewise, encumbrance should match.

INSPECTing your container will give you a general idea of its capacity. Additionally, ANALYZE will often indicate whether a container can be deepened (made to have a higher capacity) or lightened (made lighter in weight); for further information on these two services, see ALTER 200.

Adding pockets to an unpocketed item is a special service that can only be performed on rare occasions by specific merchants. The service can only be done on logically eligible items (e.g. we will not add a pocket to your broadsword) and cannot conflict with any script guidelines the item may have.

ALTER 52: Items - Books

Personal books can be created, such as journals, tomes, prayerbooks, ledgers, etc. What should be avoided is requesting artifacts or official documents, like "The Lost Sea Scrolls of Niima" or "Bank of Elanith Deposits- 5102," or a long description that reads "a really big book with the words "How I Spent My Vacation on Teras by Hoppity Oneleg" written on the cover.

See ALTER 33 for information on lettering.

ALTER 53: Items - Instruments

Musical instruments also have specific guidelines they must follow. For example, the noun must remain the same -- a flute cannot become a harp. The article and adjective can be altered, with the exception of finger cymbals, where the word "finger" is in the adjective field and must remain there. The amount of detail that can go on an instrument will at times depend on the general size of the instrument; for example, some instruments don't have enough mass to support a whole mural painted upon them. Keep instrument materials realistic. While a lyre with strings of diamonds might look pretty, it would be impossible to play. Additionally, please don't ask to change your linden theorbo to one made of vultite -- most instruments are made primarily from wood.

Instruments typically cannot be altered to become wearable via a general live merchant service (outside of special circumstances). However, there are specially scripted instrument straps that can be added to some (but not all) instrument types that will render them wearable.

See Musical Instruments for more specific instrument alteration guidelines.

ALTER 54: Items - Risque Clothing

Clothing or items that represent lingerie, undergarments, or "adult toys" of any sort, are generally not allowed. Sexy clothing is okay, but only to a point. You can have a "low-cut bodice," but anything more risque stands the risk of being rejected. Chemises should resemble the loose, flowing long-sleeved dress definition, not the silky camisole definition. Bloomers and other undergarments are not allowed.

Miscellaneous Service Guidelines and Information (ALTER MISCELLANEOUS/ALTER 100)

ALTER 101: Lightening

Lightening is a service that allows you to remove some of the weight/encumbrance from an item. For example, a set of full plate mail may be quite heavy when you first purchase it, but a merchant may be able to make it slightly lighter for you during a single merchant service, thus the "lightening" of the item. Some items can be lightened incrementally over time via multiple merchant services (or other means, such as special certificates), which can result in a lopping off a good chunk of its original weight.

Not all items can be lightened. An item's eligibility to be lightened often depends on its underlying build, material, and current weight. In some cases, ANALYZE will denote if the item is *potentially* eligible for lightening. Scripts and other factors, especially where combat items are concerned, may prevent an item from being lightened via a merchant or other means, even if ANALYZE indicates otherwise.

For more general information on this service, please visit the following Gemstone Wiki link: Lightening

ALTER 102: Deepening

Deepening is a service that allows you to increase the capacity of a container. For example, a cloak may hold a "large amount" when you first purchase it, but a merchant may be able to increase how much it holds for you during a single merchant service (referred to as "making the pockets deeper" in some cases, thus the "deepening" of the item). Some items can be deepened incrementally over time via multiple merchant services (or other means, such as special certificates), which can result in a significantly increasing how much the item is able to hold.

Not all items can be deepened. An item's eligibility to be deepened often depends on its underlying build, where it is worn, its current weight, and its current capacity. In some cases, ANALYZE will denote if the item is *potentially* eligible for deepening. Scripts and other factors may prevent an item from being deepened via a merchant or other means, even if ANALYZE indicates otherwise.

For more general information on this service, please visit the following Gemstone Wiki link: Deepening

ALTER 103: Tattoos

Tattoos are ink-based designs added to characters that, when not covered up and hidden by other worn items, will display when you LOOK at a character. Some merchants may offer to create a new or alter an existing basic tattoo for your character.

Basic tattoos include the base description of the tattoo, as well as a long and/or show description, and often, though not always, merchants will offer all of these aspects as part of a single tattoo service. All basic tattoos are assumed to be ink-based and performed via needle-related application; non-ink materials are not allowed in tattoo descriptions. Additionally, tattoos, unless they are of one of the specialized magical varieties, do not move of their own accord.

Each tattoo represents a design done on one specific spot of a character's physique; as such, paired tattoos, such as matching scorpions on both of your wrists, are done as two separate tattoos (one on each wrist). Specific locations that can be tattooed are: head, ear, neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, finger, chest, back, waist, leg, thigh, ankle, foot. When tattooed in these areas, wearing an item that resides in the same exact slot will often cover up and hide same-location tattoos. Location-specific tattoos will display as follows:

S/he has <tattoo base or long description> on her/his <location>.
Example: He has a pink rose tattoo on his neck.

Tattoos can also be done in a "general" location, but these are generally only done for designs and worded in a way that indicate that the tattoo is conceivably visible at all times; a long description using a general location should not attempt to denote the location as part of the long description (though it can be referenced in the show description). The formatting for a general location tattoo is:

S/he has <tattoo base or long description>.
Example: She has a violet spider tattoo.

Stock, or "flash," tattoos are pulled from an extensive, set list of pre-defined tattoo designs, which can be viewed via TATTOO MENU. These are usually offered via an automated venue, such as a tattoo wagon, though may also be offered as a live merchant service. Appropriately skilled characters of the monk profession are able to offer stock tattoos, as well as transform an eligible, existing tattoo on a character into a Mystic Tattoo, which is a special category of enhancive tattoo.

More rarely, a merchant may offer a more specialized type of tattoo, such as a Wandering Tattoo. Please note that some specialized tattoos have their own additional guidelines to follow.

The following Gemstone Wiki links may provide some additional alteration and/or general information on tattoos:

ALTER 104: Popular Customization Services

There are a large number of customization services offered, some item-specific, others character-specific. Nearly all of them have their own set of guidelines to adhere to in addition to the standard QC guidelines. Due to the nature of these customizations, some are offered only rarely, and some are typically offered as delayed services that require a formal QC. Some of the more popular services are listed below; those with some further information available on the Gemstone Wiki include the applicable link:

ALTER 105: Recharging

Recharging generally refers to adding charges to items that utilize limited charges in order to function. When offered by merchants, unless otherwise specified, recharging services will always refer to adding charges to magical items only. Some merchants will offer other types of recharging -- but will always specifically state if that is the case -- for either: (1) scripted items that are not necessarily magical but often have limited charges, such as makeup, scroll cutters, perfume, and candles, just to name a few; or (2) far more rarely, enhancive recharging for enhancive items.

In all cases, some items may not be eligible for recharging services.

ALTER 106: WPS (Weighting/Padding/Sighting)

WPS refers to adding weighting, padding, and sighting to eligible weapons and armor. These properties offer mechanical benefits in combat and are added to equipment in units known as "services," which comprise the Combat Effective Rating (CER). An item's CER can be determined by having a warrior ASSESS it. Automated WPS offerings occur via what is referred to as the "smithy" or "mobile smithy" and typically require adding services one at a time, but live merchants may offer to apply multiple services all at once. Most equipment is eligible for WPS.

When offered by live merchants, WPS typically costs silvers, but automated offerings can be available for silvers, event-specific currencies, or premium points. The cost for adding WPS is based on the item's properties, such as enchant, existing WPS services, flares, enhancives, being scripted, and so on, and quotes are available before committing. Cost is also impacted by WPS service windows, which are two months long starting with Jan/Feb. Adding additional WPS services during the same service window increases the cost.

For general information on the various benefits and overall service, utilize the following links:

Feature Alteration Guidelines (ALTER FEATURE/ALTER 200)

ALTER 201: Feature Alterations - What Are They?

Feature alterations are the default physical characteristics you see on a character when you type LOOK -- their eye color, hair length, height, and so on. Thus, feature alterations are the method by which you can have permanent features customized beyond the set options in the Character Manager.

There are three primary methods of attaining permanent feature alterations:

(1) Feature Pavilions, which are shops in which your features will be directly and immediately updated on your person at the time of purchase to the feature you have chosen. The features offerings are generally on a sign in the area, and at times may differ based on race and/or gender. The most widely accessible feature pavilions are located in major towns and offer the same options that were present in the Character Manager. On occasion a festival, special event, or merchant may offer a festival pavilion or shop that uses a setup similar to the pavilions (immediate-redemption purchase).

(2) Permanent Feature-Changing Items, which are items, usually with one or limited charges, that can be used at any time post-purchase to make the permanent feature change. Hair dye, eye color potions, and one-use feature-changing masks are the more well-known items of these types (though there are also temporary versions of these).

(3) Feature-Altering Merchant, which means an NPC who offers custom feature alterations, often done as part of live merchant services. In the majority of cases, if a merchant offers this, they may only change a single feature during a session (for example, you may have to choose to do either your eye color OR your eye characteristics). Less commonly, and often done via more specialized selection methods (such as raffles), a merchant may offer to work on a "single line" of your features, which generally indicates working on all of the feature sections encased within a single sentence (such as all of the applicable hair-related fields). Even rarer are "full feature" alteration services, though those are typically done as delayed services.

Permanent feature alterations are not the same as temporary feature-altering items, the latter of which only temporarily "hide" or are added on to permanent features. However, temporary feature-altering items generally must adhere to the same overall standards as regular feature items, with a handful of specific exceptions.

ALTER 202: Feature Field Format

Mandatory Feature Fields: Height, eye color, complexion, hair style, and hair color.

Optional Feature Fields: Body build, eye characteristics, hair texture, hair quirk, face, nose, distinguishing mark, and unique.

When all feature fields are utilized on a non-aelotoi, the format is as follows:

You see Player A.
She appears to be a Race from Culture.
She is <height> and has <body build>.  She appears to be <age description>.  She has <eye characteristic> <eye color> eyes and <complexion> skin.  She has <hair style>, <hair texture> <hair color> hair <hair quirk>.  She has a <face> face, a <nose> nose and [a/an] <distinguishing mark>.  <unique.>

When all feature fields are utilized on an aelotoi, the format is as follows:

You see Player A.
She appears to be an Aelotoi from Culture.
She is <height> and has <body build>.  She appears to be <age description>.  She has <eye characteristic> <eye color> eyes and <complexion> skin.  She has <hair style>, <hair texture> <hair color> hair <hair quirk>.  She has a <face> face, a <nose> nose and [a/an] <distinguishing mark>.  She has a pair of <wing description> wings <wing quirk>.  <unique.>

ALTER 203: General Feature Alteration Guidelines

While ALTER 204-213 are useful for understanding specific feature fields, there are some overall guidelines that apply to all features that may be helpful in understanding why a requested feature might be approved or turned down:

A. Objective, not Subjective:

Features are meant to describe how a character looks. They are not about describing personality, a character's history, or his/her inner child.

B. Test of Time:

Features must withstand the test of time. Some examples of items that wouldn't are: a blood-smeared face; hair that is dripping wet; a sparkle-covered face; a runny nose.

C. Supernatural/Out of the Ordinary:

Features should not be altered to do supernatural things, and they should not be altered to do something they are not intended to do. For example: bleeding eyes; glowing teeth; glowing eyes; animated features (wiggling nose, grey-spiraling eyes); hair infested with bugs. Likewise, feature alterations must be consistent with known features of existing races in GemStone IV. This means no cat-like features, fish-like features, dragon-like features, or bird-like features. This would include that characters may not have: reptilian skin; whiskers around the nose; any type of fangs; vampiric or canine-like teeth; webbed digits; slit-pupiled eyes (other than erithians); wings (other than aelotoi).

D. "Living" and "Healthy" Characters:

All features should resemble a living, breathing character -- no features should be altered to resemble undead and/or dead. Also, no disease or ailments can be altered into feature alterations (pox, plague, or otherwise). Similarly, permanent injuries (or debilitating features) should not be incorporated into feature alterations -- this means no cataracts, peg legs, glass eyes, missing limbs or digits, or anything that would affect the senses, health, and other skills or abilities (these kinds of injuries would prevent a character from doing a number of mechanical things).

E. Facial and Ear Hair:

Facial hair is prohibited for elven races and non-dwarven women. Ear hair is prohibited for elven races.

F. Tattoos and Scars:

Tattoos, brandings, and piercings are not to be incorporated into feature alterations, as there are separate systems for all three. Custom scars are allowed, so long as they look different from normal, mechanical injuries, and so long as they are located in a spot that is always visible (i.e. somewhere neck-up, for feature purposes).

ALTER 204: Hair

Everyone needs to have a basic hair style and hair color, but hair textures and hair quirks are optional. The order of hair fields appears as: "She has <hair style>, <hair texture> <hair color> hair <hair quirk>." Please note that "hair" appears after the color choice and before the quirk. Here is an example of how to phrase a hair alteration:

"I would like long, tousled titian hair twisted into a mass of tiny braids."

A. Hair Style:

Hair style addresses the length of your hair and should only be used for that. Long, short, waist-length, and cropped are examples of this. It also allows you to choose bald as an option, but then the other hair fields will be negated. All you will see is a line that says "He/She has a bald head." The "shaven head" option will be seen as "a shaven head of [haircolor] hair" when people look at you. Length can be compared to solid body parts (like shoulder-length; waist-length; etc.) but not to moving parts (elbow-length would not work, for example). This is a mandatory field.

B. Hair Texture:

Hair texture is an optional field covering adjectives that describe the texture or styling of your hair, like curly, straight, wavy, tousled, ringleted, greasy, frizzy, glossy, etc.

C. Hair Color:

Hair colors can range from normal to exotic, but should shy away from words that are subjective and OOG, like "She has mysterious fire engine red hair." So you can have raven black, sky blue, and dirt brown hair, but no electric blue or neon orange tresses. This is a mandatory field.

D. Hair Quirks:

This is an optional field where you can add other hair information. If you want "hair with golden highlights pulled into an upsweep," this is where the merchant will add it. Keep in mind it needs to make sense when phrased, since it follows after your color, style, and texture. An example of this would be:

"She has waist-length, curly mahogany hair streaked with ash blonde highlights arranged in a cascade atop her head."

E. Miscellaneous Hair Guidelines:

Refrain from asking for items to be placed into the hair that would normally fall out or would only remain in your hair temporarily -- leaves, dirt, dust, loose feathers and flower blossoms, diamond dusting or items currently sold/found in the game, like hairclips and barrettes. Permanent items, like beads entwined in braids or ribbons tied off to form ponytails, are acceptable.

Terms like mullet, buzz cut, beehive, afro, and dreadlocks should be avoided, as they evoke a real-world/OOG image. Instead, find ways to describe how the hair actually looks. Styles that ARE okay are "pixie cut" and "banana curls." "Bangs" are also okay to mention.

The hair fields cannot be used to describe other body parts. For example, "She has long red hair tucked behind her curved, sharply pointed ears." isn't permissible because it describes the shape of the ears. However, "She has long red hair tucked behind her ears." would be acceptable because the detail pertains to the hair, without getting into how other features look.

ALTER 205: Eyes

The order of the feature line including eyes appears as: "She has <eye characteristics> <eye color> eyes and <complexion> skin." Eye feature alterations will always end with the noun "eyes." Since eyes work with a variety of other verbs such as the ATTEND verb, the phrasing of eye feature alterations is critical.

An example of what would not work is:

"She has long, thick lashes framing her lilac eyes"

A phrasing that works better with verbs that access eyes is:

"She has long, thick-lashed lilac eyes"

A. Eye Characteristics:

Typical eye characteristics include such descriptives as long-lashed, wide-set, almond-shaped, big, gold-flecked, etc. Please do not ask for cat-like (or other animals), feral, hypnotic, come-hither, glowing, swirling, or other fancifully shaped eyes/irises. Please do not ask for descriptions that cannot be kept up for long lengths of time (restless, staring, etc.) Only erithians can have slit-pupiled eyes.

B. Eye Color:

Eye colors should be similar to those eye colors available naturally in life -- green, grey, black/dark, blue, brown, violet. Silver and golden are okay to use. The only 'reddish' eye color allowed is "albino pink," which is a stock feature. Otherwise, no red or bright yellow, or other unnatural humanoid colors. This is a mandatory field.

For eye color to work with Eye Spy (707), the eye color must be 15 characters or less.

C. Miscellaneous Eye Guidelines:

Note that eyes are often the most difficult feature to alter. Many people want to describe their personality in their eyes (intense eyes, angry eyes, wizened eyes, exotic eyes, etc.) -- but those are all subjective descriptions and don't work well with eyes. (The sole exceptions will be descriptions found in the Character Manager, such as "sultry" and "piercing.") Try to think of ways to describe how the eyes look to ANY character who might meet you -- the shape, the size, your eyelashes, etc. Also think of what will stand the test of time, and SHOW rather than TELL, as your personality should come through via role-play, not via your eye characteristics.

Requests for permanent makeup (on the eyes, cheeks, and lips) will be refused to avoid conflicting descriptions that can occur with the current makeup system.

While there is no true mechanical limit on how many words can be used in these two fields - please attempt to limit the number to around 3 words for characteristics and 2 for color.

ALTER 206: Complexion

The order of the feature line including complexion appears as: "She has <eye characteristics> <eye color> eyes and <complexion> skin." Complexion feature alterations will always end with the noun "skin." Verbs such as BLUSH and ATTEND draw upon complexion. A request for a complexion alteration might go like this:

"He has flawless ebony skin."

Skin colors should stay within the natural spectrum of colors presented (no orange, green, silver, etc.). Exceptions are as follows: half-krolvins may have skin in line with "blue-grey" and "milky blue" tones. Burghal gnomes may have "blue-white" skin tones. Forest gnomes may have "red-tinted" tones (not to be confused with ruddy, sun-roughened, or blotchy skin, which most races CAN have!) -- but skin that is actually red-tinted as a base color is only allowed on forest gnomes. Erithians may have greyish-colored skin.

If adding texture, it must be realistic for adults, since your characters are considered as such. Thus, "baby soft" and "youthful" skin is to be avoided. You can, however, use words that describe what that skin is like, such as "smooth" and "soft." Reptilian skin is not allowed. Given that this is not the Tolkien universe, elves can indeed have wrinkled skin.

No odd markings or permanent ill-health appearances. This includes anything that could normally be healed by an empath or herbs, such as oozing blisters and fresh wounds.

Skin does not glow, nor is it transparent.

This is a mandatory field.

ALTER 207: Height

The order of the feature line including body build appears as: "She is <height> and has <body build>." (The body build field is not mandatory, so when not selected, the height will simply show as "She is <height>.")

Height is a general field that conveys your stature to people: short, smaller than average, taller than average, tall, and so on. The assumption with this field should always be that the height stated here is based on peers within the same race. With that understanding, a halfling with a height set to "towering" is towering in comparison to other halflings but is not towering in comparison to a giantman.

No doll-like, no midget, no colossan heights. "Wee" is acceptable when worded as "of a wee height/stature" or "wee in height/stature". Do not use comparisons to other races, and or races themselves (no "tall for a giantman" when you're already a giantman). This is a mandatory field.

ALTER 208: Body Build

Body builds are currently only offered via one of the special event pavilions. In the case that a special exception is made for this, the current guidelines are as follows:

The order of the feature line including body build appears as: "She is <height> and has <body build>." (The body build field is not mandatory and will not appear if no corresponding feature is selected).

The body build of a character is meant to pair with the height -- it is the girth/width of a player, and where appropriate it describes their overall physique.

Only builds that would be reasonably easy to assess in most types of clothing/armor should be used. Body builds can be the overall general build, though the width of shoulders and waists may also be included -- no other specific body parts than those two should be mentioned here to describe someone's shape -- and trying to avoid what can be used in the dmark spots is highly preferred (e.g. if you have a swollen belly, that should go into the dmark instead!). Do not include height in the body build field.

When describing body types, please keep it objective ("sexy body" is not okay; "curvaceous body" is fine).

If using a noun as the end-point (e.g. "a pudgy build"), acceptable nouns are: build, body, figure, frame, and physique. Avoid using "stature," as that describes height.

ALTER 209: Face

The order of the feature line including face appears as: "She has <a/an> <face characteristic> face, <a/an> <nose characteristic> nose and [a/an] <distinguishing mark>." (These fields are not mandatory and will not appear if no corresponding feature is selected). Face feature alterations will always begin with the word "a/an" and end with the noun "face." A request for a face alteration might go like this:

"She has a freckled, heart-shaped face."

Facial characteristics are usually pretty general but should always describe the face itself (generally the overall shape, construction, and/or texture) -- oval, heart-shaped, round, weathered, wrinkled, plump. Please don't request permanent facial expressions like "a permanently grimacing face" or anything hideously disfigured (missing parts, actively bleeding, etc.). Avoid expressions and subjective, personality-based descriptions -- aim for objective wording that will stand the test of time.

Try to limit the number of words used, as this is meant to be a basic descriptor -- to get into complex details, utilize the Unique feature field.

ALTER 210: Nose

The order of the feature line including nose appears as: "She has <a/an> <face characteristic> face, <a/an> <nose characteristic> nose and [a/an] <distinguishing mark>." (These fields are not mandatory and will not appear if no corresponding feature is selected). Nose feature alterations will always begin with the word "a/an" and end with the noun "nose." A request for a nose alteration might go like this:

"He has a large, hooked nose."

Nose characteristics have to do with shape and construction, more than anything else -- generally long, short, snubbed, pointed, crooked, bumpy, broken, and so forth. Sometimes specific quirks might work as well, such as freckled, wart-covered, or ruddy. Try to avoid subjective adjectives like charming, sophisticated, or other personality-like traits.

The nose should never be something hideously disfigured -- like missing altogether, actively bleeding, or leaking phlegm.

Try to limit the number of words used, as this is meant to be a basic descriptor -- to get into complex details, utilize the Unique feature field.

ALTER 211: Distinguishing Marks

The order of the feature line including distinguishing mark appears as: "She has <a/an> <face characteristic> face, <a/an> <nose characteristic> nose and [a/an] <distinguishing mark>." (These fields are not mandatory and will not appear if no corresponding feature is selected). Distinguishing mark feature alterations will always begin with the word "a/an" if the last word does not end with an "s" (i.e. if the system thinks you are using a plural, it will not add that "a/an").

Distinguishing marks cover those kinds of things that aren't covered by other systems, such as unique scars, birthmarks, beauty marks, warts, and refinements like thin eyebrows, high cheekbones, full lips. Avoid permanent "expressions." Try not to ask for suggestive adjectives like kissable lips, or removeable items like normal injuries and scars, piercings, and tattoos/brands/markings. This feature field is also not a means to circumvent ALTER 203 (general feature guidelines).

Distinguishing marks that merchants can offer need to be visible at all times, not hidden under clothing, such as scarred hands, which can be covered by gloves, or scars on your shoulder blades. The only current exemption to being hidden for merchant-offered features is the head - as such, feet, ankles, hands, and any other part of the body can be worked on by merchants currently.

The distinguishing mark field should never be used to put facial/body hair on races for which facial/body hair is not available or to bypass other racial, gender, or generally restricted features.

Try to limit the number of words used, as this is meant to be a basic descriptor -- to get into complex details, utilize the Unique feature field.

"Below-the-neck" distinguishing marks are currently only offered via one of the special event pavilions. In the case that a special exception is made for this, the current guidelines are as follows: (1) the general "no handicaps/missing limbs or digits/etc." rules for features still apply. Some deformities might be allowed in a case-by-case exception if they are not considered debilitating in any way that would prevent your character from performing normal game actions. (2) Hands/arms are considered fairly open, but chests/backs/legs are more restricted and should follow a "reasonable to see in most clothing (except full plate/armor)" track. This means that arm scars, a broad chest, or a swollen gut may be available while chest scars, defined abdominals, or knee descriptions may not be. Obvious leg shapes might be visible, while other leg features may not be. (3) Body hair (or lack thereof) is relegated to the face/head. However, foot/toe hair is acceptable for all non-elven races. (4) Dare we even need say this, but you cannot use the dmark to describe your character's boobs/bosoms, butts, or other "lady/man parts"!

ALTER 212: Other Unique Features

This is the last line that appears at the bottom of all your features when someone "LOOKS" at you. It is basically an extended Distinguishing Mark field, except that it can be quite a bit longer and more descriptive, and there is far more flexibility in the formatting. It must, however, be structured as a complete sentence.

This does not mean you can ask for cat-like ears, a bushy tail, or try to circumvent some of the restrictions mentioned in ALTER 211 (Distinguishing Marks) and ALTER 203 (general feature guidelines).

A good example of the unique field use would be:

"She has a smattering of pale freckles dusted across the bridge of her nose."
"He has a dimpled chin framed by a large, drooping mustache." (for a race/gender that allows for facial hair.)

ALTER 213: Wings

Wings alterations are available to those of the aelotoi race.

The order of the feature line including wings appears as: "She has a pair of <wing description> wings <wing quirk>." A maximum of 60 characters is allowed for the adjectives and color making up the wing description and an additional 60 for the quirk. Some appropriate requests might be:

"a pair of gold-veined, cerulean blue and jade green wings"
"a pair of oval, gold-veined brown wings patterned with clusters of soft black spots"

A. Wing Color:

Aelotoi wings may be any color and can shimmer and sparkle. But that does not mean they are imbued with any magical power and should not glow/pulsate/light the room.

B. Wing Size:

Aelotoi wings can be small, normal, or large, but you shouldn't convey that they are completely oversized or miniature, or that they can fly with them or that they're non-existent.

C. Wing Shape:

Aelotoi wings are insect-like and fold against the back. They cannot be modified into heart-shaped, butterfly-shaped, or angel-like wings, or anything other than rounded, like those of a fly. Acceptable words or descriptions would be similar to: elongated, long, oval, or round.

D. Wing Texture and Composition:

The wings of an aelotoi are a thin, usually transparent or translucent membrane with several veins running through them, and should remain as such. The veins, like the wings themselves, can be any color. Please do not ask a merchant to change their composition and convert them to metal, wood, leather, feathers, scales, fabric or any other material. They need to remain sheer to some degree -- they are not opaque.

E. Wing Decoration and Adornment:

Wings may be altered to have designs added to them, such as spots, eyes, stripes, dots, circles, hearts, squares, teardrops, or waves. This service can be done by feature-changing merchants who are able to magically realign the natural veining present in the wings into new configurations. Wings may not have overly intricate or full-image designs added to them through this method, like flowers, plants, feathers, gems/shells, false holes or other damage, spikes, faces, figures, animals, or animal-like (scales, plates, fur, etc.) patterning. We're also not able to hang things from the wings or cover them, since the wing verbs don't support this. Currently there are no mechanics for piercing, painting, or tattooing wings.

These embellishments are recognized as unnatural body modifications by the aelotoi community, as only linear veining occurs in the wings at birth.

F. Wing Mutilation:

Merchants will not be able to remove aelotoi wing(s), or add wings to non-aelotoi races. At this point, there's nothing to stop a pair of mutilated wings from using any of the wing verbs. A request for "a pair of bloody stumps where his wings used to be" would look silly as the wing verbs would still allow them to flap. Likewise, broken, limp, or useless wings would still be able to flutter and whatnot, so similar alteration requests should not be honored.

What can be requested, for those who want mutilated wings, is to ask for them to be torn, scratched, malformed, deformed, stunted, slit, slashed, or mangled.

See Also