Use the ALTER verb to get the official alteration guidelines in game. Information has been pasted here for easy reference.
- 1 Alterations - General
- 2 Alterations - Guidelines
- 2.1 ALTER 6: Scripted Items
- 2.2 ALTER 7: Risque Clothing
- 2.3 ALTER 8: Out Of Genre
- 2.4 ALTER 9: Adornments - General
- 2.5 ALTER 10: Adornments - Creature Skins/Parts
- 2.6 ALTER 11: Images
- 2.7 ALTER 12: Magical Properties
- 2.8 ALTER 13: Metals and Materials
- 2.9 ALTER 14: Essence
- 2.10 ALTER 15: Subjective Adjectives
- 2.11 ALTER 16: Weapons and Armor
- 2.12 ALTER 17: Transcending Descriptions
- 2.13 ALTER 18: Names, Lettering, and Books
- 2.14 ALTER 19: Instruments
- 2.15 ALTER 20: Pockets and Containers
- 2.16 ALTER 21: Professional and Racial Item Descriptors
- 2.17 ALTER 22: Official Titles
- 2.18 ALTER 23: Joint Long and Show Descriptions
- 3 Feature Alterations - Guidelines
- 3.1 ALTER 100: Hair
- 3.2 ALTER 101: Eyes
- 3.3 ALTER 102: Complexion
- 3.4 ALTER 103: Height
- 3.5 ALTER 104: Body
- 3.6 ALTER 105: Face
- 3.7 ALTER 106: Nose
- 3.8 ALTER 107: Distinguishing Marks
- 3.9 ALTER 108: Other Unique Features
- 3.10 ALTER 109: Wings
- 3.11 ALTER 110: General Feature Alteration Guidelines
- 3.12 ALTER 111: Feature Field Format
- 4 See Also
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. Merchants who are sewing pockets into items usually won't add a silver clasp to your cloak.
Some alteration merchants 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. Very talented merchants sometimes change the overall style of your item -- like turning a tattered shirt you found in the wilds into bejeweled organza blouse.
ALTER 2: Base Descriptions
The base description is also called a "tap description" and it is what everyone sees when you move the item in and out of your backpack, or you look in your locker, and glance down at your hands, etc.
The base description is limited in the total number of spaces used. The number of spaces allowed is commonly referred to as the"15/15/15 rule." The base description is broken up into three sections: article, adjective, and noun. Each of those sections cannot be longer than 15 characters.
Example: "a,red,cloak" would be 1/3/5.
Another example would be: "a pearl-hilted,vultite,longsword", which amounts to 14/7/9. Spaces and punctuation between words 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: "an opal-clasped,spidersilk,traveling cloak"
The above is not correct even though it fits the 15/15/15 spaces.
When an item has a show description the base description must follow the 15/15/15 rule.
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, such as, "an elegant black spidersilk cloak adorned with a faceted ruby clasp." There are a few tips 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, painted large on a cloak. - Ending your phrase with a noun usually sounds best.
Example: "a silver-threaded spidersilk backpack edged with braided cording"
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
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 paragraph (about 500 characters) that describes your item in detail, without telling the viewer how to feel or what they imagine. The show is added to a base description of an item. Avoid providing information that the viewer could not possibly assess from looking at the item such as "This elegant cloak has been passed down through seven generations." or "This antique cloak was once owned by the Baron of Studeldorf."
ALTER 5: Additional Tips
A. How realistic is the design you're requesting? What does it look like? Can you picture it in your mind? Avoid the words "seems to" or "appears to." 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.
B. Avoid telling the viewer how they feel, think, what they are imagining, or how they might react when looking at the item.
C. 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, other players might respond with, "What the heck is a XXXX!" It could be in-genre, but too obscure to use as your item noun or color.
D. 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. There might also be other valid reasons, 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. When a merchant refuses your design, please respect the GM's decision and choose another design.
E. 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.
F. Always take advantage of the many official documents to aid your designs. In recent years, a bunch of cultural information has cropped up that can serve as excellent resources. Each race now has both costume and cultural guides. Specific Elanthian flora research and Arkati symbolism are also available. Some of the gems have special meanings, as do the jewelry they fit into! Check out these links for more information:
- World Costume for Theatrical Productions
- Elanthian Flora Guide
Alterations - Guidelines
ALTER 6: Scripted Items
Many items are made with a script attached, to provide them with special abilities. Altering these items can sometimes break the properties of the item. Merchants may chose 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 7: Risque Clothing
Clothing or items that represent lingerie, undergarments, or "adult toys" of any sort, are forbidden. 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.
Avoid mentioning body parts in alteration descriptions. An evening dress 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. Clothing designed to hug the wearer's curvaceous form would not make sense on all characters.
ALTER 8: Out Of Genre
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 kimono, choli, sarong, etc., which can all be adequately described in detail using common Elanthian terms (robe, bodice or shirt, and wrap-skirt) or Elanthian culturally specific nouns. Any item that did not exist prior to the 1700s is likely too modern. We also won't create straightjackets for you to wear, or realistic animal features for your body.
ALTER 9: Adornments - General
Some merchants may require that you provide the adornment for your alteration, particularly for the rarer types of gems, skins, or metals -- 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. Examples of this would include some of the unscripted Rift gems or other rare gems; rare skins and pelts from critters; and very rare metals, woods, and gems. A listing of metals, woods, and their rarity, can be found at Materials.
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; e.g., additional costs for handling rare materials and converting them can apply. Gem rarity is a knowledge that all merchants should possess. Again, just because a merchant might have made items from those materials in the past is no guarantee that it will be done today.
Some rare materials might be restricted or simply not lend themselves to serving as an adornment for non-combat items. Black ora and white ora, for example, are reserved for weapons. Adamantine, coraesine, drakar, gornar, krodera, kroderine, rhimar, urglaes, urnon, zelnorn, and zorchar cannot be used due to their unique and innate qualities. These special materials can be used as adornments for combat items that share the material's innate qualities.
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". For example, "a silver armband inset with an urglaes fang".
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.
Magical woods 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.
Flora, trees, plants, etc.: if it exists in the real world, we generally assume that it exists in Elanthia. We generally will ask that the common, English term(s) be used (i.e. avoid using uncommon terms or anything ostentatiously OOG in origin ('lily of Peru' or 'Japanese cherry', for example).
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). Some gems are covered in-depth here: Elanthian Gems Document. 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).
Blood-soaked, blood-spattered, and bloodstained items are permissible, if the material is appropriate for sustaining the above for a long period of time.
ALTER 10: Adornments - Creature Skins/Parts
As noted in ALTER 9, some merchants may require that you provide the 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. ALTER 17 does not apply to the above rule.
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).
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 alter and/or 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). You must always supply the part for this type of alteration; generally these parts are only attainable via special merchants. Though not huntable, sea thrak hides/parts fall under this category. 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 the above guidelines).
Mythical creatures that do not exist in-game cannot have their parts used in an alteration. For example, there are no huntable dragons in the realm, so a dragon claw clasp would not be acceptable for an alteration, but a silver dragon claw-shaped clasp is fine. We currently don't have drakes, unicorns, or some other mythical creatures; however, their images can often be rendered depending on the skill of the merchant.
Playable race (eg. elf, human, etc. -- races that come out of the Character manager) parts are allowed in alterations. As with non-skinnable mythical creatures, you must supply the exact body part from the race in question if you are including it in the alteration, and petrified limbs from Limb Disruption/alchemy dust cannot be used.
Of special note: if you are using a creature part that is normally allowed but ambigous 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 creature parts for RP reasons.
ALTER 11: Images
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 12: Magical Properties
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 in 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 tromps 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. 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 13: Metals and Materials
The base material of a weapon, armor, shield, or lockpick must never be changed to another material. This can affect the properties of the item and impact its performance. Small bits of other metals added to the item are often acceptable, such as "a mithril-banded shield" or "an ora-hilted sword." By the same token, changing a spidersilk cloak into a leather cape might require a change in weight, since one is significantly lighter than the other.
Cloth-of-gold is created when metal thread is woven into the warp of linen, wool, or silk fabric. Other ductible metals that allow threading include: alum, bronze, copper, laje, silver, vaalin, and veniom. Cloth-of-vaalin is more restricted than the others due to vaalin's rare status.
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. Unless an item's underlying build is made of "black alloy" or "white alloy", removing the "alloy" terminology from a metal is perfectly acceptable.
Rare metals should not be requested unless you can provide it in sufficient quantities to the merchant. Even then, smelting and forging such metals might be beyond the skill of the merchant. See ALTER 9 for more information.
Some materials, such as black alloy and white ora, 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. 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 still be followed.
"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 14: Essence
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 jacket 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 15: Subjective Adjectives
Use caution when describing your items. Avoid words that exist only in the mind, and are particular to each individual. Words like electrifying, seductive, alluring, baffling, horrendous, frightening, and mysterious are best avoided, since they wouldn't necessarily invoke that illusion or feeling to all who will view the item or feature.
ALTER 16: Weapons and Armor
Unusual weapon and armor names are permitted for the item, 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. Do not try to convince a merchant to create something like this for you. The judgment call is on the side of the merchant.
Check out the Weapon Types page for a list of approved names for each weapon profile (click on the specific weapon type, or scroll down for the link to a list of alternative weapon names).
Other than AG 1 (ASG 2), armor cannot be altered to resemble normal clothing like gowns, bodices, nightgowns, shirts, pants, etc. Simply put, armor is armor and should look like the ASG group it belongs to.
ALTER 17: Transcending Descriptions
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".
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 be be altered or added into alterations (see ALTER 10). 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.)
In both categories, a script's instructions and naming conventions will always supercede the asthetic alteration exceptions noted above.
ALTER 18: Names, Lettering, and Books
All words designed to be understood by everyone must be in the Common language when placed in the description of an item. GM names do not go on alterations. Player 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."
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.
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.
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."
ALTER 19: Instruments
Not all merchants may feel comfortable working on musical instruments. Those that do offer their services 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. Instruments cannot be altered to become wearable, and 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.
See the Musical Instruments area of GS Wiki for more specific alteration guidelines.
ALTER 20: 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).
ALTER 21: Professional and Racial 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.
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 22: Official Titles
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. Likewise, we have a distinguished list of gods and goddesses.
Each deity has their own particular symbol, that you can learn more about at:
ALTER 23: Joint Long and Show Descriptions
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.
This is not a commonplace service; you should not expect all merchants, or even most, to offer this option.
Feature Alterations - Guidelines
ALTER 100: 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 appear 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 101: 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 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 102: 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 103: 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 104: Body
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 105: 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 106: 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 107: 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] <disinguishing 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 110 (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 108: 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 107 (Distinguishing Marks) and ALTER 110 (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 109: 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.
ALTER 110: General Feature Alteration Guidelines
While ALTER 100-109 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 (wriggling 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 111: 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.>