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The term alteration refers to a relatively common merchant service which allows for custom features or for items to be given custom descriptions. Occasionally tattoo creation or alteration services are also provided, but this is usually by a specialized merchant. Alteration is also used as a generic term for a merchant service (although that has largely been replaced by the term GALD).

Item Alteration

Item descriptions can be customized in one of four ways: base, long, show, and read descriptions. Some alteration merchants may only provide a custom base description. This description is also known as the short description, tap description, or the 15/15/15. Some merchants may provide the custom base description in conjunction with either a custom long or show description. Some merchants may add writing to an item using the READ verb.

Note: Common general alterations were once limited to either a long or show description, though some special items (or special merchant services) allowed for both. Items with both a custom long and show description have become more commonplace although they typically require two alteration sessions to acquire - one to add the custom long description and one to add the custom show description.

Base Description

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Long Description

A long description allows for added customization to items that is visible upon LOOKing at a character and in some messaging. This field is separate from the item's base description, although it incorporates at least the item's noun and possibly other portions of the base description as well.

Long descriptions are not limited to the 15/15/15 rule of the base description, and generally contain slightly more detail. Long descriptions do not have to take the format of 15/15/15 followed by a long description, but can instead be around 60 characters or 12 words in any order.

Note: Some people call the long description a tap description, but since the base description is also called this at times, it can be confusing.

See more information about the long description with examples at its page.

Show Description

The show description can be viewed using the LOOK verb on the item itself or the person holding the item using the SHOW verb to someone else. The show description will not appear when LOOKing at another character's appearance. Show descriptions can be a maximum of 511 characters, and there must be two spaces after the end of a sentence.

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READ Description

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Feature Alteration

Besides items, players may also get feature alterations on characters, adding unusual hair styles and colors, eye shapes, scars, birthmarks or other visual descriptors.

Alteration Rules

Player alteration designs can be denied by merchants for both policy and merchant in-character reasons. Merchants will also require players to provide any rare materials (including woods and metals labeled as rare/very rare in official documents, expensive/uncommon gems, and body parts). Players may also provide dyes to merchant to get certain effects such as "glowing." Glowing colors may only be made via alchemy (the full glowing color must be provided, but can be shortened from, say, "glowing emerald green" to "glowing green").

Standard alteration rules can be seen using the ALTER verb.