Kelfour Edition volume I number V

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|  |                                 How To Design a Better Character P.18   |
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|    xXX     XX xX             XX        The Kronicles                     |
|   XXX       XXX            xXX               of Kulthea:  Vol.1, No. 5   |
|                         XXX           X                   October 1990   |
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|         Open Letter to Simutronics ............................. 1       |
|         Local News ............................................. 2       |
|         Kirc's Korner by Kirc Bloodguard ....................... 3       |
|         How I Came to Kelfour's Landing by Emeralda L'Eeon ..... 6       |
|         Mentoring by Gunkwynn Ellessur ......................... 7       |
|         The Lone Ranger Part III by Caliban Eilorn ............. 8       |
|         The Lore of Mearand by Rune Arundel .................... 9       |
|         Strength/Breakage Factors by Airioch Ramthanodox ...... 11       |
|         Editorial: Bound and Dragged by Usul Lu'Nak ........... 12       |
|         Being Socially Responsible by Delphinia delAssandro ... 13       |
|         In Memory of Fallen Friends by Corwyn d'Evan .......... 14       |
|         Layman's Guide to Shopping by Etienne de Noire ........ 15       |
|         The Essentials of Learning by Lythe L'Green ........... 18       |
|         The Nose Knows by Miss Louvella Parsnips .............. 26       |
|                                                                          |
|  The Kelfour Edition of the Kronicles of Kulthea is devoted to the game  |
|  GemStone III on the GEnie Information Network. Submissions are welcome  |
|  and may be  edited for space, accuracy  and readability.  Contact Usul  |
|  Lu'Nak, Editor-In-Chief, Achoo GoldenRod, Managing Editor, Eron Kulsen  |
|  Reporter, or  Phaedra Bleu, Publisher, or send GEnie  Email requesting  |
|  information to P.HERRINGTON.                          Banner by Dagger. |
|   _______________________________________________________________________|_

                     An Open Letter To Simutronics
  |~|___|~|ecent changes made to      And, even assuming one survives
  |~|__/~/  GemStone have, in my      the arduous advancement to higher
  |~|  \~\   opinion, made it well-   levels, what good does it do us?
  |~|   \~\   nigh unplayable. This,  Half of the grey orc spell list is
 ~~~~    ~~~   in addition to the     *still* unimplemented despite
lack of progress on previous issues,  constant promises from Simutronics,
has contributed to making the game    and the other half backfires on us
considerably less fun for myself      as often as not. Lockpicking for us
and many of my compatriots.           is *still* unimplemented, and we are
                                      *still* unable to use the wands and
Take, for example, the subject of     ruby amulets we carry. While the
the special weapons many of the       recent fixing of gold rings has been
higher level players appear to be     of considerable help, allowing some
equipped with now. As though the      of us to escape quickly when wounded,
game weren't difficult enough         it just isn't enough.
already, addition of these new        
magical weapons and shields make      I would also like to take this
it even more cumbersome to gain       opportunity to say that the recent
experience points. Only the very      bias toward Unlife is, in my opinion,
toughest of us are able to battle     grossly Unfair. Why should they be
these upgunned players on anything    protected from being hacked at by
close to an equal basis.                           weapons and be immune
Furthermore, how is it   ________________________   to stun, yet we hard-
that the players are   //       Know Ye:         \   working orcs and
are allowed access to ||   Contrary to popular    |  fighting monsters are
these, yet most of us ||   opinion, perception    |  still subject to being
make do with cudgels  ||  skill is NOT used when  |  dismembered at every
and short swords?     ||  searching dead monsters |  turn? I realize that
Claws and teeth would  \\________________________/   previously the Unlife
almost be better!                 ||/|               felt they had a hard
                                  ||/|             time, but (forgive me,
Additionally, these changes have  ||/|   my wight friends) I really feel
introduced major fighters and     ||/|   that the readjustment went over
greater rangers into lower elf-  ~~~~~~  board. Everyone wants to be a
land, formerly a safe place for       wight lord or ghoul king now; no one
our young hobgoblins and orcs to      any longer enjoys the simple plea-
adventure. These high level players   sures of cave trolls going out and
mingling in lower level areas make    player-bashing. In fact, a number of
it very dangerous for us to in-       fire and cold guardians I know have
habit these lower levels. I am        simply ceased playing altogether.
saddened by the number of deaths      
that occur there every day. The       We monsters, as you know, are what
recent reports of players being       makes this game great. Our concerns
resurrected after death make it       are legitimate and must be heeded.
even worse; how are we to get any     Remember, as we say in the business:
experience if the players we kill     The troll with the biggest stick is
won't stay dead?                      always right.
                                             Signed: A Concerned Orc
                    All The NEWS That's Fit To Print
New Merchandise                        Speaking in Tongues
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   Of importance to all residents is      Another shift in the essence last
the new, specially-made merchandise    month returned to the peoples of our
available from the armory, locksmith,  lands the ability to speak in each
and other merchants: Weapons, armor    one's native tongue. While we can and
and clothing, all of which can be      do still communicate in the Common
personalized. Details in the Shopping  language, there is a great rejoicing
Feature in this issue.   ______        at being able to speak again as we
                        /__ _  \       each learned in our homeland. A walk
             ____________)____(        around the square sometime should per-
    |]NNNNNNN___________|______])      mit you to enjoy the delightful lilts
                        _) _ _(_       and accents of these tongues:
Monsters Evolving       \______/       
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       Elven   Highman  Halfelf Woodelf
   Reports of changes in monsters'      Highelf Fairelf  Dwarven Halfling
abilities have been pouring into our    Highspeak  Guildspeak  Lorespeak
offices, and you are advised to use    
extra caution when hunting, although   Elanthian Reunion
we have not ascertained which indivi-  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
dual beasts are stronger than those    Former residents of Elanthia are
detailed in our last Edition. In       encouraged to attend an upcoming
particular, keep your eyes open for    reunion which will be held in the
these monsters:                        strange lands of California. Check
 Ghoul King    Cockatrice    Basilisk  the Games Bulletin Board for details.
 Manticore     Cave Worm     Titan     
 Crystal Golem Cold Guardian Lich      Wedding Bells
 Fire Guardian Black Stalker Werebear  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Frost Giant   Steel Golem   Karnelin  Merriebeth IvyThorn and Caroam
 Ice Skeleton  Wight Lord              Thienson were joined in holy matri-
                                       mony on the 23rd day of last month.
REAL semi-precious GEMS             |  KE wishes them a long and happy union.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~             |  
Jade, Amethyst, Topaz, Tigereye,    |  Assorted News
Agate, Rutilated Quartz, a Blue ____!__~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Corundum -- these and other    /\/\/\  The gods have indicated that the long-
semi-precious, multi-faceted   \/  \/  awaited new Engagement System is
gems are being awarded to       \  /   nearing completion. Watch for it!
lucky residents of Kulthea.      \/    And most of the illustrations in this
Should you discover a REAL             issue were heisted from Dagger's
GEM, type GEM for details     _________________  Art Museum. Thanks, d00d! ;)
on how you can _____________//                 \_________________
get it.      //                 FREE WEEKENDS                    \ 
            ||                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     |
            ||         Enjoy FAME and FORTUNE in Kulthea!         |
            ||  Just make three contributions to Kelfour Edition, |
            || GemStone III's official player-written newsletter, |
            || to earn a FREE WEEKEND in the game. Get your quill |
            || out and ask KE staff members (Usul Lu'Nak, Phaedra |
            || Bleu, Achoo GoldenRod, Eron Kulsen), or send Email |
            || to P.HERRINGTON for full details. Do it today! Now!|
                                    || \|
                                    || \|
                         ~~ ~~~'~~~~~~~~~~~~`~~~ ~~~~~     ~~~~
Kirc's Korner
                       A Pseudo-Neo-Quasi-Treatise:
 ________          The Art of Staying Alive in the Wilds
 ~|_|~~|~|         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  |~|__|~|                 by Kirc Bloodguard
  |~| arrying is the allocating of a    Maximize Your DB
 ~~~~ percentage of your OB (Offensive  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bonus) to your DB (Defensive Bonus).    What do I mean by this? Simply put,
In other words, it's using your skill   keep your guard up at all times.
at attacking to help protect yourself.  Obviously I'm not just talking about
This is in addition to your DB from     keeping your weapon and shield out
your natural quickness and whatever     (in the correct hands) and being at
else, like a shield.                    PAR 100 all the time. I'm speaking
                                        about keeping up as much defense as
If you are parrying at 100%, you are    possible in a given situation.
doing everything you can (short of      
running away) to avoid getting hit.     For example, when travelling around
If parrying at 0%, then you are         it would be a good idea to have your
going all out to hit a monster and      weapon/shield out and be parrying
are hoping it won't hit you. If you     100%. Better to be safe than sorry
are parrying at 50%, you have split     goes that old cliche, and there is no
your OB equally to attack and           point to running about at PAR 0.
defense. To clarify:                    
                                        If you are like most adventurers,
                  Bonus                 your weapon is your main source of
   Strength 90     +10                  offense AND defense. Without it you
   Weapon skill    +30                  must use bare hands, and not too many
   Total OB        +40                  are skilled at brawling. Therefore
                                        it would be better for you to use
   Quickness 92    +12                  your off-hand (left) when you need a
   Shield          +20                  free hand. Then your weapon stays out
   Total DB        +32                  and can be used to protect you, pro-
                                        vided you are parrying. To illustrate:
 Thus, at:                              
                    OB   DB                                 Bonus
   100% Parry      + 0  +72                  Weapon skill    +50
   0% Parry        +40  +32                  Shield          +20
   50% Parry       +20  +52             
                                            Parrying at 100%        DB
Parrying is set by typing PAR XX             With Weapon & Shield  +70 
where XX represents the percentage           With Weapon alone     +50
of offensive ability you wish to add         With Shield alone     +20
to your base DB. When you are not       
fighting it is a good idea to keep      As you can see, if you need a free
your parry at 100% as you never know    hand, you have a higher DB if you
what might jump out at you or when.     put your shield away (or wear it)
                                        than if you put your weapon away.
You may wonder why I bother to mention  I recommend using your left hand
parrying as it is a very basic concept. for the following activities:
First, I have noticed beginners who do  
not know about it. This is partially      1. Getting loot and other objects
for their edification. Second, I will     2. Picking locks with 20 second RT
be referring to parrying a good bit       3. Waving a wand (Carry weapon in
in this article.                             your right hand.)
In the examples you cannot Max your     I suggest you use it when you are
DB overall, but you can have Max DB     with a group of adventurers. And
for the current situation (which is     remember, not all monsters are
Max DB overall minus the bonus from     easily stunned, and those that are
the shield which you are no longer      don't stay that way forever.
using). The off-hand principle works    
for almost all characters, the          Parry/Tag Method
exceptions being some lower level       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
types and others who have a better      Sometimes known as Min/Max, this
Max DB when they retain their           method seems to be the most common
shield. (An example would be someone    one. The sequence is as follows:
with brawling skill.)                   
                                            PARRY 100
Let's say for argument sake that you        <Wait until monster attacks>
have brawling skill equal to your           PARRY 0
weapon skill. So you have the same          ATTACK MONSTER
DB when you put your weapon away.           PARRY 100
Now you can do whatever you want        
with the free hand and still be at      Repeat this as necessary until the
Max DB. This is true unless you pick    monster is dead. The idea behind
up a weapon (maybe as loot) that you    this is to present your Max DB when
are not proficient in. Then you get     the monster attacks you and yet to
to watch your DB drop drastically,      attack with Max OB, too. This
so be careful if you are relying on     technique works well when there is
brawling in this way and wish to        just one monster and when that
pick out a weapon.                      monster has a RoundTime greater than
                                        yours. I have been able to use this
Fighting Styles: Banzai Method          method successfully on up to four
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          monsters at a time but the timing 
Many times have I seen adventurers      can be tricky. I suggest practising
encounter a monster, drop their         with just one monster first until
parry to zero and start swinging        you get the hang of it. This method
away. This method works against some    is good to use solo or with a group
low level monsters, but even then       of adventurers.
only sometimes. I do not recommend      
this technique unless you don't mind    Defensive Method
giving monsters free shots at you.      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        This technique is for those who
First Strike Method                     really do not like to take chances.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     You parry at a percentage at which
Similar to the Banzai Method, the       the monster cannot hit you or
First Strike philosophy is to run       has an extremely small chance to hit
into a room and get in the first        you. Then whatever OB is left over is
blow and either stun the monster        used to attack the monster. This
right away or do enough damage on       method is also for the patient since
the first shot so that the monster's    you slowly chip away at the monster
OB drops and it does not hit you as     (provided you can even hit it). As
hard as it might. (If a monster is      the monster's DB rises and its OB
hurt badly it will parry more, if it    falls, you adjust your OB and DB
parries more then it cannot attack      accordingly.
as well.) While I have never been       
real fond of this method, I have        This style is recommended against
seen it work well for some. Until       monsters with a roundtime less than
the monster gets in the first strike    yours, when fighting groups of
that is. If you think the odds are      monsters, or when you definitely
worth it and wish to use this method    don't want to be hit because of
poison, disease, life drain, etc.       Fighting Turtles
Preferred during system slowdowns too.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        A turtled monster is one that is
Disarming Monsters                      parrying at 100%. This can occur
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                      slowly as the monster suffers
You hit it and it dropped its weapon    increasing amounts of damage, or it
or its weapon broke or it didn't have   can happen quickly if you manage to
one to begin with. An unarmed monster   lop off one of its limbs.
is easy meat right? Maybe.              
                                        What are your options if it is
I've noticed that not all monsters      turtled? You could wait for it to
are easier in a fight if they are       bleed to death, provided it IS
unarmed. For example, Lesser Orcs on    bleeding. If it runs to the next
the mine road are much easier to hit    room, wait for it to sit down and
when their cudgel breaks but for        rest from its injuries then run in
anyone who has fought an unarmed        and swing at it while it is off
troll you know that a troll claw        guard. Be careful though, as another
attack can be quite devastating.        monster may have wandered into that
                                        same room. One other technique that
If a monster is easier prey without     sometimes works is to drop your
a weapon then it may be a good idea     parry and just stand there.
to ensure that its condition stays      
that way. That is, if it drops its      Sometimes a monster will then slowly
weapon grab it and put it in your       lower its parry to hit you. I've
backpack (remembering to keep Max DB    done this often enough. This happens
of course). The idea is that if the     when a monster is turtled or parry-
weapon isn't there the monster can't    ing very high. If a monster is not
grab it again. This goes for weapons    parrying or parrying low, then the
lying around from defeated monsters     opposite seems to be true. The higher
too. Collect them all and then go       your parry, the less the monster
ditch them somewhere.                   parries so that it can hit you better.
                                        Another reason Min/Max works well.
What if the monster has a hideous       
claw attack and you happen to be        Spells can work well to bring down
wearing heavy hide? Not a pleasant      a turtled monster. This usually 
situation. You could leave its          involves getting the monster into a
weapon there and hope it picks it up.   prone position so that you can get a
You could leave and change into         hit in. The old way used to be just
armor that is better against natural    to put the monster to sleep. Given
attacks like a leather breastplate,     the sleep spell's limited effective-
or you could be friendly and just       ness now, you have to swing quickly
give the monster a weapon.              as the monster gets up pretty fast.
                                        Other spells good for this purpose
Give it a weapon? Why not? Whatever     are Wind and Tremors, although they
works, and this has worked for a lot    are both higher level spells.
of characters. Many a time, I have      
carried a cudgel or a dagger around     Monster Groups
to give to a monster. Disarmed          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Troll? "Here, Troll, have a cudgel."    What do you do when you encounter a
Toss it on the ground and see if it     group of monsters? Well, you could
likes it. Unarmed Lesser Mummy?         just leave. You could rough it out,
"Here, Mr. Mummy, have a dagger. See    or you can induce some of them to
how it shines? Too bad you don't        leave. Parry up and let them take a
know how to use it." Get a feel for     few swings at you. Some will be so
which monsters are better with and      awed by your fighting ability they
without weapons.                        will run away. This is provided that
 _____    _____      How I Came To Kelfour's Landing
 +|~ ~\  /~ ~|+      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  |~| \~~/ |~|             by Emeralda L'Eeon
  |~|  ~~  |~|
 _|~|      |~|_y people were of the     Thus I met L'Eeon, a half-elven
 ~~~~~    ~~~~~   land, and of the      thief who took me in hand. I had
the simplest sort. My father I recall   been wild; he tamed me to the degree
not, for he was swept away by a pes-    that my nature allows. He taught me
tilence before I had lived two years.   somewhat of thievery and fighting,
Earliest memories are of my mother      of the ways of survival. More he
begging our bread by the wayside. How   taught of honor and courtesy. He
we came to leave our home I know not,   said that honor was a small token of
for she would never speak of it. She    sanity in a world gone mad and sad,
oft bemoaned the condition of the       and that courtesy was its hallmark.
world, where a mother could not feed    Also he taught me some history of
her child in honor. She died when I     Kulthea, yet never any of his own.
was on the edge of womanhood, an end    
hastened by the many times she gave     Some horror or tragedy must have
me food and kept none for herself.      blotted out his past, for he would
                                        lay claim to no name beyond L'Eeon.
I then survived by chance, stealing     Once, shortly after we met, I was
food, fighting urchins of the villages  persistent beyond courtesy and
when I could not avoid it, ducking      pushed to know his story, for he
blows and less palatable punishments.   already knew what little there was
Always I was alone, moving from one     of mine. He said, "Once -long ago-
small village to the next.              I could have said much, but I have
                                        no history that I would claim now."
Then Fate touched my life. I stole a    His face bore a look of such sorrow
trinket of no great value. I had        that I quieted my questions, and
learned through necessity's school      never ventured them again.
the way of such thefts, and was not     
inept. But the owner was swift as a     A six-month past, he was attacked by
snake, and seized me, laughing.         a wolverine. He slew it with ease
                                        but was scratched by claws that held
--------------------------------------  poison. He sickened and died from a
Kirc's Korner Continues...              fever. Ere his death, L'Eeon told
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~              me to continue to Kelfour's Landing.
one did not actually injure you. If     He said that there was need - yet I
a monster hurt you while you were at    confess, I know not of what. He was
full parry then it will probably stay   at point of death when he spake of
to finish you off. (What are you doing  it, dieing before he could explain.
there anyway if it can hit you?) After  
some of the monsters run off, then you  Thus came I to Kelfour's Landing,
can deal with the remainder. Careful    following the behest of a man now
though; its pals may return.            dead, knowing not why I came save
                                        that it was his wish. Sure I am of
Heading Home                            one thing. He who was my master and
~~~~~~~~~~~~                            friend was a noble man, of deep and
Take into consideration that I present  true honor. I have taken the single
situations and circumstances where the  name he bore as my own. I honor my
characters and monsters are commiserate mother's memory yet it is dim, far
with each other in levels. Remember     dimmer than memories of L'Eeon. Some-
that no matter how high level you are,  day I hope to find his people and
even a low level monster can catch you  learn his history. Yet if I fail in
unawares. Remember, too, that monsters  this, I pray someday I may make his
are ever-changing. Like you, they can   name an honored one through my
learn.                         [end]    actions.                      [end]

_________                        ~~~~~~~~~
|~~|~|~~|                   by Gunkwynn Ellessur
   |~| he benefits of mentoring,                      HINTS:
  ~~~~~  both long and short term,      Several hints for beginning players:
are extolled herein, and some hints    - Always travel at 100% parry.
for first level play are proposed.     - Lower your parry immediately AFTER
                                         a monster attacks. This avoids that
Several aspects of participating         ugly vulnerability window.
with an experienced player are         - HIDE, then SNE(AK) into areas that
definite benefits. JOINing a sea-        habitually contain nasty monsters,
soned player (with <Description On>      such as the wolverines on the
while recording to a file on your        Lower Dragonsfang Grasslands. This
microcomputer) is a fast and fairly      lowers further their chance of
safe way to map sections of the          nailing you in passing.
world outside of Kelfour's Landing.    - If you are fighting two beasts such
By observing and participating in        as torkaans, you can engage the 2nd
battles that are well-managed, some      by typing ATT OTHER TOR or SECOND or
tactics rub off. This is helpful in      whatever number it was when it came
the use of PARRY to control a battle.    into the room. This goes for most
Of course there is the camaraderie       items (on ground/person/back) too!
aspect. However, the best part is      - Personalized items break. I find
that the GemStone community gains        non-combat items retain their value
a better player who is more likely       better than a sword or shield, un-
to be happy and to help others.          less it's in laen, etc. Something
                                         like a special backpack works well.
What is mentoring?  Well, mayhaps      - Cudgels often break, so you can
you already know. I observed Rune,       win a protracted fight with an orc
Krystal and Ged (my mentor), while       with a cudgel because their offen-
we hunted in the wilds. Basically,       sive bonus deteriorates.
mentoring is the process of:
 - Taking beginning players to areas   On the LIGHTER SIDE, perhaps some
   appropriate for their talents.      mistakes that I have made will help
 - Leading combat.                     others.
 - Instructing people on the smart     - Most awkward moment: When I said,
 - use of parry in action.               "Thank you, sir" to fair Wisraith.
 - Slaying a monster should it get       Recommendation: LOOK before apply-
   out of control.                       ing gender when speaking.
 - Advising which monsters to avoid    - Second most embarrassing moment was
   initially and how.                    explaining to the normal collec-
 - Allowing one or more of your          tion of people in the Temple that
   protoges to slay a monster.           I had been slain by a ... torkaan.
                                       - Least intelligent was playing Rus-
After about an hour of mentored          sian Roulette with a karnelin.
exploration and combat, I began to       Beware their favorite dance, "The
understand Magnetron's article "The      1st level stomp."
Better Part of Valor," and was able
to combine it with information from    This article is the result of an
Landreth's "Monster Charts," both      expedition led by Ged Sparrowhawk
from last month's Kelfour Edition.     which I shared with Hollie Yaskin.
Coincidentally, I happened to ask      The adventures that followed after
Taluk about armor. He wrote "Taluk's   leaving the comforts of Kelfour's
Guide To Armor," File #2078 in the     Landing have improved my game and
Games Library, which makes most        progress immensely.
interesting reading as well.
                             The Lone Ranger
    ______                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   /~/~~\~\                     Part III
  |~|    ~~~                by Caliban Eilorn
   __~~~\~\          (Continued from Kelfour Edition V1N3)
  |~|    |~|
   \~\__/~/ lowly, I come to realize   Two of them shake their round heads
    ~~~~~~    that applying Afranas    ponderously and slowly tumble to the
Stem, the wondrous plant that healed   ground, but the third leaps luridly
wounds I suffered from being knocked   and delivers a telling blow to the
about by kobolds the previous night,   mage's torso.
has removed from this day any slight   
possibility of sleep. I recall that    Screaming a battle cry common to all
Fayden, the poor cursed commoner from  tongues, I dash into the fray, my
another land, who by day lives the     scimitar blazing. I watch the startled
haunted life of a wolverine, and by    hobgoblin's gruesome grin fade as I
night that of a beautiful woman doomed swing in a long arch and strike it in
to be misunderstood by most Kultheans, the stomach. Before it can recover, I
has left to prey upon those foolish    attack again, carving through its
enough to invade her territory.        armor and hitting its left arm in the
                                       process. The beast retalliates with
Jumping down from the ledge I had      a short sword but I deftly dodge away,
climbed during her beastly trans-      making a cut at its leg which misses.
mutation, I stealthily make my way     Realizing that the other two beasts
through the cave out into the morning  are down by not out, I feint at the
light. Fayden is indeed gone, for      hobgoblin that is up, and slice down
which I am grateful since she told me  toward one of those asleep. My blow
that, during the day, her wolverine    catches its midsection and the morn-
existence has not the knowledge of     ing air reeks with the stink of
her night-time human form. I return    innards and blood as I disembowel it.
to the cave and quickly make a meal    Keeping up my attention, with my
from the rations I carry, and am       scimitar I parry a blow to my arm
taking stock of my inventory when a    and swing at the wakeful hobgoblin
muffled explosion shakes dust down     again. But again I miss as it, too,
onto me from the ceiling. Grabbing     parries. We exchange blows during the
my scimitar, I rush again to the       next few minutes, neither wounding
cave's mouth to endeavor to see what   the other any more than with scratches
caused the shaking of the mountain.    that swordsmen expect. Taking stock of
                                       the third foul beast, I see that the
Away to the north, just visible        mage has recovered sufficiently to
through the mostly bare branches of    impale it as it sleeps. I swing one
the winter trees, I make out a small   last time at the standing hobgoblin's
skirmish. Throwing on my armor, I rush stomach, then, at the last instant, I
down the hillside to the foot of the   change direction and aim at the flat
woods proper, slipping occasionally    of its short sword. Scimitar and sword
in the snow but managing not to fall.  meet with a loud clang and a shower
Now I am close enough to make out the  of sparks, but the scimitar hits a
shapes of the battlers; I see a man    stress point and the short sword
defending himself from three fierce    shatters. The hobgoblin is left hold-
hobgoblins. As I look on, the man      in the hilt. Moving quickly, the beast
ceases defensive maneuvers. He stands  grins again and drops it, swinging a
ramrod stiff and, lifting his hands    huge paw at me. I pull my weapon up
high, mumbles something I would not    fast and luckily connect with its arm,
have understood even had he been       which immediately flows crimson. As
beside me. A blue glow pulses from     the hobgoblin screams, it lunges,
his fingertips and is soon matched     shoving me to the ground where I lose
by a glow from the three hobgoblins.   my scimitar among the undergrowth.
                                   -8-                       (Continued...)
I'm trying to roll away from its       is a thankful grin. "Are you all
massive down-sweeping paw when, as I   right?" I ask.
scramble for my dagger in hopes of     
somehow managing to throw it, an       He replies in a surprisingly deep,
incredible blast of cold air strikes   booming tone. "Yes, warrior. Though
the beast in the chest, transforming   I fear I shall be marked by the wound,
it instantly into a statue of solid    I have most of my health." The smile
ice in mid-swing. It hangs strangely   he returns in infectious. I explain
above me, and I find myself staring    that I am a ranger by profession, and
into a hideous face with a snub nose   would be honored if he would return
and glassy eyes.                       with me to the cave, where we might
                                       rest ourselves and sort through the
The frozen monstrosity continues to    now-dead hobgoblins' treasures at our
leer over me as I retrieve my beloved  leisure. Accepting my invitation, the
scimitar and stagger to my feet. I     mage, whose name I learn is Umbrel,
finally look over at the mage, who     helps me dispose of the bodies and we
is just sliding a gleaming metal wand  indiscriminately gather the booty. As
into his backpack.                     we climb the hill to the cave, I smile
                                       secretly as I wonder what he will have
It takes a moment but at last I find   to say about Fayden. Not for the first
my voice. "Greetings! I saw you take   time this morning, I am hopeful she
a knock and thought to help," I say,   will return a nightfall.
"Although it turned out the other way  
'round as well." I flash what I hope             (To Be Continued)
                         The Lore of Mearand
 ||~~|~|~~||               by Rune Arundel
 ~~  |~|  ~~
     |~| he Tomes hold tales of the Shadow Lands
     |~|   Where Kulthea's finest adventuring bands
    ~~~~~  Walk bloodstained paths, and there they die
     Beneath a grey and misty sky.
     True bards will sing this gloomy song
     While firelight flickers and the day grows long,
     The tale of valor of the half-elf Mearand
     Who once did walk these ravaged lands.
     He answered a mother's last pleas for aid
     Seven hill trolls had stolen her tiny babe.
     With the mother dying, they ran to their hill,
     This was one night they would each eat their fill.
     On her death, so he promised to avenge her child
     But none to assist,went alone to the wild
     With great strength and agility true to his race
     He entered the troll lair and stood firm in that place.
     Screams of the hill trolls echoed from there
     Then more of them came, smelling blood in the air.
     Though surrounded and weary, wading into the horde
     He ducked and he parried and he swung his great sword.
     Four trolls had fallen, the ground slick and wet,
     He was torn and bleeding and they clawed at him yet.
     He snatched up the babe as he fought the trolls back
     He was almost outside when he felt a great hack.
     His sword arm was shattered, hanging by a thread.
     His blood ran in rivers and he felt a cold dread
     But he would not stop - he carried that babe out
     Pushed it under a bush then ran back to the bout.
     From a two-handed swing, he lost his leg at the knee
     The hill trolls were screeching, going mad in their glee.
     He fought the good fight, but death knew his face
     His life slipped away and he died in that place.
     When the hill trolls had finished their gory repast
     They slept in their lair, calm and sated at last.
     Then the infant was found by an adventuring band
     But they found not a trace of the half-elf Mearand.
     They took the babe back and he grew tall and strong
     With sword, shield and bow, he worked hard and long
     Knowing his beginnings he took his savior's name
     Walked through the shadows, and earned himself fame.
     With his destiny etched in the spilled blood of Mearand
     So the lad walked alone, bereft of a band
     There wasn't a moon when he entered the troll lair
     And terrifying screams soon filled the night air.
     He slashed with his blade and green troll blood ran.
     They fought back in terror but were slain by this man.
     Then, panicked and wild-eyed, some tried to flee
     But Mearand was merciless, none would go free.
     Twenty seven trolls lay dead before he was done
     He staggered out of the lair and greeted the sun.
     He was torn and bleeding, bone-weary from the fight
     But he was grand in his glory for he knew he'd been right.
     He wiped off his blade and shrugged off his pain
     Then stepped into the mists and none saw him again.
     He left behind a legacy as he walked out of that place
     For born to him that night was a babe with his face.
     His descendants still wander through shadowy lands
     Glorying in troll deaths as they remember Mearand.
     Alone they travel beneath a misty grey sky
     And cry out his name as they fall down and die.
 ____      ____          Strength/Breakage Factors
 +|~|      |~|+          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  |~|  __  |~|
  |~| /~~\ |~|            by Airioch Ramthanodox
  |~/~/  \~\~|ith the introduction of exotic materials and a fix that was
  |__/    \__| applied to shields, questions about STrength and Breakage
  ~~~      ~~~ Factors of weapons and shields (ST/BF) have surfaced.
Strength is based on the material a weapon or shield is made from. The
Breakage Factor is a number representing how much damage it will take to
break or cause that weapon or shield to fail. A roll for breakage is made
whenever you miss your target and the result is not a fumble. Possible
occurrences fall into three classes of action:
         01-50 No chance of breakage.
         51-75 Weapon and shield or weapon/weapon with no shield.
         76-100 Weapon and weapon
When your result falls between 51-100 you make a roll for breakage. This is
Open Ended, that is to say, if the first die result is a 100 then you roll
the d100 again until you stop getting 100 as the result. You then add these
rolls together. This roll is applied to the BF part of your weapon or
shield. As an example:
                          A normal rapier has a ST/BF of 30/100.
                          A normal wooden shield has a ST/BF of 45/155.
When attacking, you miss and get the following:    ._____________.
    Weapon clashes with shield!                    ||  * * * *  ||
    [ST/BF: 30/100 vs. 45/155, D100 = 87]          ||    ___    ||
                                                   ||  __) (__  ||
Nothing happened here as the BF of the weapons     || )__ * __( ||
was not exceeded. On the next swing you get this:  ||    | |    ||
                                                   ||    | |    ||
    Weapons Clash!                                  \\   ) (   //
    [ST/BF: 30/100 vs. 75/160, D100 = 120]           \\  \_/  //
    Your Rapier breaks!                               \\_____//
The rapier broke because the weapon you happened to hit had a greater
strength and breakage factor, so it gave up when the two met. In that
example, the Breakage Factor was all that came into play. The strength of a
weapon comes into play when you go against a weapon like this:
    Weapons Clash!
    [ST/BF: 30/100 vs. 18/185, D100 = 190]
    You break the dagger!
Why didn't your rapier break? The Rapier is stronger than the Dagger. Even
though you exceeded the breakage factor of your weapon, your rapier is still
stronger than the dagger it hit, so the weapon with the lower strength
breaks in this case. If you get two weapons that have the same strength but
different breakage factors, i.e 30/100 vs 30/120, and the breakage factor of
both is exceeded the weapon with the lower BF will break. What happens when
weapons of equal value meet and the breakage factor is exceeded? In theory,
another roll is made, and if it exceeds some threshold then nothing happens.
If the roll does not exceed the threshold then both weapons may break. Of
course, this could be divided a different way as well, 01-50 your weapon
breaks, 51-100 the other weapon breaks.                                [end]
 ===========                   Bound and Dragged
 ||~~|~|~~||                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 ~~  |~|  ~~                  (or Soap & Chains)
     |~|  his is no Bush-League plea       And I am angry because we always
    ~~~~~ for a Kinder and Gentler      seem to spend more time discussing
anything. This is an Indictment. I      our statistics, & not supporting and
write it in anger: not anger pointed,   encouraging in words and deeds our
biting, and sharp, as I might wish,     unique and totally self-created alter
to lend scalpels to my thought, but     personalities within the concept of
anger low, smoldering, and brutal.      the Shadow World Fantasy genre.
Anger of a kind to melt and warp any
lens I might set to observe it. Ugly       I am a rebel with a clause. And
Anger. I offer no pretense of being     as my pen is my sword, I'd like this
objective. I write in outrage and a     angst to serve me well this time!
dread sense of helplessness: reaching
out this time, not for me and you,         Sometime ago, I had a dream. In
who are already poisoned and fighting   it there was a group of characters
to make the best of it, but for some    going up against a powerful unseen
echo of the special kids we are and     force holding one of them captive
the magical grownups each of us can     and immobilized. Great stuff, eh?
become in a world- Oh, Shadow World-    But alas, what was the topic of their
where rollplaying was not accepted or   conversation? "I bought me a +20
considered superior to roleplaying.     sword," said one. "Better log, it has
                                        +45 on ya now that you lost your DB,"
   Today I am angry: angry because      said the other. "Not to worry," said
the struggle to choose roleplaying      the third, "it's turtled!" ...Sigh...
over rollplaying sets us apart from        And so it goes, always appearance,
much of society and against the laws    never substance, right down to being
of physics...(It takes Work to bring    in the classic room full of Beautiful
Order out of the Chaos that is our      Furniture that Nobody Ever Sits On,
newborn character, and Lord Entropy     if they even bothered to ever read
is always to the left of us, watching   the descriptions!
every move we make, waiting for the
chance to strike our fingers with          And so I'm angry. I'm angry be-
apathy and laziness.) I am angry        cause it seems society's paradigm is
because we were born in the enemy's     that we must rollplay in order to
camp and escaped it, (insofar as        survive, and roleplay with what's
any of us do escape it) less than       left- A backwards policy that demeans
whole.                                  our characters and undermines the
                                        FRP GAME WHICH GSIII IS. I get angry
   I'm angry because we GemStone        when talent which could improve FRP
players have allowed ourselves to be    gaming gets ground into the dirt.
conned for so long by the idea that
winning and playing for level is the       I'm angry because we are all bound
Name of the Game while the personal,    in chains. Chains of our own making
and fantastic side of our characters    which drag us down. Yet we do not
is neglected and considered preten-     attempt to break free. Go figure!
tious at best or a waste of time and
money at worst.                             No wonder I'm screaming!
                                                             Usul Lu'Nak
                         Being Socially Responsible
 _____                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 ~|_|~                    by Delphinia delAssandro
  |~|  thought I'd tell you some-      and immediately start swinging with-
 _|~|_ thing that's been on my mind    out asking if s/he minds. Please, at
 ~~~~~ lately. This look familiar?     least for non-lethal monsters, take
                                       the time to ask before jumping in.
   [Upper Kaldsfang]                   In many cases, the adventurer may
   Obvious paths: south, northeast.    be at the end of a 10-minute epic
   >                                   battle, and is about the deal the
   SomeBum just arrived.               final blow, which would fill them
   >                                   with great satisfaction -- just as
   Delphinia curtsies.                 someone else wanders through and
   >                                   kills it. This has happened to me,
   SomeBum just went northeast.        and it is rather upsetting. Some
   >                                   people would argue that it is too
   SomeBum just arrived.               dangerous to ask first, Well, if you
   >                                   are parrying, you should be able to
   SomeBum just went south.            safely ask in most situations. If
   >You exclaim, "Hello!"              there are several monsters there,
   >                                   you might pause to see which one
Notice that I curtsied to SomeBum,     the adventurer is fighting. In many
yet he never even said hello! Now      cases, if you ask, they will invite
it's a hostile world out there, but    you to join in. Politeness never
that's no reason to abandon common     killed anyone.
courtesy. With this sort of behavior    
in mind, I thought I'd share some      Something else that irritates me is
thoughts intended to help you be a     when other adventurers wander past
more socially responsible adventurer.  where I have just killed a monster,
                                       and grab loot off the ground. If you
First, let's address the situation     as me, and it's something I wasn't
above. If you see someone hunting in   planning on taking, that's one thing.
the wilderness, it won't hurt to       But I've been subject to the stick-
pause for a moment and say Hello, or   finger crew more than once where
even just bow, curtsey, or wave. If    someone walked in, grabbed something
you are pursuing a monster, that's     and immediately left without saying
one thing, but there is no excuse      a word.
for plain rudeness. In this example,   
no monsters passed through the room,   Along this same line of thought, we
so SomeBum was just being anitsocial.  must also consider searching and
                                       skinning vanquished foe. Generally,
Keep in mind that many adventurers     the person who killed the monster
you encounter may be new to the game,  should have the first opportunity to
or to the area in which you hunt.      skin and/or search it. It is really
Take a moment to introduce yourself    frustrating to be trying to obtain
and share information. You never know  orc hides and have someone come
when you'll learn something of value.  along and immediately search it,
Maybe the person you just passed had   rendering the hide unobtainable. If
that hard-to-find Hill troll hide      you have particularly good skinning
you really need. Or maybe they were    or searching ability, offer your
bleeding, and you have an herb which   services to the hunter who defeated
could save them.                       the creature. Don't just assume
                                       that everyone wants your help. When
Another common problem is the ten-     in doubt about something like this,
dency of people to come upon another   ask first!
adventurer with a single monster,      
                                    -13-                    Continued...
My last subject concerns pairings          In Memory of Fallen Friends
and groups of adventurers. It seems        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
that groups prove more successful               by Corwyn d'Evan
(and longer lived) than individuals     
in these trying times, but some         
people do still prefer to hunt alone.  The same force drove us to tempt the
I enjoy having company most of the     Fates and risk our lives each day.
time, but sometimes I want to solo.    We laughed at death and danger,
Those of you men out there who are     But now we've gone away.
lonely, and see a lone female headed   
out into the wilds, please feel free   The winds of autumn lashed
to offer your company, but don't       At the edges of our souls.
force yourself upon us. The best       The blazing fire of our life force
thing to do is to try to find a        Has dwindled down to coals.
group of friends who hunt at similar   
times, and form a regular party. Try   We wonder what has happened.
to find a balanced group, and          How did we end up here?
include a balance of abilities.        We were so very full of life
While your three best friends might    Before this recent year.
be thieves, it might be a good idea    
to develop a friendship with a mage,   We journeyed out as friends,
cleric, or healer, since there are     We formed a special bond.
times when you really need one.        We fought through darkened forests
Depend on each other, and support      To the edge of the trout pond.
each other, rather than treating       
life as a race to power. Help each     For many of us that were,
other along, and you'll all benefit    Twas more than just a game.
in the long run.                       We were alive and we loved.
                                       We gave history to our names.
In summary, here are my guidelines     
to being a socially responsible        But the seasons do not wait...
adventurer:                            It seems we were left behind.
                                       And now we must remain content
- Say Hello when you see someone,      With the memories in our mind.
  it doesn't take that long.           
                                       But before I fade away from view
- Try to help fellow adventurers,      I'll make a final toast
  and they'll probably do the same.    To those who made it real,
                                       And to those I love the most.
- Be considerate of others; don't      
  steal kills, treasure, or hides.     To the lady of my love,
                                       Who brought my heart to life...
- Form friendships, you never know     To the friends who walked the paths
  when you might need help yourself.   Thru good times and thru strife.
- Remember, we're all in this          When the cold snows of winter
  together, and it isn't a race.       Lie heavy upon my Isle,
                                       Come sit beside the fire
Thanks for listening. I hope we can    And remember for a while.
meet sometime. I'm a pretty friendly   
girl, and I like to make new              ============\\==============
friends. Say hello if you see me!      
   //                                                                 \
  || Tip: The formula for computing the experience you will earn from  |
  || a kill is: 100 + (25 * Monster's Level - Your Current Level).     |
 _____    _____           Layman's Guide to Shopping
 +|~ ~\  /~ ~|+           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  |~|\~\/~/|~|               by Etienne de Noire
  |~| \~~/ |~|
  |~|  ~~  |~|
 _|~|      |~|_erchants in our town have begun selling special items.
 ~~~~~    ~~~~~ It is important to realize that because these items are
made specially, it takes time to create them. Also, many of them are very
expensive, so think carefully before making your purchases. To help save
you time browsing, I prepared this article explaining how item costs are
calculated, and giving costs for most of the new items available. I have
not attempted to talk to the foul-tempered blackguard who runs the Lock-
smithy, because of a little misunderstanding he has concerning his daughter
and myself.
   Item costs are calculated as follows:
  Cost = Base Price + (Material Unit Cost * Number of Units needed)
     (Plus an optional additional cost to have the item dyed to a color
      which suits you. This service costs 1 silver piece per unit of
      material required. Note that not all materials may be dyed.)
    In the tables below, you will see this information presented for all
weapons, armors, general items, and clothing that are currently for sale.
In some cases, I also include production time for a standard material.
Since the merchants would not tell me how long it would take to produce
something I could not immediately afford, I couldn't include information
for all of the special materials.
   For example, let's say you wanted to purchase an Obsidian broadsword.
The cost would be calculated as:
    cost =      120 sp (base cost)
             + ( 10 units * 40 sp/unit for obsidian)
                520 silver pieces
   Let's listen in on the smith and see what an actual transaction would
sound like:
   Tyron explains, "Okay, the base cost for the production of the
broadsword is 120 silvers. The process will require 10 pounds of obsidian
at 40 per, for a total cost of 520 silvers.
   Tyron muses, "Working in obsidian, this should take about 11 hours."
   Tyron says, "This material is harder to work with. I could have it done
faster by using some of my better apprentices on it. For 80 silvers I can
cut the time it will take down to 5 hours."
   Not having enough on you to afford this you decline the rush service.
    Item: Broadsword Material: obsidian
    Cost: 520 sp
    Do you wish to order this item (Y/N)?
                      | /_________________________________
   Note that some materials make weapons and armor of superior quality
(i.e. sharper, less prone to breaking) while other materials will make
items of poorer quality. Iron is the standard material used in standard
arms and armor. In general, if the unit cost of a material is higher than
that of iron, then there is likely some advantage to using it (the
advantage may be purely ornamental, so let the buyer beware).
   Following are list of items and their associated units and base costs,
and materials and their associated unit costs. Save your silvers, and think
fondly of the day when you can afford that Shaalk Broadsword or an Organdy
Gown for that special woman in your life.
     Weapon       Units Req'd     Base Cost     Time For Wood      ST/BF
     ==========   ===========     =========     =============     ========
     Cudgel            4              5 sp        30 minutes       10/140
     Dagger            2              3 sp         1 hour          18/195
     Sword             8             70 sp         2 hours         75/185
     Scimitar          8            110 sp         3 hours         60/150
     Rapier            8            220 sp         4 hours         30/100
     Broadsword       10            120 sp         5 hours         75/160
     Greatsword       14            200 sp         7 hours         75/200
     Axe               8             60 sp         1 hour          70/160
     Mace              9             70 sp         1 hour          65/250
     Hammer            9            150 sp         1 hour          60/155
     Staff             5             10 sp        30 minutes       20/140
     Halbard           8             40 sp         2 hours         25/150
     Armor                Units Req'd     Base Cost      ST/BF
     ==========           ===========     =========     =========
     Shield                   10             10 sp       45/155
     Helm                      5             10 sp    10-55/80-135
     Light Armor AT10         80            100 sp       18/90
     Partial Armor AT15       80            400 sp       40/95
     Full Armor AT20         150           2000 sp       55/160
        Material      Unit Cost       Available For      Bonus Mod.
        ========      =========      ===============     ==========
        Wood              5 sp       Weapons & Armor
        Windak            5 sp       Weapons Only
        Hide             10 sp       Armor Only
        Leather          15 sp       Armor Only
        Iron             20 sp       Weapons & Armor      +0
        Steel            20 sp       Weapons Only         +0
        Metal            20 sp       Weapons Only         +0
        Bronze           15 sp       Weapons & Armor
        Obsidian         40 sp       Weapons Only
        Alexandrite     200 sp       Weapons Only
        Ruby           1000 sp       Weapons Only
        Mithril        1000 sp       Weapons & Armor      +5
        Eog            2000 sp       Weapons & Armor     +10
        White Eog      2100 sp       Weapons Only        +10 Holy
        Ithloss        3000 sp       Weapons & Armor     +12 Enchanted
        Laen           3300 sp       Weapons & Armor     +15 Enchanted
        Shaalk         6500 sp       Weapons Only        +20 Enchanted
   General Items:
          Item         Units Req'd     Base Cost     Time For Leather
        ==========   ===========     =========     ================
        Backpack         12             60 sp           3 hours
        Pouch             2             10 sp          50 minutes
        Small Sack        4             20 sp          30 minutes
        Large Sack        6             20 sp          35 minutes
        Sheath            8             25 sp           2 hours
        Item         Units Req'd     Base Cost     Time For Leather
        ==========   ===========     =========     ================
        Boots             4             10 sp           1 hour
        Moccasins         3              5 sp          45 minutes
        Sandals           2              5 sp          45 minutes
        Slash             1              4 sp          10 minutes
        Tunic             8             10 sp          45 minutes
        Jerkin           10             10 sp          45 minutes
        Doublet          12             10 sp           1 hour
        Blouse            9             10 sp          50 minutes
        Robe             18             50 sp           2 hours
        Cassock          17             50 sp           2 hours
        Cloak             9             40 sp           1 hour
        Cape              9             40 sp           1 hour
        Frock            12             60 sp           3 hours
        Gown             25           2000 sp           ? hours
               Material      Unit Cost       Available For
               ========      =========      ================
               Leather          8 sp        Items & Clothing
               Fur Hide         9 sp        Items & Clothing
               Doeskin          9 sp        Clothing Only
               Velvet          20 sp        Items & Clothing
               Satin           20 sp        Items & Clothing
              *Lace            20 sp        Clothing Only
               Silk            30 sp        Items & Clothing
               Cloth           10 sp        Items & Clothing
               OilCloth        12 sp        Items Only
              *Wool            20 sp        Clothing Only
               Cotton          10 sp        Items & Clothing
              *Organdy         30 sp        Clothing Only
              *Mail Mesh       25 sp        Items & Clothing
              *Brocade         40 sp        Items & Clothing
   Materials marked with * require more skill to work with and take longer
to make. Rush service is available at a cost of 2 times the unit cost,
which reduces the time needed to produce an item of that material.
   Available colors:  1. white     8. cyan      15. lavender
                      2. grey      9. green     16. metalic
                      3. black    10. yellow    17. golden
                      4. dark     11. brown     18. silvery
                      5. red      12. tan       19. chrome
                      6. blue     13. orange    20. brass
                      7. azure    14. purple    21. camouflage
                                                22. ocher
 ===========            The Essentials of Learning
 ||~~|~|~~||            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 ~~  |~|  ~~
     |~|                    by Lythe L'Green
     |~| he first five levels of your character's existence will mold your
    ~~~~~ future in Kelfour's Landing. For that reason, it is important to
allocate your development points in the proper skills wisely so as to insure
survival and usefulness later on. This article deals mainly with what
development should be done at lower levels. After that, its up to you! By
following the guidelines here, you should get off to a strong start.
                        Initial Creation: Attributes
   Before discussing which skills to learn as an adolescent, an explanation
of what type of numbers you want in the various attributes is in order. All
players should try to have high quickness (abbreviated QU) and strength (ST)
attributes to help you survive, especially at low level. Your quickness bonus
is applied directly to your defensive bonus, and the strength bonus to your
offensive bonus. Non-spell and semi-spell users especially should have high
strength since they will rely on weapon skills when in combat. Nothing below
97 is appropriate. Other characters should have a minimum in the high 80s.
   Spell users should NOT take the automatic 90s given them in both prime
requisites. Mages must have at least a 97 in empathy (EM) to get a reason-a
able number of spell points. Clerics and Healers need high intuition (IN)
for the same. Sorcerers have a more difficult time with this because they
need both high intuition and empathy; the average of the two should be no
less than 97. Empathy and intuition are also important to bards and rangers,
although to a lesser degree since they will be using weapons as well. The
intuition bonus is also applied to other skills: perception, picking locks,
disarming traps and channeling. Anyone who plans on learning these skills
well should have a high score in this attribute. Presence (PR) is not
currently useful for anything, so little can be said about it.
   Constitution (CO) is also an important attribute, although it will hardly
make or break your character. It is used to determine your maximum possible
concussion points and your number of life levels. Life levels may be drained
by certain forces of the Unlife, and if they drop to 0, your character is
rendered soul-less and forever dead. Constitution is also a development
statistic, meaning that if you have a high score in it, you will get more
precious development points to spend on skills.
   Agility (AG) is an important attribute for mages. Its bonus is directly
applied to your offensive bonus for elemental attack spells (shock bolt,
water bolt, cold ball, etc.). In the future, agility will be used with
missle weapons. It is now used to provide bonuses for skinning, climbing,
swimming and riding. Like constitution, it is a development statistic.
   Eloquence (EQ) controls how much field experience your character can
have in his mind at once, and reasoning (RE) controls how quickly field
experience is translated into real experience. Ultra-high attributes aren't
needed here, although they are useful. Self discipline (SD) isn't currently
useful for anything except giving you a bonus against how effective fear
spells are against you, making it one of the least useful attributes at this
time. It should also be noted that all three of these attributes are the last
three development statistics, so having high scores in them will help you
gain development points to spend on skills.
                     Spending Your Development Points
   That aside, you are ready to spend development points. During character
creation, you do this thrice: Once for your adolescence, reflecting the
type of upbringing you had, and once for your apprenticeship, which reflects
the formal training you had in your profession. The last time, you choose
the skills that you will receive upon gaining your next level. Every time
you make a level, you'll once again choose the skills which you want to
obtain upon making the next. It is this process over the first five levels
of your character's development that is the core of our discussion.
  / \                                                                    \
  |@/      Development Point Costs For Skills By Profession              /
  |Skill               | Figh|Thief| Mage| Cler| Heal| Sorc| Rang| Bard|
  |ARMOR SKILLS        |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Soft Leather        | 1/* | 1/* |  9  | 1/* | 2/* |  9  | 1/* | 2/* |
  |Rigid Leather       | 1/* | 2/* |  9  | 2/* | 3/* |  9  | 2/* | 2/* |
  |Chain               | 2/* | 3/* | 10  | 10  | 10  |  10 | 3/* | 3/* |
  |Plate               | 2/* | 4/* | 11  | 11  | 11  |  11 | 4/* | 4/* |
  |WEAPON SKILLS       |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Single-handed edged | 1/5 | 2/7 |  9  |  6  |  9  |  9  | 3/7 | 3/9 |
  |One-handed crushing | 2/5 | 3/8 | 20  |  7  | 20  | 20  |  4  |  6  |
  |Two-handed          | 2/7 |  4  | 20  |  9  | 20  | 20  |  6  |  7  |
  |Bows                | 2/7 |  4  | 20  |  9  | 20  | 20  |  6  |  7  |
  |Thrown              | 2/7 |  4  | 20  |  9  | 20  | 20  |  6  |  7  |
  |Pole Arms           |  5  |  6  | 20  | 20  | 20  | 20  |  9  | 15  |
  |GENERAL SKILLS      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Climbing            | 3/7 | 2/5 |  6  |  5  |  6  |  7  | 3/9 | 3/9 |
  |Swimming            | 2/6 | 1/3 |  3  |  3  |  3  |  3  | 2/6 | 2/6 |
  |Riding              | 2/6 | 2/6 |  3  |  3  |  3  |  3  | 2/6 | 2/6 |
  |Disarm Traps        | 3/8 | 1/3 |  7  |  7  |  8  |  7  |  4  |  4  |
  |Pick Locks          | 3/9 | 1/3 |  8  |  8  |  8  |  7  |  4  |  4  |
  |Stalk & Hide        | 2/5 | 1/3 |  5  |  5  |  6  |  6  | 1/5 | 2/7 |
  |Perception          | 2/5 | 1/3 |  3  |  3  |  3  |  3  | 2/7 | 2/7 |
  |MAGICAL SKILLS      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Spell lists         |  20 |  10 | 1/* | 1/* | 1/* | 1/* | 4/* | 4/* |
  |Runes               |  7  |  6  | 1/4 | 2/5 | 2/6 | 2/5 |  5  |  5  |
  |Staves & Wands      |  9  |  7  | 1/4 | 2/5 | 3/7 | 2/5 |  6  |  6  |
  |Channeling          |  25 |  20 |  7  | 1/4 | 2/5 | 2/5 |  3  |  13 |
  |Directed Spells     |  20 |  20 | 2/5 |  3  |  3  | 2/5 |  13 |  10 |
  |OTHER SKILLS        |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Ambush              | 3/8 | 1/3 |  9  |  9  |  9  |  9  |  3  |  6  |
  |Body Development    | 1/3 | 3/7 |  8  |  6  | 1/3 |  8  | 2/7 | 3/8 |
  |Trading             | 3/6 | 2/4 | 3/5 | 2/5 | 2/6 | 3/6 | 3/5 | 2/4 |
  |First Aid           | 2/6 | 2/6 | 2/6 | 1/5 | 1/2 | 3/6 | 2/4 | 2/6 |
  |Brawling            | 2/6 | 2/7 |  18 |  7  |  18 |  18 |  5  |  5  |
  |Pick Pockets        | 3/6 | 1/2 |  3  |  3  |  3  |  3  | 2/5 | 2/4 |
  |   _________________________________________________________________|__
   The foregoing chart shows all the skills available and the cost of
development. For some professions, a skill may be developed twice. In this
case, the cost for developing it a second time is the second number. Spell
lists are somewhat different, in that they can be increased as many times
as you wish for most professions. This is denoted by a "*" in place of a
second number. Look at these numbers closely. You will not be able to
develop everything you want, and you'll have to make some hard decisions.
                    Armor Skills                         |    |   |    |
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~                         |    |   |    |
   During creation of your character and its first       |____|   |____|
five levels, don't be concerned with armor skills.       |             |
No skill is needed for heavy hide armor, which is the    |____     ____|
best initial protection. If you wear armor you are       |    |   |    |
more vulnerable to attack, although the criticals are    |    |   |    |
less severe. Experimentation with armor should be left    \   |   |   /
to higher level characters. However, putting a few deve-   \  |   |  /
lopment points towards armor once in a while could be       \ |   | /
thought of as an investment for these higher levels. In any  `-----' 
case, worry about armor last. Almost everything else is more important.
                              Weapon skills
   All professions should develop weapon skills. Not only do they allow you
to hack on monsters, they allow you to enhance your ability to parry blows
from your enemies through a higher defense bonus. The most important advice
is to stick with any weapons you choose to learn. It will be far better to
specialize in one weapon than to achieve mediocre bonuses in two.
            Each type of weapon has its advantages. Single-handed edged
    ()   weapons include daggers, broadswords, rapiers and the like. They
    []   do moderate damage and all do slash criticals. Depending on the
    []     type of weapon, they also do either crush or puncture criticals.
   _[]_    Single-handed crushing weapons all do slightly less concussion
  /_  _\  damage than single-handed edged weapons, but the main difference
   .)(.  is that they all do crush criticals and either impact or puncture
   | \|  criticals. Two-handed weapons do large amounts of concussion
   | \|  damage and all do different varieties of criticals. Two-handed
   | \|  swords do crush and slash criticals, flails do crush and puncture,
   | \|  and war mattocks do crush and impact, to name a few. The biggest
   | \|  disadvantage of two-handed weapons is that you can't use a shield
   | \|  at the same time. Bows and thrown weapons are not currently imple-
   | \|  mented. Pole arms are heavy duty, powerful weapons. Learning pole
   | \|  arms also increases your skill at the non-lethal jousting game just
   | \|  just outside town. If mounted combat is ever implemented in the
   | \|  game, the lance (considered a pole arm) should be the most deadly
   | \|  weapon available. Also, pole arms will give you a distance advan-
   | \|  tage over your enemies once the engagement system is finished.
   | \|  Finally, the lethality of the different types of physical attack
   | \|  criticals should be ranked to aid in your decisions. Punctures are
   | \|  generally the least deadly, crush criticals next, slash criticals
   | \|  more deadly than those, and impact criticals the most deadly by
    \/   far.
   Fighters naturally have the best options when it comes to choosing
weapon skills. They can learn to use all weapons at a low cost to develop-
ment points, and may learn all of them except pole arms twice per level.
Because of this, fighters may want to learn two types of weapons -- just
be sure to learn as many ranks as you can! Note that fighters are the only
profession that may learn two-handed weapons twice per level. This is an
opportunity that should not be ignored, since these weapons are amongst
the most deadly.
   Thieves can learn either single-handed edged or crushing weapons twice
per level at reasonably low cost. Thieves should pick one of these to
specialize in, and stick with it. If there are lots of development points
left over (there probably won't be), then learning a second one as well
can be considered.
   Mages, healers and sorcerers should learn as many single-handed edged
skills as they can every level. Other weapon skills are too expensive.
   Rangers and bards can and should learn two single-handed edged weapon
skill every level. Rangers and bards can learn other weapons at reasonable
cost, and may wish to do so. However, by the time they are higher level
the bonus for single-handed edged weapons will overshadow any skill they
have in other weapons.
   Clerics may learn any weapon skill once per level at a reasonable cost
to development points (with the exception of pole arms, for 20). The
choice of which weapon to learn is a decision the prospective cleric needs
to make. Single-handed edged or crushing is probably the best choices. See
the explanation on fighters above to aid in your choice.
                              General Skills
   Climbing skill will help your character climb up steep places, gates,
etc. It is a good idea two learn at least a couple of these skills some
time after you make 3rd level. Fighters and thieves can learn this skill
twice per level at reasonable cost, so they may wish to start earlier and
learn more of it. There are certain places in the game that are more easily
navigable if you have this several ranks in this skill as failing to climb
something correctly can damage your character.
   Swimming isn't currently useful. It is inexpensive, and some people may
wish to learn it a few times just in case something that requires it is
thrown in. Under Role Master rules, just one swimming skill is supposed to
be enough to keep your head above water and swim around while more than
that is supposed to help in abnormal conditions (swimming against rapids,
swimming fast, swimming while carrying equipment, and so forth).
   The riding skill is only semi-useful in GemStone at this time. It is
used to determine your success when playing the non-lethal jousting game.
If mounted combat is ever implemented, riding skill will be important for
determining your offensive bonus mounted. Under Role Master rules, one
riding skill level is needed to allow you to ride a horse at normal speed
without falling off constantly.
   Picking locks is an important skill for thieves. They should learn it
twice per level every level as the cost is fairly low. Fighters may also
learn to pick locks twice per level, although at substantially higher cost.
Other professions may learn to pick locks as well, although at a higher
cost and only once per level. Rangers and bards may consider it as extra
knowledge, although they won't be able to match the fighters and thieves.
   Although traps exist in the game, disarm traps skill is not implemented
at this time. Thieves should probably learn at least one rank of it per
level anyhow, since the price is so low.
   Stalk & Hide skill is important if you want to hide in the presence of
those with high perception skills or use the ambush skill (see below).
   Perception is a good skill for all professions. It allows you to
spot things such as secret entrances, and protects you from pickpockets.
Thieves can learn it at a low cost, and should learn it twice per level.
Fighters, rangers and bards may wish to do the same. Mages, clerics,
healers and sorcerers can only learn it once per level, but probably
should do so anyway.
                                                                 o    .
                              Magic Skills                        O _
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~                         |-|
   For pure and hybrid spell users, the spell lists are the        | |
core of their training: Always research spells. Semi-spell         | |
users should also be trying to take advantage of the spells       / o \
they can learn, although less ambitiously since this research    /_o___\
costs more and will deprive other important skills. Fighters    |`-----'|
and thieves shouldn't worry about any magic skills, because the |       |
cost is much too high for them to learn anything effectively.    \_____/
   You aren't guaranteed to learn a spell in your spell list unless you
learn 20 ranks in spell lists. Otherwise, the number of ranks is treated
as a bonus of (5 X (Spell List research points)) which is applied to a
random roll on a hundred sided die. If the roll with bonus exceeds 100,
you learn a spell. If it doesn't, these spell points carry over to your
next attempt. By the time certain spell users see what they need to learn
to be a playable character, they'll notice that learning 20 ranks in spell
lists every time simply isn't possible. Risk taking is part of the game.
When the multi-spell gain system is implemented (rules under which you can
learn more than one spell per level if you are lucky), the times you miss
out on learning a spell will be offset by the times you learn more than one.
   This brings us to the big question: Which spell list should be learned?
During initial development, mages should learn at least the first spell from
Closed Essence, Sleep I. This spell will enable the mage to cause monsters
of level 1-4 to fall asleep, making them far more vulnerable to attack. If
possible, the first spell in the Mage list, Shock Bolt, should also be
learned. Shock Bolt is a useful offensive spell which simply knowing will
also provide a +20 bonus when using wands which cast this spell. The next
spell a mage should learn is Magic Edge, the second spell on the Mage list.
This will allow you to put a temporary enchantment upon weapons, granting
them a +15 bonus, and is useful for parrying enemy attacks as well. Beyond
this, the mage should decide on which list to pursue further based on what
s/he wants to eventually cast. Open Essence should not be considered at
this time as it isn't implemented.
   Here are some examples of what spells a mage might know as they advance
to 5th level. We'll assume they were unlucky on their spell gain roll only
once. "Specialization" is begun after the recommendations above.
   //                                                                \
  ||   Mage preferred     Closed Essence preferred      Mix+Match     |
  ||  ================    ========================     ===========    |
  ||   1: Sleep I             Sleep I                    Sleep I      |
  ||      Shock Bolt          Shock Bolt                 Shock Bolt   |
  ||   2: Magic Edge          Magic Edge                 Magic Edge   |
  ||   3: <missed>            <missed>                   <missed>     |
  ||   4: Water Bolt          Spell Store                Spell Store  |
  ||   5: Stun Cloud          Blur                       Water Bolt   |
   Healers have an easier decision about their spells. They should really
only be concerned with the healer base spell list if they want to be useful
as healers. The first ten spells of this list are the most important. After
that, most spells are involved with personal scar removal, so then you might
want to switch to Open Channeling or Closed Channeling. Of course, you won't
need to worry about this in the lower levels.
   Clerics should probably learn the Cleric base list over anything else.
If the opportunity arises to get a second spell while still rolling up a
character, the first spell of Closed Channeling (Calm) is recommended. The
Cleric base list will aid the advancing cleric in their eternal battle with
the undead, giving them increasing abilities to hold and turn the Unlife,
bless weapons, etc. Higher level spells in the Cleric list (far beyond the
first five levels dealt with here) will allow you to ressurrect fallen
companions, perhaps one of the most powerful abilities in GemStone.
   At this time, sorcerers have a difficult time choosing spells as this
isn't yet a fully implemented profession. As a result, the only implemented
spell list they have access to is Open Channeling. However, it is probably
better to work on the Sorcerer list. The first three spells in the Sorcerer
list are implemented already, and the rest should be finished within a few
   Semi-spell users also have a more complicated choice. Rangers have access
to two spell lists, Open Channeling and the Ranger base list. Since no spells
on the Ranger list work correctly yet, Open Channeling is the better choice.
As for bards, an even worse situation is presented: Neither the Bard base
list nor Open Essence are completed. However, some of the lower level spells
of both lists do work. It should be noted that the Open Essence list will be
implemented long before the Bard list, however.
   Wands are powerful items that will help a lot for those who can use them.
Mages can learn to use them the easiest, and should do so! They should learn
two skill levels in wands per level. They should also learn two skill levels
of directed spells per level, because this will control the offensive bonus
with elemental attack spells (and the wands which cast them). Sorcerers,
clerics and healers can learn to use them almost as well, but to do so they
must commit early to developing directed spells skills and staff/wand skills
which will only benefit them at higher levels. Remember that this is an
investment! Mages won't be able to use wands effectively for the first couple
of levels, and it takes somewhat longer for other spell users.  However, once
wands are usable, they can become a potent weapon.
   Runes aren't implemented at this time. When they are, they'll probably
be useful. For now, it is probably worth spending the small amount of
development points for developing one rank of runes per level (only one
development point for mages, two for other spell users).
   Channeling is a good skill for clerics, healers, sorcerers and rangers
to learn since the cost is inexpensive. This skill will allow these
professions to transfer power points between each other. There are a lot of
rangers walking around with power points that don't need to be used very
much, so learning channeling can help "spread the power around." The cost
of learning channeling for mages is too high to really be worthwhile to them.
                              Other Skills
   Body Development should be developed as many times as possible every
level. It's that simple. Concussion points will be very important to you.
They are especially important to healers, who are limited by the amount of
damage they can heal by the amount of concussion points they have. Non-
healers may want to cut down on body development skills to save their
development points once they have a minimum of 100, but this won't happen
during the low levels in most cases.
   Ambush is a useful skill to have if you can afford it. Note that you'll
need a good amount of stalk & hide to use it effectively. When you have it,
you can leap out of hiding to attack a monster; the ambush skill level is
applied directly to any critical hit rolls, possible doing far more deadly
attacks. Thieves can learn this skill twice per level for a total of only
four development points, making it worthwhile for them.
   Trading will help you bargain with the town merchants a little better.
It is a good idea to obtain at least a couple of skill ranks in it, so as
to bargain without penalty.
   First aid as a skill in itself isn't implemented yet. However, half of
the first aid skill is applied to you chance of skinning monsters correctly.
If this interests you, you should learn several skills of first aid. Healers
can learn it twice per level for a mere three development points.
   Brawling is a good skill for fighters or thieves to learn, since they
can do so at low cost. If you ever are caught by a monster without a weapon,
it'll increase your defense bonus while parried, and will allow you to
attack with your bare hands more effectively. Rangers, bards and even clerics
can learn this skill once per level at reasonable cost, if they are really
interested in it. The cost is far too high for mages, sorcerers, or healers
to consider.
   Picking pockets will allow you to steal from NPCs such as the merchant
and trader, and even player characters. The latter is frowned upon by all
respectable citizens, and pickpockets are generally dealt with brutally.
               Most Important Skills on a Professional Basis
   Fighters should learn two ranks in at least one weapon and two ranks of
body development. They should also try to work on certain secondary skills
such as picking locks, perception, etc.
   Thieves should learn two ranks in either single-handed edged or crushing
weapons, two ranks of body development, two ranks of picking locks and two
ranks of perception every level. Plenty should be left for developing other
skill areas as well.
   Mages must learn a rank in single-handed edged weapons and body develop-
ment every level. Spell lists should be invested in with what you can
afford. Directed spells and wands should also be learned at a rate of two
ranks per level.
   Clerics must learn a rank in a weapon and body development every level.
The cleric list is the best choice for spell development. Directed spells
and wands might be developed as an investment for higher levels.
   Healers should learn a rank in single-handed edged weapons and two ranks
in body development every level. The healer spell list is the obvious
choice for a healer. Directed spells and wands might be developed as an
investment for higher levels.
   Sorcerers must learn a rank in single-handed edged weapons and body
development every level. Spell lists should be invested in with what you
can afford. At least one rank in both directed spells and wands should
also be learned every time. A leading sorcerer informs us that to play
this profession you have to "be stubborn or have a lot of patience." Since
this class is crippled due to all the unimplemented features it requires
to be useful, it is not recommended at this time except for diehards!
   Rangers should learn two ranks of single-handed edged weapons and body
development every level. A few points should be put towards spell lists
occassionally. Perception, channeling, climbing, picking locks and stalk &
hide are all good choices for secondary skills to develop.
   Development for Bards is somewhat similar to Rangers, except for the
slight variance in the cost of learning certain skills and the available
spell lists.
   Of special importance is the concept "no less than 97" during creation
of your character.  97 should really be considered a minimum! If a higher
score is possible, then you should use it. Remember that you can reroll
your character as many times as necessary to obtain the scores you need.
              //                                           \
             ||            Kudos to Krang Krashen,          |
             ||    Airioch Ramthanodox and Erebor Bordeaux  |
             ||        For their input to this article.     |
 /~/~~\~\.                    The Nose Knows
|~|    ~~~                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 \~\____                 by Miss Louvella Parsnips
|~|    |~| 
 \~\__/~/ trange comings and goings      ladies, occasionally making importune
  ~~~~~~ this month in Kulthea. Strange  advances! Ignoring slaps, kicks and
indeed. And yours truly, Miss Louvella   numerous verbal rebukes, he seems to
Parsnips, has faithfully kept eyes open  have attached himself to another
and ears to the wall. It seems the town  newcomer. This second being a raven-
is buzzing with the exploits of one      tressed cleric who has captivated the
common man thief who chose to misap-     hearts of many sturdy adventurers. We
propriate a stunning mithril dagger,     have to wonder if this fair maid has
after which, adding insult to injury,    practiced an enchantment on our
he helped himself to the pocket silver   gallant peacocks as she has been seen
of several unsuspecting adventurers.     with as many as five at once.
All in the temple, no less.              
                                         Another tale we sniffed is that of
Finally, in what we can only call a      the departure of one of our best-
foolish move, our young thief proceeded  known adventurers. For 17 glorious
to threaten the lives of more seasoned   terms, this slim thief picked locks
adventurers while stealing THEIR         and performed thiefly duties, earning
silver. Tsk tsk. It grieves us to        herself fame, riches, and the admir-
report that he was later found stunned   ation of.. well, of some residents.
and bleeding in a deserted alley. His    She no longer stalks the Shadow Lands
attacker goes unknown and unpunished,    but her namesake carries the family
but we have a sneaking suspicion the     name. We wonder at the relationship
deed was accomplished by a certain       between the two. They could be mother
hot-tempered, red-headed female ranger   and daughter but, if so, who pray
who, incidently, was reported to have    tell, is the father?
been seen rolling around behind the      
eog door in Cheldar's Bathouse with      Speaking of thieves, two of Kulthea's
a tall, muscular fellow whose name       finest were spied smooching during a
eludes us at the moment. You may be      trip to Gorcland. Might there be a
assured, however, that nothing eludes    winter wedding in the wind?
us for long and we will pass on his      
identity, eager reader, as soon as it    The ranger Erebor Bordeaux has come
becomes available.                       to the rescue of many of Kelfour's
                                         adventurers. Notwithstanding that he
We recently enjoyed the titillating      saved many of their souls from the
experience of watching an outbreak       divine tortures of Eissa's touch,
of thinly disguised cattiness between    it is rumored that prayers are being
a certain elderly dwarven healer         sent to favor all citizens with a
and her nemesis, a sleek, elven lady     banquet in his honor.
mage. It seems this delightful duo has   
been seen back-stabbing each other for   Such delicious goings on in Kulthea.
some time now over the attentions of     And, gentle reader, if you happen
a certain fair elf ranger. We can hope   upon the unlikely story of which we
for the excitement of all-out battle.    are unaware, you will rush directly
Should that happen, you'll hear about    to us and spill the proverbial beans.
it here, and in the meantime, wagers     (Yum! We'll gladly share them at
on the outcome may be placed at any      the banquet!) And the next time you
any gaming hall in town.                 discover yourself in a compromising
                                         situation, take a good look around.
Newcomers are plentiful in our outpost.  
Two in particular have our attention:    Louvella sees all, hears all... and
A blonde, half-elf fighter has been      tells all! Tra-la for now!
swaggering about accosting unescorted    

See Also: