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A material is the substance or substances out of which a thing is or can be made. In GemStone IV, there are numerous materials that weapons, armor, shields, and other useful objects can be crafted of that may or may not have real life counterparts.

Functional Materials

Functional materials are those which can serve as the base material for weapons and armor.

The standard material for all weapons (except ranged weapons and staves) and metal armor is steel. The standard material for ranged weapons and staves is wood. The primary material for shields may be either metal or wood. However, if the primary material for a shield is wood, it is assumed the shield is banded with steel. If the primary material for a shield is metal, then it is assumed the shield is ALSO made of wood.

Clothing and robe armors (ASG 1-2) are made of cloth, and leather armors (ASG 5-12) are made of leather. Cloth and leather are considered functional materials, but there are no mechanical distinctions between different types of cloth and leather. Armors from the "hard" leather group (ASG 9-12) may sometimes have a metal as a base material, where it is assumed the armor is mainly made of leather and the metal is used for reinforcements.

The base material of an item can be determined by INSPECT.


Each functional material has the following mechanical properties:

  • Attack Strength bonus when used in weapons
  • Defensive Strength bonus when used in armor or shields
  • Material weight modifier which determines how heavy an item made out of the material is
  • Modifier to enchantment/ensorcell difficulty
  • Strength/Durability (not yet implemented, part of the breakage system)



See list of woods for more information on functional woods.

Most mundane types of wood simply INSPECT as "wood" and have no additional properties.


Some materials used for lockpicks are not technically considered functional materials, but have known properties specifically for locksmithing.

Materials in this category include alum, laje, and vaalin.


Level Restrictions

Characters cannot hold items made of a specific material until they have reached a required training level. For example, an adventurer must be at least level 10 to wield a +20 vultite weapon.

An inexperienced adventurer attempting to pickup such an item will quickly drop it:

>get vultite longsword
As you reach for it, you feel a pulse, like an intensity of essence surrounding the vultite longsword.  It might be difficult to hold onto it for very long.

The following formula, which is based on the item’s inherent bonus, can be used to calculate the level required to wield it:

Character's Required LevelItem's Enchantment Bonus / 2

The result must always be rounded up. With vultite, the +20 bonus clearly shows a level 10 requirement. With glaes, (15 / 2 = 7.5), the +15 bonus yields 7.5 which rounds up to a level 8 requirement.

Since there are so many materials in Elanthia, the bonus of combat gear is most commonly referred to in multiples of 5. Thus a +5 mithril item is referred to as 1x, a +15 glaes item as 3x, and a +30 item as 6x. Simply take the bonus and divide by 5 (vultite: +20 / 5 = 4x).

Also, objects can have a different bonus than might seem evident. For example, a wizard can increase an item's bonus by enchanting it. The highest possible enchantment bonus is +50, which can only be used by characters of level 25 and above.

Some rarer materials such as kroderine may have additional special restrictions. See the individual articles for more details.

Base Enchantment Bonuses

Enchant Level Bonus Materials
0x <0 alexandrite, bronze, modwir, obsidian, wood
+0 black alloy, bone, iron, ironwood, leather, steel
1x +2 invar, yew
+5 drakar, gornar, mithril, rhimar, rowan, zorchar
2x +6 carmiln
+7 adamantine
+8 deringo, faenor
+10 black ora, kakore, kelyn, ora, razern, white ora, zelnorn
3x +12 hoarbeam, imflass, urglaes
+15 coraesine, glaes, mesille, mithglin, mossbark, surita
4x +17 ipantor, witchwood
+18 eahnor, vaalorn, villswood
+20 eonake, faewood, orase, rolaren, ruic, shadarl, urnon, vultite, white alloy
5x +22 fireleaf, glowbark, kroderine
+24 wyrwood
+25 ghezyte, golvern, illthorn, krodera, lor, sephwir, veil iron, xazkruvrixis
6x +30 high steel, low steel

Decorative Materials

Decorative materials have no distinct functional properties, either because they are not suitable as weapons or armor, or because they fall within one of the existing broader material categories ("mundane wood" or "leather"). They may be used as jewelry or embellishments.

Many real-world materials can be used as decorative materials as long as they are suitably "in-genre". However, be aware that just because something exists on Earth does not mean it is on Elanthia. For some of the materials exclusive to the world of Elanthia, see Category:Materials and the alteration noun list.

Note: When you hand an item to a GameMaster or a merchant, they are required to check that the decorative materials on it are approved and will be forced to change its description if the materials are not. If you are not sure about the existing materials on an item but would not like the item to be changed without your permission, verify before you hand it over.

Gear Difficulty Modifiers

The following table shares the modifications each material can cause when attempting to enchant or ensorcell an item primarily made of such material. This list is subject to revision as materials are added or modified.

Material Gear Difficulty Modifier
Material Modifiers for Adamantine to Glaes
Material Name Modifier
adamantine -150
alexandrite -500
black alloy 0
bone -250
bronze -50
carmiln 10
cloth 0
copper -50
coraesine -200
deringo -20
drakar -50
drake 0
eahnor 15
eonake -60
faenor 15
faewood 0
feras 0
fireleaf 15
ghezyte -50
glaes -10
Material Modifiers for Glass to Mesille
Material Name Modifier
glass 0
glowbark -10
golvern -10
gornar -50
high steel 0
hoarbeam 5
illthorn 0
imflass -30
invar 0
ipantor -40
iron -30
ironwood 0
kakore 0
kelyn 0
krodera -999
kroderine -999
leather -10
lor -25
low steel 0
mein -10
Material Modifiers for Metal to Steel
Material Name Modifier
metal1 -500
mesille 0
mithglin 15
mithril 20
modwir 0
mossbark 0
obsidian -500
ora 0
ora, black -75
ora, white -40
orase 0
razern -20
rhimar -50
rolaren -40
rowan 20
ruby -500
ruic -60
sephwir -25
shadarl -100
steel -10
Material Modifiers for Stone to Zorchar
Material Name Modifier
stone -500
surita (lesser) -100
surita (greater) -250
urglaes -999
urnon -999
vaalorn 10
veil iron -50
villswood 0
vultite 0
white alloy 0
witchwood -75
wood -10
wyrwood -60
yew -20
zelnorn -250
zorchar -50

1 If the item inspects as "metal" (rather than a specific type of metal) something is wrong. ASSIST to get it fixed.

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Behind the Scenes: History of Materials in GemStone

Main article: ICE materials

GemStone III had at least as many different types of materials in it as exist on Earth because everything from iron and steel to oak and yew can be found there. Where it gets more interesting is in the different magical materials that exist. Originally, these materials had names taken directly from Iron Crown Enterprises' "RoleMaster" gaming products.

Until 1998, ICE had the worldwide gaming rights to the Middle-Earth world-setting created by J.R.R. Tolkien. The names that he created--mithril, eog, galvorn, and others--are therefore found throughout ICE's gaming products.

When GemStone III was written, the names of these materials were used but the properties of them were not necessarily copied over as well. For example, in "RoleMaster" the material eog has a +30 magical bonus; in GemStone III, eog was only +10.

At the end of 1995 when the ICE age came to an end, Simutronics was legally required to change all references to materials with "RoleMaster" names. Items actually in the possession of characters were allowed to retain their old material names, with the stipulation that should the item ever be handled by a GameMaster, the material would be converted to whatever the corresponding new material was called. (For example, an old "galvorn" item that a GameMaster needed to work on for some reason would be returned to the player as a "golvern" item.)