TownCrier Interview Sessions with Leafiara

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Leafiara Autumnwind
Towncrier interview logo.png
Maiden Leafiara Autumnwind
the Scion of Shaundara
Race Half-Sylvan
Profession Cleric
Affiliation(s) Guildmaster of the Cleric Guild

By Oubar, TownCrier Correspondent
19 Phoenatos 5117 // August 19, 2017 - in Icemule Trace


Introduction

Leafiara Autumnwind has gained a good amount of attention in a short time. Always willing to come lend a hand when asked, she's been a savior for many a fallen adventurer. Her bubbly personality, barely repressed energy, and expressive nature were all on full display as she recently sat down for an in-depth conversation with TownCrier Correspondent Oubar.

"And yet there were Severine and Mischung, inviting me along and making me feel like some kind of heroine." ~ Leafiara Autumwind

The In-Character Interview

You see Maiden Leafiara Autumnwind the Scion of Shaundara.
She appears to be a Half-Sylvan.
She is tall and has a slender build.  She appears to be very young.  She has sparkling green eyes and fair skin.  She has shoulder length, tousled bright red hair pulled into a loose ponytail adorned with a rosy-centered pale alabaster moonflower.  She has slightly pointed ears.  She has ebon-marbled kelyn green lacquer brushed onto her smooth oval fingernails.
She is in good shape.
She is wearing a bold red musical note-shaped locket, a white satin ribbon choker dangling a trio of emerald bells, a mazerine angora cape fastened with a diamond snowflake pin, a platinum and emerald ivy leaf, a honey beryl note symbol inset with tiny water sapphires, a veniom-bound rolaren tower shield slung over her shoulder, a white spidersilk tunic, some gleaming rolaren chain mail with bold red and pure white links, a pair of fingerless eonake-studded sylvan gloves emblazoned with leaves, a pure white silk gem pouch embroidered with a bold red musical note, some silver and gold filigree bells, a pure white silk instrument case with a bold red leaf-shaped latch, a high-slit knee-length red silk skirt adorned with a dozen white bells, and a pair of eonake-soled sylvan sandals with leaf-patterned toe straps.

You exclaim, "Good evening!"

Leafiara exclaims, "So that's where the tables are in Icemule!"

Leafiara gazes in wonder at her surroundings.

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara laughs softly, trying to hide her amusement.

Leafiara flashes a quick grin at you.

Leafiara amicably greets, "And good evening!"

You chuckle to yourself.

You rub your chin thoughtfully.

You exclaim, "Oh!"

You grab a banded thanot keg of Oiran winter ale from inside your linen haversack.

You place your thanot keg on the floor and pull out a small locking pin on the tap.

Leafiara's jaw drops.

You say, "Help yourself, if you like."

You grin.

Leafiara airily acknowledges, "Oh, I don't drink, but... thank you anyway!"

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

You adopt an agreeable expression.

You say, "In that case..."

You pick up a banded thanot keg of Oiran winter ale, carefully setting a locking pin back in the tap.

Leafiara starts chortling.

You absent-mindedly drop a banded thanot keg of Oiran winter ale into your linen haversack.

You grin.

You say, "First off, thank you very much for agreeing to meet with me tonight."

Leafiara beams happily at you!

Speaking warmly to you, Leafiara praises, "You're very welcome. It's great work you're doing, I think."

You say, "As we discussed, we're doing a series of interviews for the TownCrier, and you were one of the ones we wanted to speak with."

You bow to Leafiara.

Leafiara nods understandingly to you.

Leafiara bobs a quick curtsy to you.

Leafiara flashes a quick grin.

You say, "Hopefully I do a decent job with it."

Speaking soothingly to you, Leafiara assures, "You will, you will."

Leafiara nods firmly.

You grin.

You say, "The readers will determine that."

Leafiara chortles softly at some secret joke.

Leafiara gently concedes, "True enough."

You ask, "Now then!  I usually start off with some basic questions that are pretty common knowledge, but just for background and such, if that's alright?"

Leafiara affably exclaims, "Certainly is!"

You ask, "What is your profession, for those who might not already be aware?"

Leafiara cheerfully replies, "I'm a cleric."

Leafiara nods sagely.

You ask, "What would you say is the best thing about your profession?  If you were attempting to convince someone still on the turnip truck to lean towards your profession, what would you tell them?"

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

Leafiara warmly enthuses, "For me it's definitely raising the dead! That's the whole reason I became a cleric--I was only seven the first time I was killed, and at that age a resurrection is a life-changing experience."

Leafiara suddenly remarks, "Well, at any age that first death is really something, but especially for a little child."

Leafiara idly says, "That's me, though. For anyone just coming from the turnip truck..."

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

Leafiara stares into space, appearing to ponder multiple possibilities and potential nuances.

Leafiara amicably muses, "Actually, I'd still say the same thing. Raising the dead makes you a hero to many and a friend to even more."

You say, "Well said."

You ask, "Similarly, what would you warn that same person about, if they were intending to become part of your profession?"

You ask, "Or to put it another way, what would you say the pitfalls are for those on that path?"

Leafiara thoughtfully answers, "Other than the sorcerer guild, the cleric guild is probably the most blind to how many anti-magic creatures and entire anti-magic areas are out there, so they could be much better equipped to deal with these threats and situations when magic simply won't work."

You nod slowly.

Leafiara praises, "The empath guild, for example, was very wise to research a spell to focus their intensity, so they're much more fierce with weapons than we are."

Leafiara ponders.

Leafiara assures, "Don't get me wrong, though--clerics can still do many things! Even if the cleric guild's trainers and researchers could stand to take a broader approach, I myself have trained to battle even if I only have my own hands and feet. We can do well enough for ourselves if we put our minds and bodies to it!"

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

You agree with Leafiara.

Leafiara taps a pair of fingerless eonake-studded sylvan gloves emblazoned with leaves that she is wearing.

Leafiara nods sagely.

You chortle softly at some secret joke.

You ask, "What is your preferred method of hunting, and why?"

You say, "Though I think you just gave us a hint."

You grin from ear to ear.

Leafiara laughs softly, trying to hide her amusement.

Leafiara acknowledges, "Maybe not as much as you might think!"

You give a short little hum of surprise.

Leafiara simply says, "First I have to tell you that I do everything. I cast spells, I sling bolts, I brawl, I use symbols taught to me by the Order of Voln... I'll do what works."

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara acknowledges, "I even used to swing a waraxe once, but I let my skills with that type of weapon fall slack. I'm picking that study up again right now, though, but the reason I let it slip was because I had more fun with one of my two current favorite methods of hunting..."

Leafiara fondly states, "Unarmed combat and throwing bolts are my two favorites and it would be pretty tough for me to make a call between them."

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

You grin.

Leafiara idly says, "How to explain this..."

Leafiara begins, "My patron is Tilamaire, the spirit of music and dance, and both these kinds of combat have their similarities to a dance."

You adopt an agreeable expression.

Leafiara excitedly comments, "There's a passion that goes into them, a force, an energy--whether you're throwing fists or throwing bolts, you have to give it everything you've got and take a full offensive front to take down the dangers out there."

Leafiara nods enthusiastically!

You say, "Very well put, and for what it's worth, I agree."

Leafiara mischievously dismisses, "None of that careful, guarded movement stuff that the cautious types do, only casting other types of spells... I'm the furthest thing from cautious--give me danger and thrill any day!"

Leafiara nods understandingly to you.

Speaking approvingly to you, Leafiara exclaims, "Always glad to see a like mind!"

Leafiara beams!

You bow to Leafiara.

You ask, "I'd like to circle back a bit, if you don't mind.  You mentioned an incident when you were seven years old... is that a story you'd be willing to share?"

Leafiara amicably exclaims, "Oh, of course!"

You nod appreciatively.

Leafiara honestly acknowledges, "I can only give my perspective, though, and to be honest I don't fully understand what happened..."

Leafiara calmly says, "As a little girl I lived in the sylvan forests and I'd been out gathering herbs and flowers one day when suddenly I had a powerful sinking feeling and then... and then..."

Leafiara flatly concludes, "I was dead."

Leafiara shakes her head.

You furrow up your face and wince.

Leafiara baffledly says, "I always thought it was a poisonous plant, but the cleric who arrived to save me had to patch up a hole in my chest..."

Leafiara quickly says, "But I'm getting ahead of myself."

Leafiara continues, "When you've never seen a resurrection before, it's very scary lying there alone and helpless, thinking it's all over."

You softly say, "I can imagine."

Leafiara guesses, "It was probably only a few minutes..."

Leafiara shakes her head.

Leafiara adds, "But to me it seemed an eternity."

Leafiara relievedly says, "And when a cleric arrived to rescue me with a sweet, smiling face, I felt..."

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

Leafiara blithely concludes, "I knew from then on that was what I wanted to be."

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara flashes a quick grin.

You say, "And the rest is history."

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara nods to you.

Leafiara wistfully says, "Is it ever."

Leafiara attempts to hum a merry little tune.

You ask, "Are you married?"

You grin at Leafiara.

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "Not to change gears too quickly, there."

Leafiara's face turns slightly pale.

Leafiara flails her arms about.

Leafiara baffledly exclaims, "No! No, definitely not!"

Leafiara scratches her head.

You ask, "Why 'definitely not'?"

Leafiara warmly explains, "Oh, I love all of my dear friends, so I don't know how people do that marriage thing--committing to spending so much time with just one. I want to be out with everyone I hold dear."

You grin slowly.

You say, "Well put, yet again."

Leafiara nods to you.

You ask, "What town do you call home these days, if any?"

Leafiara brightly says, "Wehnimer's Landing is my home and always will be."

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

You adopt an agreeable expression.

You ask, "What about Landing appeals to you?"

Leafiara thoughtfully muses, "Well, I'd separate that into two things... the reason I came and the reason I stayed."

You adopt an agreeable expression.

Leafiara begins, "Originally I moved there because I felt cornered. The Elven Nations largely don't want a half-sylvan like me and neither does the Empire. I love the warmth of the people here in Icemule, and I adore visiting, but I couldn't live in the cold all year."

You carefully say, "The cold is a bit of an acquired taste."

Leafiara nods knowingly to you.

Leafiara laughs softly, trying to hide her amusement.

Leafiara ruefully says, "And I couldn't stay in the sylvan forests where I mentioned growing up. My history there is..."

Leafiara quietly concludes, "Complicated."

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara quickly continues, "So when I first traveled to the Landing, it was just relief. Seeing half-elves everywhere I looked, I thought: yes, this is a town that will welcome me!"

Leafiara wistfully muses, "By now my love of the Landing is so much deeper, though. Out on the frontier, the Landing itself is an experiment and an adventure--how does a small town like that make it, you know?"

You grin.

You say, "Some would say by the strength and grit of its inhabitants."

Leafiara nods approvingly to you.

Leafiara slyly adds, "Right, right. I mean, you'd think the danger would be the magic and wilderness all around us--and, sure, it's pretty insane out there, but... what's just as wild is what's inside those gates. Often for our benefit, often to our detriment--we're a crazy bunch."

Leafiara admiringly opines, "And that's why I stay. No better way to be."

Leafiara laughs softly, trying to hide her amusement.

You chortle softly at some secret joke.

You ask, "Are you a member of any of the Great Houses?"

Speaking casually to you, Leafiara informs, "I sure am! Twilight Hall is the one."

You ask, "What about Twilight Hall appeals to you?"

Leafiara simply says, "Well, it's the House that studies magic so that I don't have to."

Leafiara nods emphatically!

You try hard not to grin.

Leafiara slyly says, "Okay, okay, I'm sure you're wondering what I mean by that."

Leafiara snickers to herself.

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

You say, "I was trying to figure out the best way to phrase it, but yes."

Leafiara starts chortling.

Leafiara carefully explains, "I develop magical talent differently from others. I don't have the patience for traditional study, but Tilamaire blessed me with an ability to hear the--"

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

Leafiara thoughtfully says, "The harmony of magic, you might say."

Leafiara explains, "Like a musician, I learn by observation, by imitation, by coordination, by repetition... Put another way, I grasp how magic works when I can hear its inner melody, and when I'm surrounded by magic put into practice."

You give a short little hum of surprise.

You nod appreciatively.

Leafiara admits, "I'm sure I could learn even more if I hit the books, so I'm not an amazing magical talent, but--when you're lazy about studies, becoming even as good as I am now because I'm surrounded by so many magic practitioners is a true blessing."

Leafiara flashes a quick grin.

You grin impishly.

Leafiara nods slowly.

Leafiara starts chortling.

You ask, "Are you a member of any of the Elanthian Societies?  There's the Order of Voln, the Guardians of Sunfist... and there's rumors of another one that isn't spoken aloud.  Are you involved with any of them?"

Leafiara nonchalantly replies, "Oh, yes, I'm a member of the Order of Voln like I mentioned earlier."

Leafiara looks thoughtful for a moment, then shrugs.

Speaking to Leafiara, you ask, "As am I.  Can I ask what drew you to the Order?"

Leafiara furrows her brow.

Leafiara indifferently muses, "Convenience? With or without the Order I'd still personally be dedicated to battling the undead..."

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

Leafiara continues, "I see devotees out there who vocally defend the Order night and day. But in my case I just thought it's better to learn a few new abilities than to not--ya know?"

Leafiara ponders.

You adopt an agreeable expression.

You say, "I can certainly understand that."

Leafiara leans in closer toward you.

You lean forward.

Leafiara whispers aloud, "Since we're here, I guess I might as well let you know something..."

You listen carefully to Leafiara.

Leafiara carefully explains, "This might sound strange from a cleric, but mostly I didn't have all that high an opinion of the Arkati, including the ones who the Order honors, before I joined them. It was difficult to say how involved they are in our lives... but the Order does draw on their power. And we clerics do too, of course. You might say part of the reason I joined the Order and part of the reason I became a cleric--a very small part, mind you..."

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

Leafiara's face turns slightly pale.

Leafiara concludes, "Was like my way of testing the gods..."

Leafiara gazes in wonder at her surroundings.

You give a short little hum of surprise.

Leafiara suddenly says, "Now that I put it that way, suddenly it seems really arrogant."

Leafiara gazes heavenward.

Leafiara glances down.

Leafiara quietly acknowledges, "Still... it's good to be more connected like this. To feel their presence more directly."

Speaking reassuringly to Leafiara, you say, "I can assure you, we've all felt the urge, or even on occasion the need, to reinforce our faith through such tests."

Leafiara smiles at you.

Leafiara nods slowly.

Leafiara offhandedly praises, "Oh, I should mention I do believe the Guardians of Sunfist do excellent work too. If the cleric guild would hire trainers who know more about fitness, I definitely might have considered joining them."

You nod in agreement.

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "I agree, they do fantastic work.  I have the exact same lament."

Leafiara admits, "I don't think I've ever met a cleric in their ranks, though. Sometimes I feel like joining anyway just to see if I'd like it."

Leafiara starts chortling.

Leafiara muses, "Maybe one day."

Leafiara flashes a quick grin.

You ask, "How long have you been an adventurer?  From the time you, as they say, rolled off the turnip truck?"

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara simply answers, "Oh, a little more than fourteen months at this point."

You blink.

Leafiara brightly muses, "Young and determined, that's what some would say!"

Speaking to Leafiara, you compliment, "That's quite impressive."

Leafiara acknowledges, "Others might not put it so nicely."

Leafiara glances upward and whistles quietly, an innocent look on her face.

Leafiara explains, "It's like I mentioned regarding Tilamaire's blessings... I do learn quickly because I can hear that harmony around me."

You nod understandingly.

You ask, "Are you active in your profession's guild?"

Leafiara proudly replies, "Oh, not only active, but a cleric guildmaster!"

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

You beam happily at Leafiara!

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "That must have taken some serious work."

Leafiara fondly says, "Oh, it did. And even finding two other cleric guildmasters to nominate me took some work--and we made it just in time, as I was promoted by kind High Lady Rohese and my friend Mikalmas the very day before I saw my trainer for the last time."

Leafiara enthuses, "A wonderful two days those were."

You grin at Leafiara.

Speaking to Leafiara, you ask, "There are those who would say... and indeed have said... that the cleric guild, in particular, has very little to offer.  What would you say to those individuals?"

Leafiara scoffs.

Leafiara sarcastically dismisses, "Little to offer? I learned so much there about sweeping floors and cleaning alchemical equipment that I could be the best maid the lands have ever seen."

You nod slowly.

Leafiara regretfully says, "Still very upset they didn't give me an appropriate outfit for all that..."

Leafiara grins impishly.

Leafiara calmly says, "But no, to give you a more serious answer..."

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "I'm sure it was just an oversight."

Leafiara offhandedly says, "Oh, it better have been. I want at least three official cleric guild outfits one day."

Leafiara starts chortling.

Leafiara leans back in her chair, balancing herself on two legs for a few moments, then sets the chair back down on all four legs.

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara honestly admits, "Well, the only items that anyone from the cleric guild has paid me to make for them before are healing tinctures, mana potions, and lichbane talismans. Two of those could have been made in other guilds, leaving only the talismans..."

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara muses, "I guess they're useful to some, even if not most, but the critics aren't necessarily wrong."

Leafiara laughs softly, trying to hide her amusement.

Leafiara adds, "Though I do hear that alchemy is a pain without much payoff for every guild, not only fellow clerics."

You nod enthusiastically at Leafiara!

Speaking to Leafiara, you ask, "Then what was your personal driving force in navigating your way through the guild?  What drove you to do it?"

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

Leafiara thoughtfully replies, "Well, at a certain point it was probably mostly stubbornness. I wanted to make mana potions, thinking they'd be very helpful, but it's such a time-consuming process that I didn't love them nearly as much as I thought I would. And by the time I'd gotten that far, I felt like I might as well make it all the way and be a guildmaster for my efforts."

You nod understandingly.

You say, "There's certainly something to be said for stubbornness."

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara honestly muses, "There is! But I do have limits--right now I don't see myself ever going back to become a grandmaster alchemist."

Leafiara flashes a quick grin.

Speaking to Leafiara, you ask, "Have you worked toward any of the artisan skills?"

Leafiara nods enthusiastically to you!

Speaking to you, Leafiara replies, "I definitely have!"

You ask, "Which ones?"

You grin happily.

Speaking sweetly to you, Leafiara says, "Well, first I'm very proud to say I'm a master cobbler. There's nothing like being able to make the perfect shoes for your friends for a big wedding, shopping at a festival and matching the theme, or even a casual night in town."

Leafiara quickly adds, "Oh, but I don't make high-heeled shoes and I never will. That's my rule!"

Leafiara airily continues, "Anyway..."

You nod sagely.

You say, "A good rule."

Leafiara airily continues, "I'm also learning now how to make a forging hammer. I'm very talented at it already--I know almost everything there is to know other than maybe a dozen little nuances, but I'll definitely make a flawless hammer for myself. And after I do, I'll put it to use and supply my home with weapons to defend itself."

Leafiara greedily adds, "For the right price, of course."

Leafiara grins impishly.

You grin impishly.

You agree with Leafiara.

You say, "Forging is a time-consuming, but profitable, hobby."

Leafiara nods approvingly to you.

Leafiara amicably agrees, "It really is."

Leafiara ruefully says, "And a sweaty one."

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara starts chortling.

You ask, "What would you say is your most prized possession?"

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara grins slowly.

Leafiara sighs contentedly.

Leafiara fondly says, "Mmm, well, it's a bit private, but..."

Leafiara carefully opens her case and flips open the lid, taking care not to jostle the contents.

Leafiara removes a piece of ivory parchment from in her instrument case.

Leafiara sighs at a piece of ivory parchment.

Leafiara warmly says, "This little piece of paper--this letter from a dear friend."

You say, "Oh?  Can you tell us a bit more?  I understand if it's a bit too private for that, of course."

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara wistfully says, "Yes, I can't tell you exactly what it says because that's between the two of us, but it's... It's such a seemingly small thing, only eleven words in the sylvan language--and two of those are our names!--but..."

Leafiara shakes her head.

Leafiara warmly concludes, "There are no eleven words I would rather have read."

You grin slowly.

Leafiara adds, "Everyone should write for their friends. It's a good, small thing."

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

Leafiara put a piece of ivory parchment in her instrument case.

Slowly, Leafiara reaches for the lid of her case and closes it. She latches it with deft hands.

You ask, "What would you say is your most valuable item, silvers-wise?"

Leafiara ponders.

Leafiara guesses, "It might be my trusty shield here... maybe."

Leafiara acknowledges, "I don't keep track of valuable items that well."

Leafiara starts chortling.

In one brisk move, Leafiara slides a veniom-bound rolaren tower shield off her shoulder.

Leafiara carefully buffs the surface of her rolaren tower shield.

Leafiara nods approvingly.

You ask, "Can you tell us about it?"

Speaking affably to you, Leafiara says, "Sure, sure. It's been eight times enchanted and, from the looks of it, you'd think it's a tower shield..."

Leafiara shows you a veniom-bound rolaren tower shield, which she is holding in her left hand.  You see nothing unusual, except a small enchanter's glyph.

Speaking proudly to you, Leafiara explains, "But whichever blacksmiths made it must have done something special with the inside, because it's light enough to maneuver exactly like a medium-sized shield."

You blink.

You exclaim, "That's impressive!"

Leafiara cheerfully reports, "It serves me very well, and I sure need it since I'm always taking those offensive fronts I mentioned."

Leafiara snickers.

You agree with Leafiara.

You ask, "If you had to choose one other adventurer who has had the largest impact on your life, who would you choose and why?"

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

Leafiara stares into space, appearing to ponder multiple possibilities and potential nuances.

Leafiara slides a veniom-bound rolaren tower shield over her shoulder and it settles into place.

Speaking idly to herself, Leafiara muses, "Only one, hmm..."

Leafiara gazes heavenward.

Leafiara amusedly says, "It's like trying to pick between children! Or so I hear... don't have any of those."

Leafiara lets out a long, contemplative breath.

You grin impishly.

You offer, "Well, it's not the one you like the most... just... the most influential."

Leafiara nods faintly to you.

Leafiara slowly says, "Right, that's what was worrying me. I hope nobody will be hurt to hear this answer, since I love so many people so dearly, but--"

Leafiara acknowledges, "I'd have to say my friend Crux, the current mayor of the Landing."

You flash a wide grin.

You ask, "How would you say he's influenced you?"

Leafiara warmly explains, "He's quite the inspiration! Seeing how quickly he works to rescue drove me to work even harder than ever. Tasting his bread worked wonders and made me study up on how to make bread just as good."

You nod understandingly.

Speaking to you, Leafiara adds, "And, you know, somehow I almost forgot about this..."

Leafiara gazes in wonder at her surroundings.

Speaking to you, Leafiara explains, "In the Landing I've become known for 'delivering' corpses to the square, dragging them right there back to TSC with an announcement..."

Speaking embarrassedly to you, Leafiara says, "It turns out that's been Crux's thing--and only his--for years. He was just so prolific and rescued so many people that I had come to believe it was a tradition of the whole town, like 'bring out your dead.'."

Leafiara gazes heavenward.

You burst out in a sudden snort of laughter.

Your cheeks darken with a deep carmine shade.

You mutter something inaudible.

Speaking to you, Leafiara admits, "So I kinda accidentally stole his fame!"

Speaking to Leafiara, you ask, "I'm sure he understood, though?"

Speaking warmly to you, Leafiara says, "But it's alright, or at least I think it is. We're very close friends."

Leafiara nods to you.

You grin.

You nod appreciatively.

You say, "What would you say your most memorable moment from your time in Elanthia is?  Not an overall experience... just a singular moment that is burned into your memories."

Leafiara surprisedly exclaims, "Oh, that's a tough one!"

Leafiara ponders.

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

Leafiara stares into space, appearing to ponder multiple possibilities and potential nuances.

Leafiara thoughtfully says, "Mmm, this might not be the most memorable, but it does come to mind very quickly... when the Scions of Shaundara recognized my hard work in finding a cure for the black blood curse affecting my fellow half-elves and me, and named me as one of their trusted contacts."

You blink.

Leafiara thoughtfully explains, "It was like..."

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

You exclaim, "That's certainly a memorable occasion!"

Leafiara nods to you.

Leafiara explains, "You stay in the Landing and any given day or night you can pass by these incredible heroes like Sir Cryheart or Roblar, and--and they're true inspirations. And aspirations!"

Leafiara acknowledges, "And I'm not there yet. Not even close."

Leafiara blithely says, "But that acknowledgment from the Scions... was a sign I'm on my way. On the path I've wanted to be on since I was a little girl."

Leafiara sighs blithely, her countenance full of hope.

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara proudly says, "A first step."

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

You ask, "What would you say is your path?  How would you describe your motivations, and, to use your word, aspirations?"

Leafiara wistfully says, "Maybe I was in too many plays when I was young, but... I'm a romantic. I believe in heroes--and I want to be one. I played one on a small theater stage, many times, but I'd like to be on the stage of our whole world."

You grin slowly.

Leafiara sincerely says, "And like I said before, a resurrection can leave a big mark when you're seven years old--and so can the reassuring smile that comes with it."

You carefully say, "Some would say you're already there, just for the record."

Leafiara determinedly explains, "That's what I want to be too. A smiling face of salvation."

Leafiara looks thoughtfully at you.

Speaking to you, Leafiara acknowledges, "I know... I know they would..."

Leafiara firmly says, "But I can always push myself even further. And I will."

Leafiara flashes a quick grin.

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "I do my best to tend to those unfortunate to lose their lives up here.  I hear them talk."

You grin at Leafiara.

You ask, "What would you say was your most embarrassing moment from your time adventuring?"

Leafiara stares at you.

You hum a random, wandering tune.

Speaking to Leafiara, you exclaim, "I have to ask it!  It's on the paper!"

You try hard not to grin.

Leafiara seriously exclaims, "I'm glad to report that absolutely nothing embarrassing has ever happened to me since I started adventuring, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Especially if they say it happened at Jhenni's and Khylynnia's wedding reception!"

Leafiara nods firmly.

You nod slowly.

You ask, "What might these liars say, so I can watch out for it?"

Leafiara gazes heavenward.

Leafiara cautiously acknowledges, "Well, you see, they say that while dancing with Jhenni I tripped... and I was trying to balance myself and I stepped on my gown... and while steadying I stumbled and tore it clean off..."

Leafiara quickly adds, "That's what they say!"

You blink.

Leafiara quickly states, "But it's absolutely and definitely a lie!"

You slowly say, "I see..."

You nod slowly.

Leafiara quickly explains, "Because only clumsy girls who wear heels trip over themselves, and I made the shoes for that wedding and I don't make heels and so I couldn't possibly have tripped."

Leafiara nods sagely.

Leafiara nods sagely.

Leafiara nods sagely.

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

You say, "That's a very good policy, to be sure."

Leafiara brightly asks, "Right?"

Leafiara nods to you.

You try hard not to grin.

You say, "Well, I'll certainly look out for that lie and quash it when I can."

You ask, "Where do you typically hunt these days?"

Leafiara thoughtfully taps a finger against her lips.

Leafiara casually replies, "Oh, these days I typically stick to bandit patrols. I don't like making myself unavailable for rescues more than I already have--"

Leafiara offhandedly explains, "--you know, with my work in the forges that I talked about."

Leafiara nods.

You nod understandingly.

You ask, "What was the most enjoyable time of your journey as an adventurer?"

Leafiara sighs blithely, her countenance full of hope.

Leafiara wistfully says, "Oh, without a doubt it was my time hunting the shadow mares, shadow steeds, and night mares in Shadow Valley near Wehnimer's Landing."

You give a short little hum of surprise.

You ask, "What made that so enjoyable for you?"

Leafiara carefully clarifies, "Well... 'near' in a sense... it's difficult to say where exactly that valley is located..."

Leafiara starts chortling.

You agree with Leafiara.

Leafiara excitedly explains, "It was the first area where I needed a wide variety of my skills. At least five spells were very useful at culling the swarms, slowing 'em down, or simply protecting me. And the blade I used at the time--oh, my blade was just the greatest for splitting night mares' skulls."

Leafiara grins mischievously.

You grin from ear to ear.

Leafiara excitedly continues, "And several of the Order's symbols were helpful for weakening the undead or strengthening me. And my ability in combat with multiple opponents helped out in such a lively--such an unlively?--area."

Leafiara enthuses, "Even my talents at skinning were valuable!"

Leafiara cheerfully opines, "That's the kind of place I love. I really enjoy hunting anywhere that I get to think on my feet and take many different approaches instead of relying on just one or two spells. It makes me feel like my hard work paid off."

You grin at Leafiara.

You ask, "As you look back on your journey as an adventurer, is there a moment that sticks out to you as a pivotal one?  A point at which your focus or path shifted significantly?"

Leafiara ponders.

Leafiara wistfully says, "The first time I went hunting with my friend Severine, her uncle Mischung, and our mutual friend Deva."

Leafiara embarrassedly admits, "I, um--you probably would never think this today, but I was very quiet when I first became an adventurer."

You try hard not to grin.

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "I'll take your word for it."

Leafiara explains, "It was because I first started adventuring in Ta'Vaalor. The elves were so cold to me and I withdrew into a shell..."

Leafiara shudders.

You furrow up your face and wince.

Leafiara raises her fist in the general direction of Ta'Vaalor.

You say, "They can definitely be rather... off-putting."

Leafiara nods gravely.

Leafiara sighs heavily.

Leafiara continues, "So I didn't make many friends at first when I came to the Landing."

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara continues, "And I also didn't offer my help to others very freely either."

Leafiara gazes heavenward.

Leafiara thoughtfully says, "Looking back on it, I'd say that hunt with Severine, Mischung, and Deva was when things changed for me. Because they wanted me along, they asked me to help, and--and they really appreciated my being there."

Speaking to Leafiara, you say, "That sort of support is invaluable."

Leafiara agreeably assures, "It's such a small thing, but it's so important to hunt with friends and even make new friends that way."

Leafiara ponders.

Leafiara clarifies, "Oh, and I call Severine and Mischung friends because I see them that way now, but at the time they weren't."

You ask, "How did you see them at the time?"

Leafiara admits, "I hardly knew them at all. I'd seen them around the square a couple times, but we never spoke or anything."

You nod understandingly.

You rub your chin thoughtfully.

Leafiara fondly says, "And yet there they were, inviting me along and making me feel like some kind of heroine."

Leafiara beams!

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara concludes, "That made me feel like I could make it--like I could achieve my dreams and become who I wanted to be."

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

You say, "Well, for what it's worth, if they set you on the path and made a contribution to who you've become, then we're all grateful to them."

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara bemusedly adds, "Sev will probably kill me for saying this, but I'll say it anyway since I'm a cleric and can just ask Tilamaire to raise me..."

Leafiara snickers.

You try hard not to grin.

Leafiara takes a deep breath.

Leafiara warmly says, "She's told me before that I was a heroine to her, when she was a much less experienced adventurer in those days..."

Leafiara shakes her head.

Leafiara truthfully acknowledges, "But, really... it's because of that very thing she was a heroine first to me. I couldn't be who I am now if not for the way she looked up to me."

You smile at Leafiara.

You nod understandingly.

Leafiara flashes a wide grin.

Leafiara nods to you.

You say, "Two final questions, and these get asked of everyone."

You hum a random, wandering tune.

Leafiara nods understandingly to you.

Leafiara tilts her head toward you, examining you intently as the tip of one ear twitches briefly.

You say, "And by all means feel free to decline if you'd prefer."

Leafiara hesitantly says, "Okay..."

Leafiara cocks her head at you.

You ask, "Would you be willing to give the readers an approximation of the amount of coins you currently have in the bank?"

Leafiara airily acknowledges, "Oh, somewhere in the realm of 110 million silvers."

Leafiara relievedly says, "All that buildup to something scary and it was just that."

Leafiara giggles.

You grin.

You say, "Well, some are more... guarded about things like that."

You shrug at Leafiara.

You ask, "And finally, would you be willing to share the contents of a locker with us?  Just a listing of the items in it?"

Speaking amicably to you, Leafiara says, "I sure would."

You grin happily.

Leafiara thoughtfully exclaims, "Since we're in Icemule, I suppose my locker here will do!"

You adopt an agreeable expression.

On an armor stand:
      a thick spiked ora greathelm
      a golden leather breastplate

On a weapon rack:
      an emerald-imbedded faenor cresset sword
      a dull kakore runestaff
      a twisted glowbark runestaff capped with a great horned owl saewehna
      an elegant gold-hilted eonake dagger
      a vultite crescent dagger with a moonstone-set pommel
      a white ora handaxe
      a white ora falchion
      some violet-hued darts
      a white-runed twisted steel falchion
      a silver-runed eonake waraxe
      an onyx-handled vaalorn naginata

In a magical item bin:
      a layered black silk half-cape with a trio of small buttons

In a clothing wardrobe:
      some stylish star sapphire-studded silvery sandals
      a pair of textured organza open-toed slippers inset with tiny pearls
      a gut-stitched hide instrument case with a crude bone toggle
      a snow white watered silk dress
      a multi-folded dingy linen blindfold
      a multi-folded dingy linen blindfold
      a triangular turquoise silk hip-scarf edged with bronze bells
      a conical multi-colored hat topped with a springy tuft of yarn
      some goldenrod crystal-beaded sandals
      a shimmery goldenrod satin gown
      some knit candy cane-striped socks
      some knit candy cane-striped socks
      a pair of slim fern-edged sandals set with whorls of wyrm's-eye garnet chips
      a pair of discolored iron manacles
      a pair of discolored iron manacles
      some lacquered leather gauntlets with gold filigree joints
      a pair of arm-length glistening silver lace gloves
      a leather crafter's apron
      a ruby red satin bodice
      a pair of soft knee-high socks
      a snow white bandana
      a pure white ribbon
      a golden-tinged mauve rose
      a pair of leaf embroidered mittens
      some fingerless gloves emblazoned with a polished crimson harp masterfully carved with a singing woman on the pillar design
      a small campaign button etched with a fiery meteor crushing a krolvin and the words, "Hapenlok for Mayor!"
      a vertebra bone button that reads, "Team Crux: Wrought from Sin, Born to Win!"
      a white leaf-shaped pin with red lettering that reads, "Vote Leafi: She Delivers!"
      a white leaf-shaped pin with red lettering that reads, "Vote Leafi: She Delivers!"

In a deep chest:
      a soft ivory wool scarf pinned with a silver snowflake
      a thin iron-encased vial
      an opalescent glass jar containing glowing violet essence dust  (5/20)
      an opalescent glass jar containing glowing violet motes of essence  (16/20)
      a woven palm frond back-basket dangling tiny shell-beaded strings 
        a pair of small steel jaws
        a pair of small steel jaws
        a pair of small steel jaws
        a slender steel needle
      a silver-caged turkey wishbone lavaliere
      an opalescent glass jar containing essences of air  (20/20)
      a glimmering heather blue bottle
      a glimmering seawater blue bottle
      an opalescent glass jar containing pristine nymph's hairs  (18/20)
      some engraved blood marble prayerbeads
      a blood-stained vellum page
      a hastily-scrawled paper scrap
      a small piece of blood marble
      a heavy imflass slab
      a heavy mithril slab
      a heavy iron slab
      a heavy mithril slab
      a heavy iron slab
      a heavy iron slab
      a grimy pine crate
      some engraved blood marble prayerbeads
      a thin iron-encased vial
      a heavy imflass slab
      an opalescent red glass jar
      an opalescent white glass jar
      some powdered yellow diamond
      some powdered blue diamond
      some powdered star-of-Tamzyrr diamond
      an elementally balanced core
      a silver-backed incarnadine ruby periapt
      a carved black willow jewelry box inlaid with aspen leaves
        a leaf-etched slender faenor ring traced with copper
      a round green faenor tin
      a rectangular matte black invar tin with an eostone toadstool latch
      a short ovoid glass jar containing s'ayanad crystals  (23/50)
      some sturdy night hound leather
      some sturdy night hound leather
      some sturdy night hound leather
      a tanned night hound hide
      a tanned night hound hide
      a tanned night hound hide
      a perfectly spherical glass jar containing n'ayanad crystals  (32/50)
      a slender multicolored bottle containing t'ayanad crystals  (41/50)
      a bolt of silk
      a bolt of silk
      a bolt of silk
      a bolt of silk
      an opalescent glass jar containing ayanad crystals  (20/20)
      an octagonal sanguine glass jar containing ayanad crystals  (20/20)
      a tanned night hound hide
      a tanned night hound hide
      some sturdy night hound leather

You exclaim, "Thank you very much for that!"

You ask, "That brings us to the end of my questions... was there anything you'd like to discuss on the record, as it were?"

Speaking curiously to you, Leafiara asks, "Hmm, I suppose it depends... I know the hour is late, but will you ever do followup interviews?"

Leafiara cocks her head at you.

You say, "I'm quite certain we'll circle back to some of the interviewees."

Leafiara nods understandingly to you.

Leafiara flashes a wide grin at you.

Leafiara pleasantly exclaims, "Excellent, I'd love to do another one!"

You say, "For now we're trying to keep to a format, but we'll let the readers tell us what more they might want to know."

Leafiara adds, "But let me think if there's anything I feel has to get out now..."

Leafiara rubs her chin thoughtfully.

Leafiara simply says, "There is one thing, circling back to the beginning of the interview..."

You nod at Leafiara.

Leafiara thoughtfully remarks, "When it comes to being fresh from the turnip farm, whether you're a cleric or anything else, you might say the heavens favor a rookie... it's very easy to refocus your mind and try new things."

Leafiara amicably suggests, "So do just that: try everything and see what you like. New spells, new weapons, new strategies. Find what you like to do."

You agree with Leafiara.

You say, "OK, I believe, after consulting my notes, that I've covered all the questions we agreed to... plus a few I added in there."

You duck your head.

Leafiara starts chortling.

Speaking approvingly to you, Leafiara says, "I'm sure the readers will appreciate that."

Leafiara nods once.

You say, "Our intent is to get these written up and published in the TownCrier, and as you've seen, we're releasing one per week."

Leafiara nods understandingly to you.

You say, "I thank you very much for your time this evening.  You were a delightful interviewee, and I very much appreciate your patience as I fumbled with my notes."

Leafiara starts chortling.

Leafiara beams happily at you!

Speaking understandingly to you, Leafiara exclaims, "It happens to the very best of us!"

Speaking quietly to Leafiara, you say, "Kind of you to say."

Speaking to you, Leafiara praises, "You do excellent work, like I knew from the beginning."

Leafiara nods emphatically!

You say, "Still!  I have a ton of great information here, and I will get to work transcribing it soon.  We'll of course keep you in the loop, and you'll be able to see it before it goes to print."

Leafiara amicably says, "Excellent, then! Do let me know if you need anything more from me."

You exclaim, "I will, and thank you once again!"

Leafiara mimes raising a glass and gives a toast to your health.

Leafiara winks.

You mime raising a glass and give a toast to Leafiara's health.

You say, "Have a wonderful evening."

Leafiara agrees, "You too!"

You bow to Leafiara.

You grin at Leafiara.

Leafiara bobs a quick curtsy to you.

Leafiara waves.

You wave.

Leafiara takes ahold of her red silk skirt and turns gracefully, causing the bells on it to chime in time to her movement.

Leafiara nods sagely.

Maiden Leafiara just went out.

The Out-of-Character Interview

"I don't want to be the very best. I want to be like no one ever was." ~ Leafiara Autumwind

How long have you played Gemstone? Have you taken any breaks, or played straight through?

I've actively played probably three or four years, with a big gap of almost twenty between 2016 and somewhere around 1998.

How many different 'main' characters have you had over the years?

Four, but my first three were all basically the same--I kept losing characters as a kid by decaying without deeds, then remaking them with one or two letters changed in their names, the family fame being the only proof that the previous characters ever existed. Good times!

Who are/were your most notable characters?

Leafiara is the most known one without a doubt. Sometimes I'm still shocked that as many people know her as they do considering how relatively recent a character she is.

Do you have multiple accounts that you play at the same time?

Sure do!

Do you have a Premium subscription?

Sure do!

What front-end do you use? (Stormfront, Wizard, Profanity, other)? Why?

Stormfront. There's no specific reason; I just never tried the Wizard FE and this one works, so why not?

Do you use lich? Why or why not? If so, what are your 'must-have' scripts?

Sure do! I've never script hunted and never will (except maybe Duskruin arena, but even then I haven't done it yet), since I enjoy hunting, but a lot of other things in this game like alchemy, mastering cobbling, foraging, mastering forging, and even travel itself kind of screamed to me to run scripts. ;narost is amazing for travel, as well, and I also have a bazillion macros set up with the alias feature of Lich--everything from rummaging for a gem jar in my locker to making chrisms to looking in a container.
This is by no means a list of every script I use, but some must-haves are:
  • sloot
  • voodoo
  • uberbar
  • dreavening
  • waggle
  • spellmerge
  • betazzherb
  • uberbounty
  • heal
  • roomcreature
  • title
  • child2
  • step2
  • rnum
  • pulsetimer
  • treim
  • spellactive
  • alchemy
  • forgemaster
  • cobble
  • roomorder
  • inspectweight
  • 10deeds
  • arenawatch
  • burst-calc
  • shield-size
  • volnstep
  • a certain other Voln script I won't name!
  • Anything that automates events like digging, Delirium Manor, and Duskruin sewers.

Have you ever bought or sold characters or items for real money?

Definitely not characters. As for items... Not directly, but I'll say yes. There's a thin line between spending money on items and spending money on Simucoins that turn into Duskruin passes that turn into bloodscrip that turns into items.

Do you now, or have you ever roleplayed a character that was very different from your real personality? Why or why not?

Every character I play is very different from me, though they all at least have parts of me. And who's even to say whether I'm the real personality or one of them is? There's a great quotation from F. Scott Fitzgerald: "Writers aren't people exactly. Or, if they're any good, they're a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person." Playing Gemstone isn't perfectly like writing a story, of course, but it shares some of the same elements even if you're only lightly into roleplaying.
Of all my characters Leafiara might actually be the one who has the least in common with me--she's outgoing, fearless, mischievous, confident, dedicated, energetic, cheerful, extroverted, and probably a lot of other things that I'm definitely not.
But that's the beauty of it, right? I play to be things I can't or won't be in the real world. Even if it's halfway pretend, in a sense I have a different life here.

What would you say is your most memorable Gemstone 'moment' (as a player), and why?

There's a tricky one.
Maybe getting my first Lady title, since none of my characters as a kid ever made it to level 20. The catharsis was like stretching back through time, meeting my younger self again, and saying we finally did it.
Maybe helping my best friend master Voln--among many other things I've helped her with, but that was the biggest. She's the same profession and race that my characters were in the 90s, so I kinda live vicariously through her.
Maybe Leafi being captured for a solo story scene during a time when I thought she was still a nobody and that she and I were failing to make any impression or impact in the storyline.
Maybe attending my first wedding in-game and everything surrounding it:
-Running to Cysaegir because the wiki showed me they had nice, matching off-the-shelf clothes I could wear for the occasion.
-Desperately moving clothing, accessories, and other piles of fluff to newly-rolled mules so I could dress up and not be that one guest looking awkward and wearing gigantic containers.
-Not knowing enough about DS mechanics yet to be sure I'd survive running from Icemule to the Landing with no armor or shield.
-The lovely event itself with Brokkrsten officiating for Spontae and Kahlanni.
-The reception when Brokk showed Leafi all the special dance verbs I had no idea existed.
-A little bit of embarrassment in TSC afterward when Leafi hadn't changed back into her adventuring clothes yet and Severine told her she looked lovely.
Maybe attending my second wedding, which coincidentally was Brokk's and Riixae's and coincidentally was Severine's first time attending, and showing *her* all the dance moves at the reception.
Maybe being a bridesmaid. We even had a huge spa day before that one and Leafi discovered a softer side of herself that neither of us knew existed, as she loved being pampered and fell into a kind of blissful, quiet calm that's so unlike her normal self.
Maybe being a maid of honor. Leafi even made shoes for that occasion, the payoff of seemingly endless hours becoming a master cobbler.
Maybe my first GALD session. I didn't use Lnet yet and didn't know about the calendar, so I didn't know there was a merchant, but Ososis told me about the merchant and walked me over, Gingie paid for me, and while we waited Areigha joked about it being my first time.
I kept fretting over how I would know when I was picked, but when the merchant turned to me, I thought "Oh, of course... she types '*turn* Leafiara' when it's Leafiara's *turn*! Brilliant!" (Yes, these are the silly thoughts I have.)
Maybe Leafi being affected by the black blood curse while Jellybeard was doing merchant work. Because of the timing, I thought it was a weird, unwanted tattoo and ran off to the pavilion to get it removed, then came back and Leafi got cursed worse than she was the first time, which was awesomely hilarious.
Maybe using a travel token from Ta'Vaalor to the Landing without knowing any better. That was one of the very first things I did when I came back, because the Ta'Vaalor NPCs hate half-sylvans and she couldn't possibly stay.
It took about 90 minutes of mostly staring at the words "Whistler's Pass" and "Locksmehr" and thinking it would never end, but there was such a rush of memories and warm feelings when I finally, finally saw "Upper Trollfang," "Lower Dragonsclaw," and at last "Wehnimer's."
Maybe the moment when it dawned on me that after I had come back to Gemstone out of a nostalgia kick, wanting nothing more than to slay some giant rats and greater kappas, never intending to roleplay--because I never had as a kid--there I was some months later and I was now staying mainly for the interactions with the crazy mass of adventurers passing through.
Maybe writing a song about the Landing to the tune of 'For the First Time in Forever' and performing it in front of a couple friends in TSC in the early morning hours.
I guess I'll just admit I have no idea what my most memorable moment is. Maybe that's the best part, though. Not a month passes without several amazing memories, so I don't need to get caught up in any single best moment. There are always more to come!

What, in your mind, is the best thing about Gemstone?

I accidentally answered this one in the last question! There are always more great memories to come and the reason why is that in Gemstone you just never know what to expect--it's an expansive world and, better yet, a game so largely driven by its players.

Imagine you're Wyrom for a day and can 'do' one thing. What are you changing/removing/adding/replacing, and why?

I'm pretty sure not much can be *implemented* in one day unless I give a not-very-interesting answer like "307's self-cast-only bonus now applies to melee AS and ranged AS too" (and maybe even that's too much for one day).
So here's a juicier answer! I'd draw up the basic concept of a new character customization system and set people to get working on it. Before I give the what, I'll give the why: my goal would be better harmony of gameplay elements and RP elements.
The intersection of gameplay and RP is something I'm always fascinated by. Since I didn't intend to RP when I started, I didn't give all that much thought to Leafiara's character before I created her and it wound up that many aspects of her character came about based on the way I was training and playing.
For example, because she was 1x Survival, she took foraging jobs for people, which led to someone commenting offhand that she must be related to a ranger. I replied that her dad is a ranger, which I had no idea was true before saying it that very moment, and ever since then I've run with it.
That's how I developed Leafi, letting skills and playstyle influence who she became as a character, but I'd want a system that also allows the opposite:
If you know who your character is, then you can tangibly establish that somewhere in the game--define personality traits, lineage, character history, and so on--and those characteristics would have an impact on the character's abilities. (I vaguely imagine a system of Character Trait points set up like Combat Maneuver points, with the ability to get more pronounced effects the higher your amount of experience, but exact details could be left up to GMs.)
Perhaps a character who grew up in the mountains gets a bonus to climbing, but a character who grew up in the forest gets a bonus to foraging. A character who's naturally suspicious has increased Perception, but a trusting character gets a boost to his Side by Side bonus. The daughter of a rogue and ranger is better at hiding and ambushing, but the descendant of a long lineage of warriors and empaths is more physically fit.
There might even be tradeoffs in some cases for balance's sake. Maybe Leafiara takes 5 ranks of "Reckless Personality," which increases her AS but decreases her DS. Maybe she takes 3 ranks of "Brimming With Energy," which increases her stamina stat and spirit recovery at the expense of a decrease to CS and TD.
To some extent we can already train our characters to reflect who they are, of course, but given enough time and training points these differences break down, so our gameplay experience right now is defined almost exclusively by profession and society--and maybe race if you're one of the small races or a giant.
And yet Gemstone is gameplay *and* roleplay. Every time I come back for another Elanthian adventure, I believe I'm much more than just a Voln cleric. I believe I'm much more, even, than just a capped half-sylvan Voln cleric of Tilamaire.
To borrow a line from Ordim, I'm a Leafiara--and to borrow a line from Tigger, the most wonderful thing about Leafiaras is I'm the only one.
So I want a system where everybody can be even more fully and even more expressively "the only one." I want a system where we can reflect a greater number of our character facets in gameplay just as we do in roleplay. Maybe in the end it would somehow benefit min-maxers most, or maybe it would hardly benefit them at all, but in either case I wouldn't mind. I'm after individuality, not buffs.
I don't want to be the very best.
I want to be like no one ever was.

What do you feel is the biggest mistake that most GS players make? Why?

I don't know about *most* GS players, but when other clerics--and sometimes even empaths--PM me asking for training advice, I do pretty often get the impression they don't understand opportunity costs in their training plans.
Mostly I see this when people are so bent on making their characters efficient at hunting that they unintentionally become inefficient at leveling or making silvers. A cleric will put 128 PTPs toward 1 CS, but has 0 ranks of First Aid at level 65--a skill they could have 42 ranks in by sacrificing that 1 CS--and they'll ask me how other people their level have so much more money than they do. Or an empath will have 0 Survival at level 47 and miss out on free exp from foraging bounties.
This isn't limited to secondary skills like Survival or Trading, either. Comparing combat skill to combat skill, maybe a warmage can hold off training Combat Maneuvers for those next ten levels, sacrificing 5 AS to afford enough Air lore for another second of RT reduction from Celerity. If a rogue isn't regularly uphunting, maybe 1.5x Two Weapon Combat is good enough and he can bump up Physical Fitness because everything in his level range casts Earthen Fury.
When these are intentional tradeoffs, that's great--after all, every last character I make is a mutant. I understand sacrificing efficiency to fit a vision of the character or to play the way you enjoy, whether that efficiency is in hunting, making money, leveling, traveling, or anything else. But when people don't realize what they're giving up, that's when training plans can become mistakes instead of choices.

What's something that you feel every GS player should do at least once? Why?

Go to the peak of Melgorehn's Reach and go back down the hard way. We all get caught up in the speed of ;go2 and other scripts, myself included, but it's good to do at least one thing that's a royal pain to get some feeling for what our characters go through. It's also one of the most interesting areas GS has to offer.

What advice would you offer to a new player?

Be true to your character, even if you don't know who your character is at first. Maybe *especially* if you don't know who your character is at first. I sure didn't.
And speaking of not knowing: if you can't figure out what profession to play or what you'd enjoy, I recommend a ranger or empath. Then no matter what you're like, you'll be fine playing a profession that can do everything well even starting pretty early in their leveling careers.