DragonRealms

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DragonRealms is an immersive online roleplaying game set on Elanthia, thousands of years further into the future than GemStone IV. It is set after a cataclysmic event does drastic damage to world geography, spoken of as a "world dragon" hatching out of (supposedly) Makiri that almost destroys the world. They refer to the Arkati as "the thirteen immortals" who battled the dragon and are trying to keep it asleep in the center of the world. (This is curiously similar and possibly related to the theme of Shadow Valley.) It is not clear where the setting is relative to the continent of Elanith.

The game has several races in common with GemStone, as well as others which have not been encountered yet. These include Humans, Elves, Halflings, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Elotheans (Erithians.) The Kaldar are reminiscent of Giantmen. The Gor'Tog are larger than them and colored green. However, the S'Kra Mur are lizard people, the Prydaen are cat people, and Rakash are shapeshifters.

There are similar professions as well as a few novel ones. DragonRealms has Barbarians (Warriors), Bards, Thieves (Rogues), Rangers, Paladins, Clerics, and Empaths. Warrior Mages are essentially Wizards, and Necromancers would be Sorcerers. There are also Traders and Moon Mages, which are seers who use mana influenced by celestial bodies.

Comparisons

Moons

While the Shadow World moons have direct correspondences to the moons of GemStone IV, with some changes in the exact details, Liabo is the only one that is unambiguously supposed to exist in DragonRealms as Katamba. Lornon is probably Yavash, but it is not quite obvious. The closest moon in the time DragonRealms is set is Xibar, which has nothing resembling it in GemStone IV.

Distance Shadow World GemStone IV DragonRealms
1st (least) Varin Liabo Xibar
2nd Charon (Lornon) Makiri/Tilaok Katamba
3rd Orhan (Liabo) Makiri/Tilaok Yavash
4th Tlilok (Tilaok) Lornon N/A
5th (most) Mikori (Makiri) N/A N/A

Lornon is regarded as fairly large but distant in the modern lore for GemStone IV, whereas Charon was tiny and closer than Orhan in Shadow World. In the Red Forest release it was established that Lornon and Liabo rarely conjunct in a spot, which was true in the Shadow World setting because Charon was on a polar orbit. Varin was larger than Charon, but still only the size of a very large asteroid. When the history for DragonRealms was being developed GemStone III was transitioning out of the I.C.E. Age, where in contrast to the current lore Mikori was larger than Tlilok. Grazhir was the smallest moon.

Size I.C.E. Age GemStone III Post-I.C.E. GemStone III GemStone IV DragonRealms
1st (most) Orhan (Liabo) Liabo Liabo Katamba
2nd Varin Lornon Lornon Yavash
3rd Charon (Lornon) Makiri? Tilaok Xibar
4th Mikori (Makiri) Tilaok? Makiri Grazhir
5th (least) Tlilok (Tilaok) N/A N/A N/A

There is an OOC note in the GemStone IV documentation claiming thousand of years into the future Makiri was Grazhir, Lornon is Yavash, and Liabo is Katamba. This moon lore for GemStone III did not exist until about half a decade after the launch of DragonRealms and the end of the I.C.E. Age, which possibly helps explain the inconsistencies with Tilaok arguably making more sense as Grazhir.

Moon Game World Orbits Other Moon? Atmosphere? Color Other Information
Liabo GSIII/GSIV Elanthia No Maybe Silver-white, craters Home of Thirteen Lords of Liabo
Katamba DR Elanthia No Yes Blackened Home of Thirteen Immortals
Orhan GSIII Kulthea No Yes Clouds Home of Thirteen Lords of Orhan
Lornon GSIII/GSIV Elanthia No Yes Pale white, sometimes red Home of the Dark Lords
Yavash DR Elanthia No Yes Red ?
Charon GSIII Kulthea No No Silver-grey, sometimes red Home of the Dark Lords
Makiri GSIII/GSIV Elanthia Yes No Dark Rumored to be slowly growing. Does not exist in DragonRealms.
Mikori GSIII Kulthea No No Gleaming mote of light Most distant. Does not exist in DragonRealms.
Varin GSIII Kulthea No No Mottled orange Closest. Does not exist in GemStone IV.
Xibar DR Elanthia No No Icy blue Closest. Does not exist in GemStone IV.
Tilaok GSIII/GSIV Elanthia Yes Yes Reddish-orange Second smallest moon in GemStone IV. Does not exist in DragonRealms.
Tlilok GSIII Kulthea Yes No Multi-hued grey, craters Smallest moon in Shadow World. Does not exist in DragonRealms
Grazhir DR Elanthia ? ? Pearlescent white Former smallest moon in DragonRealms. Destroyed supposedly by World Dragon.

Yavash is permanently colored red, while Charon and Lornon only appear that way periodically. The word "zenith" for Lornon is misused by implying that is simultaneously defined at every location, and it is synchronous with the solar orbit for no reason. In the Shadow World history Charon has a polar orbit and the world population lives only on the western hemisphere, so Charon is invisible at night for half of its rotation. The "Night of the Third Moon" is wherever Charon happens to be full and zenith, once every 149 days, glowing reddish and only occurring near the equatorial latitudes. Once every 10.2 years it is at perigee and zenith near the equator, which is the situation where it is huge and red. These times correspond to essence disturbances, cult worship, and malevolent presences for Charon and Lornon.

Gods

The Kermonian pantheon in DragonRealms consists of the Thirteen Immortals, which are taken to be extra-planar in origin and were associated with the equivalent of Liabo. There are thirteen Lords of Orhan / Liabo in Shadow World and GemStone IV. However, these gods are taken to have light and dark aspects, with the Dark Lords of Charon / Lornon not acknowledged as a pantheon. In the Shadow World setting there are 13 other planets in the solar system, where in DragonRealms our world is 6th rather than 7th and each has an associated immortal. This confinement is rooted in Shadow World.

Immortal Neutral Light Dark
Kertigen Kertigen (Eonak) Divyaush Zachriedek
Hodierna Hodierna (Imaera) Berengaria (Oleani) Asketi
Meraud Meraud (Fash'lo'nae) Firulf (Jastev?) Kerenhappuch (Eorgina / Ivas)
Damaris Damaris (Ronan / Onar) Phelim (Tonis?) Dergati (Sheru)
Everild Everild (Kai) Kuniyo Trothfang (V'tull / Amasalen)
Truffenyi Truffenyi Alamhif (Lorminstra?) Huldah (Luukos?)
Hav'roth Hav'roth (Luukos) Peri'el (Eonak? / Leya?) Ushnish
Eluned Eluned (Lumnis) Lemicus (Niima) Drogor (Charl)
Glythide Glythide (Cholen) Seamaus (Voaris) Be'ort (Laethe)
Tamsine Tamsine (Imaera) Albreda (Oleani) Harawep (Arachne)
Faenella Faenella Murrula Idon (Phoen?)
Chadatru Chadatru (Koar) Rutilor Botolf (Onar)
Urrem'tier Urrem'tier (Gosaena) Eylhaar (Lorminstra / Gosaena) Aldauth (Luukos)

The direct comparison of immortals and gods is slightly complicated by the fact that the gods lore has changed multiple times in GemStone during the existence of DragonRealms. They are fundamentally non-corporeal beings who have preferred manifestations, but can in principle take on any form they wish. In GemStone IV the "Arkati" have allowed various cultures to interpret them very differently. In the Shadow World setting of GemStone III the Lords of Orhan were all extra-planar in origin, and the Dark Lords of Charon had arrived from demonic planes of existence but may have been made artificially by the Lords of Essaence. In the historical setting following the end of the I.C.E. Age, the two pantheons were made into members of the same group, with the religion interpreting them as members of a race of servants.

Time

In the Shadow World setting there are 350 days in a solar year, with subdivisions based on the lunar cycles of Orhan and Varin. This poses no difficulty in a calendar sense because there are 25 hour days, resulting in a 365 Earth day year for the orbit around the sun. On the scale of years the Shadow World and Elanthian timelines proceed at equal rates. In the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III this was not actually implemented, it was only part of the background lore for the world setting. Slightly before the GemStone IV transition the day and night mechanics were introduced, and GemStone was given a one-to-one correspondence with Earth time, with Elanthia keeping the same hours and months in a year. The situation is complicated in DragonRealms because of the compression factor to speed up the flow of time.


(A) Time Acceleration Interpreted As Real

Since there are only 15 minutes to an hour, meaning 900 seconds instead of 3,600 seconds, the physical quantities calculated based on time require interpreting the reality and cause of the time compression. If there really are only 900 seconds in an hour, as opposed to pretending every second is really four seconds, Elanthia would need to be spinning four times faster on its axis. With same direction (prograde) orbits and planet revolution, this requires DragonRealms to be in the distant past, whereas with retrograde orbits it would be in the future. The latter would require the moons to get closer over time, which appears to be false for Liabo, which would have the largest effect. Since Xibar does not exist in the time of GemStone IV, Liabo's mass and relative distance should dominate over Lornon.


Time Earth GemStone IV DragonRealms Shadow World
Seconds 1 sec 1 sec 1 sec 1 sec
Minute 1 minute 1 minute 1 minute 1 minute
Hour 1 hour 1 hour 15 minutes (0.25 Earth hours) 1 hour
Day 24 hour 24 hour 24 hour (6 Earth hours) 25 hour (25 Earth hours)
Week 7 days 7 days 4 days (24 Earth hours) 10 days (250 Earth hours)
Month 4 weeks 4 weeks 10 weeks (10 Earth days) 70 days (73 Earth days)
Year 365 days 365 days 400 days (100 Earth days) * 350 days (365 Earth days)

(* - 1 solar year for Elanthia is presumably 3.65 years under the Kermorian calendar, assuming time is due to a faster rotation, or else the planet would end up boiling.)


The pink highlights indicate orbital distances calculated assuming Newtonian gravity with Elanthia as 1 Earth mass. The Shadow World numbers for period and distance are given in the source books, and are reasonably accurate without accounting for complications from flows of essence, except for Orhan whose observational behavior and nature is significantly altered by the magic of the moon gods.

Moon Game Orbital Distance Orbital Period Tidal Acceleration Tidally Locked? Other Information: Assuming Fast Spinning Elanthia
Liabo GSIII/IV 96,053 miles 7 days (7 Earth days) Prograde? (+) ? Barren / cratered. Tilaok and Makiri as satellites.
Katamba DR 121,840 miles 40 days (10 Earth days) Retrograde (-) ? Scorched by World Dragon. Has no satellites.
Orhan GSIII 270,000 miles 70 days (73 Earth days) Prograde? (+) Yes Forests, oceans, clouds. Tlilok is only satellite. Diameter 3,500 miles. Earth's moon is 2,100 miles and distance 240,000 miles. Orhan is much larger in the sky with stronger tides. Orbital period is very wrong, Kulthea would need to be 1/5th Earth mass.
Lornon GSIII/IV 250,000 miles 1 month (30 Earth days) Retrograde? (-) ? Blood moon 1x/year. Rarely conjuncts with Liabo in a given spot, causes a curtain of light effect, at least over Glatoph. Assumed to not be polar orbit. Implied to not be small, but smaller than Liabo.
Yavash DR 129,830 miles 45 days (11 Earth days) Retrograde (-) ? Permanently red. Presumably off axis with Katamba, or else yearly almost impact.
Charon GSIII 150,000 - 230,000 miles 21 days (22 Earth days) Polar Orbit ? 149 days per blood moon at location. Perigee/Zenith blood moon coincide 10.2 years. Diameter is 350 miles.
Makiri GSIII/IV ? ? ? ? Makiri orbits Liabo, no details. Orbital period around Elanthia roughly equals Liabo's.
Mikori GSIII 520,000 miles 88 days (92 Earth days) Prograde? (+) ? Barely distinguishable from a star or planet. Orbits planet, not Orhan.
Varin GSIII 125,000 miles 10 days (10.4 Earth days) Prograde? (+) ? Volcanic from tidal forces. Diameter is 600 miles. Roughly same size as Ceres, largest asteroid / dwarf planet.
Xibar DR 95,366 miles 27.7 days (7 Earth days) Retrograde (-) ? Blue from being ice covered.
Tilaok GSIII/GSIV ? ? ? ? Tilaok orbits Liabo, no details. Orbital period around Elanthia roughly equals Liabo's.
Tlilok GSIII ? ? ? ? Conjuncts with Orhan over a given spot once per several thousand years. Diameter is 40 miles. 5 to 7 times larger than what killed the dinosaurs on Earth.
Grazhir DR ? ? ? ? There is no information other than its color. Destroyed.

(* - DragonRealms orbital periods are assumed to be retrograde, or else the orbits will be so close the moons are colliding. Green highlights are calculated from given rising times. The rise and set times require the orbits to be retrograde as well. The given sidereal months in the lore are averages of 25.9, 37.57, and 40.42 days due to multi-body gravitational interactions between the three moons and Elanthia. This slightly pulls the orbits closer with distances of 91,000 miles for Xibar, 117,000 miles for Katamba, and 123,000 miles for Yavash. Yavash and Katamba are almost impacting each other.)


The orbital periods of Liabo and Lornon in the GemStone IV astronomy lore suggest they will become more distant from Elanthia over millions of years. In contrast, the rising times of the three moons in DragonRealms are faster than the rotational period of Elanthia, requiring the orbits to be in the opposite direction or else extremely close to the planet. Over time this would make the planet spin faster, and ultimately they would break up and/or crash into the surface. Lornon would have to become closer and Liabo further away, implying they are revolving in opposite directions, even though they must be in the same direction in the time of DragonRealms. This requires some unknown magical intervention on the scale of the gods, which makes the moons useless for figuring out their historical order.


(B) Time Acceleration Ignored As Unreal

The preceding was assuming that seconds and minutes ("roisan") are to be taken on face value as corresponding to Earth time, but that the larger units of time are different for natural reasons. If the time is supposed to instead just be accelerated by a factor of four for gameplay purposes so that a roisan is really "supposed" to represent four minutes on Elanthia, it would seem that their month is based on the lunar cycle of Yavash or Katamba, with weeks and years defined by powers of ten from the days in a sidereal month. The Kermorian and Gorbesh calendars have the same weeks, months, and days in a year, but different multi-year cycles. It might make sense to use a 400 day calendar if the moon impact cataclysm changed the tilt of Elanthia and so throwing the seasons slightly out of synch with the solar year. It would take trillions of years for the solar orbit of Elanthia to change by enough distance to actually gain 35 days. This is assuming the absence of enormous outside intervention on the moons.

Moon Orbital Distance Orbital Period Difference: Assuming Uniform Time Compression
Liabo 96,053 miles 7 days
Katamba 294,450 miles 37.57 days 200,000 miles more distant from Elanthia in DragonRealms.
Lornon 253,430 miles 30 days
Yavash 309,050 miles 40.42 days 50,000 miles more distant from Elanthia in DragonRealms.
Xibar 229,780 miles 25.9 days N/A

If the time compression in DragonRealms is interpreted as a purely out of character mechanic, such that an hour is really 60 minutes within the game in spite of being 15 minutes in real life, the orbital periods would literally be the given values and the distances would be very different. The trouble with calculation is that the multiplier is discontinuous. The orbits must be four times faster, or the planet rotates four times faster, or the multiplier has to be uniform. In the last case the orbits are much more distant. This falsifies the in-universe 24 hour day because Elanthia would spin much slower from tidal forces.

Solar System

The solar system is reasonably well-defined in Shadow World and DragonRealms, but virtually nothing is known about the other planets in GemStone. The only other planet that is defined for GemStone IV is Bre'Naere, the kiramon occupied world of the Aelotoi, and its location relative to Elanthia is unspecified. However, the Elemental Confluence traveled between the two worlds over the span of about a decade, and its trajectory and arrival time were calculated by Alusius. This would only make sense if Bre'Naere was in the same solar system and the Confluence, presumably indigenous to the solar system since Alusius claimed it was the source of elemental magic, was traveling much slower than the speed of light. The Confluence is anchored to Elanthia in the time of GemStone IV but not in DragonRealms.

Distance Shadow World GemStone IV DragonRealms
1st (least) Kuluth ? Verena (Kertigen)
2nd Rhogan ? Estrilda (Hodierna)
3rd Thasia ? Durgaulda (Meraud)
4th (Asteroid Belt) ? Yoakena (Damaris)
5th Ithaneus ? Penhetia (Everild)
6th Nemeris ? Elanthia (Truffenyi)
7th Kulthea * ? Szeldia (Hav'roth)
8th Liis ? Merewalda (Eluned)
9th Ombari ? Ismenia (Glythide)
10th Shiron ? Morleena (Tamsine)
11th Xio ? Amlothi (Faenella)
12th Atalan ? Dawgolesh (Chadatru)
13th Deisa ? Er'qutra (Urrem'tier)
14th Ianoris ? N/A
15th (most) Vuul ? N/A

* (Kulthea is really the sixth planet, the asteroid belt should not count.)


In Shadow World the analogous concept to the Confluence is that Kulthea exists on the edge of an interdimensional rift, through which the essence of a higher universe bleeds through into our reality. This is the source of magic because its manipulation allows temporary violations of physical laws in our own material reality. The Lords of Orhan were stranded in this universe approximately 200,000 years ago as a result of a cataclysm, and a tiny black hole hit the planet forming the Pillar of the Gods. The geologically analogous feature in Elanthia is Talon Isle, though there is no established lore for how it was formed.

There are planetary depictions in GemStone such as Aramur Forean's room in the Wolves Den, depicted as spheres where the world is known to be round. The planets in Shadow World are supposedly named in Iruaric, but most of them cannot be translated with the existing glossary. The essence becomes too weak to support the moon gods outside the solar system, due to the physical distance from the interdimensional rift. The world of Kulthea is kept stable on this boundary by the Eyes of Utha, whose analog in GemStone was the Eye of the Drake. The immortals in DragonRealms each have an associated planet. The Gorbesh and Kaldar worship a blood god named Sraxaec, whose planet is called Sidasas. It is unknown if this is a fourteenth planet or merely a different name for one of the other ones.

Order Planet Game Type Diameter Distance From Sun Year Other Information
0th Sun All Gas ? 0 miles N/A G-Class Star. Necessarily close to 1 solar mass, otherwise the sky would look different. F class is possible but unlikely. Calculating the solar mass from the Shadow World planetary orbits is pointless because the numbers are inconsistent.
1st Kuluth GSIII Rock 2,100 miles 31 million miles 70 days (73 Earth days) Mercury is 29 million to 43 million miles from the Sun.
Verena DR Rock ? ? ? Bright red-orange. Surface is molten.
2nd Rhogan GSIII Rock 3,100 miles 40 million miles 105 days (109 Earth days) Same size and distance as Mercury.
Estrilda DR Rock ? ? ? Green. Possibly viable atmosphere. "The Dawn's Herald", appears low on eastern horizon in morning.
3rd Thasia GSIII Rock 1,600 miles 55 million miles 187 days (195 Earth days)
Durgaulda DR Rock ? ? ? Dark mists / dust. "The Dark Stranger", observed from absence of ordinary starlight.
4th (Asteroid Belt) GSIII (Rock) N/A 65 million miles 200 days (208 Earth days) Venus is 67 million miles from the Sun, orbit of 225 Earth days.
Yoakena DR Rock ? ? ? Faint green. "The Secret Interloper". Hidden most of the time between its and Elanthia's moons.
5th Ithaneus GSIII Rock 2,800 miles 71 million miles 280 days (292 Earth days)
Penhetia DR Rock ? ? ? Reddish-brown. Home of fallen spirits of warriors. "The Stalwart Defender". Orbital period so similar to Elanthia's that it seems to constantly be shielding and protecting it. If this was actually true the opposite would happen, they would collide or get ejected.
6th Nemeris GSIII Rock 5,000 miles 83 million miles 310 days (323 Earth days) Dense cloud cover. Probably uninhabitable like Venus.
Elanthia DR Rock ? 98 million miles 400 days "The Withstander". Assuming 1 day = 1 Earth day, 1 solar mass for calculating solar orbit, using Newtonian gravity / Kepler's laws. In contrast, if it has the same solar orbit as GemStone IV Elanthia, it is rotating 1.1 times faster on its axis with shorter days than 24 GS Elanthia hours. If the sun has the same solar mass as implied by Kulthea's orbit, the orbital distance is 104 million miles.
7th Kulthea GSIII Rock 8,600 miles 98 million miles 350 days (365 Earth days) Same year as Earth, 5 million miles more distant. Earth diameter is 7,900 miles, unknown relative densities. GemStone IV Elanthia has the same solar orbit. This distance and orbital period combination would mean the Sun has 1.17 solar mass.
Szeldia DR Rock ? ? ? Bright white atmosphere around black core. "The Serpent's Eye".
8th Liis GSIII Rock 7,000 miles 128 million miles 582 days (606 Earth days) Atmosphere too thin to support life. Slightly closer than Mars, but Venus sized.
Merewalda DR Rock ? ? ? Crystalline blue. "The Pellucid Font". Completely covered in liquid water. Too small/distant for unaided eye. This suggests the DR sun is F class because the habitable zone of the star must be large, but is probably just something that makes no sense.
9th Ombari GSIII Gas 78,500 miles 340 million miles 8.3 years Slightly smaller but closer than Jupiter. Probably visible without telescope.
Ismenia DR Gas? ? ? ? Bright yellow.
10th Shiron GSIII Gas 59,000 miles 701 million miles 31 years Slightly smaller but closer than Saturn. Probably visible without telescope.
Morleena DR Gas? ? ? ? Orange. Southern sky.
11th Xio GSIII Gas 63,000 miles 1,208 million miles 57 years
Amlothi DR Gas? ? ? ? Yellow-green. Southern sky.
12th Atalan GSIII Gas 98,400 miles 2,050 million miles 74 years Larger than Jupiter, but a little further out than Uranus. Probably not visible without telescope.
Dawgolesh DR Gas? ? ? ? White. Northern spring and summer skies.
13th Deisa GSIII Gas 33,000 miles 2,845 million miles 160 years Neptune size and distance from sun. Would not be visible by eye.
Er'qutra DR Gas? ? ? ? Dark. "The Black Void". Souls of the damned, the empty ones who do not return, reside with Urrem'tier.
14th Ianoris GSIII Gas 28,000 miles 3,318 million miles 238 years
15th Vuul GSIII Rock 7,300 miles 3,945 million miles 315 years Venus sized but Pluto distanced.

(The information for the appearance times of the DragonRealms planets, if compiled, will be used to calculate the orbital distances and periods. Merewalda through Er'qutra require a telescope to be seen.)

Bre'Naere is known to have significantly less mass than Elanthia because the Aelotoi are unable to fly. While Kulthea has a slightly larger diameter and circumference than Earth, it might still have Earth gravity from having lower density. Kulthea has a lot of seismic and volcanic activity and tides because of the moons, which should be true for Elanthia as well but is never mentioned. The axial tilt of Kulthea is about 25 degrees, where Earth's cycles between 22 and 24.5, causing similar seasons. However, the magnetic field situation is drastically different, since it interacts with the flows of essence. While the magnetic declination varies locally on Earth, the magnetic field lines warp by as much as 20 degrees from north-south, and the magnetic poles routinely fluctuate from the geographical by as much as 15 degrees.

Constellations are arbitrary patterns drawn out of stars by various cultures. In the Shadow World Master Atlas it asserts that the Elves of the northern hemisphere have named some after the Lords of Orhan, but otherwise it is up to the GameMaster to define constellations for cultures. In GemStone IV there are 25 constellations of the northern sky that are agreed upon by most societies. In DragonRealms there are 52 constellations, which have defined rise and set days. The continent that DragonRealms is centered upon is in the southern hemisphere, while the continents of GemStone were always northern.

Magic

The system of magic for the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III was a modified composite of Rolemaster Spell Law and Shadow World lore on the same subjects. The terminology was changed after the licensing for those materials lapsed, such that the realms of magical power became categorized by their phenomenal rather than noumenal qualities. The classes of characters in Rolemaster are squares (pure arms), semis (arms and some magic), hybrid (non-specialist full magic casters), and pures (full magic casters in only one realm). Hybrids are supposed to have the flexibility of choosing from the "closed" or "major" spell lists from two realms at higher expense for the more powerful spells. This has never been true mechanically in GemStone, where hybrids are considered the "pures" of two realms, and Bards are now considered "hybrid semis." In Rolemaster and Shadow World there are several true hybrid professions, whereas there are only Sorcerers in GemStone, and hybrid magic is "sorcery" by definition in DR.

Realm of Magic Rolemaster Shadow World I.C.E. Age GSIII Post-I.C.E. GSIII GSIV DragonRealms
Direct Essence Essence Essence Elemental Elemental Elemental / Life
Borrowed Channeling Channeling Channeling Spiritual Spiritual Holy / Lunar?
Inner Mentalism Mentalism N/A N/A Mentalism Lunar?
Mixed Several Several Hybrid Sorcery Sorcery Sorcery
Unified Arcane Arcane N/A N/A Arcane? Feral

* (The DragonRealms fitting is very imperfect. Sorcery is any mixture of two or more mana types, some more violent than others.)

In terms of the game mechanics GemStone III and IV are relatively similar to Rolemaster. While DragonRealms is fairly similar to Shadow World in terms of its lore for magical phenomena, its actual game mechanics for spellcraft are significantly different, and it has a complicated philosophy of magical theory. The magic lore for GemStone sometimes deviates and sometimes draws closer to its roots. The Moon Mage profession and "lunar mana" have no analog in GemStone, though the moons certainly affect things, but they are very similar to the Channeling/Mentalist hybrid Astrologer profession of Rolemaster.

Phenomenon Rolemaster Shadow World I.C.E. Age GSIII Post-I.C.E. GSIII GSIV DragonRealms
Magical Energy Essence/Power Essaence Essence Mana Mana Mana
Conduit of Energy N/A Flow of essence Flow of essence Mana pool Flow of essence? Mana stream
Concentrated Energy Earthnode Focii/Node Focii/Node Node Node Situational
Magical Weather N/A Flow storm Flow storm Mana storm Mana storm Mana storm

In the Rolemaster based spell systems, such as GemStone III and IV, the spell cost and power is mostly fixed by its position on a list. In the Rolemaster Spell Law this is offset by having multiple spells of the same kind with increasing ranges or magnitudes of effect at higher cost. These redundancies were gradually removed from GemStone spell lists to open up the spell slots, but the mana costs and spell powers are still mostly fixed or only marginally altered by training. In DragonRealms there is flexibility in how much power is to be infused in a given preparation of a spell, with correspondingly greater hazards. There is also an overt dependence on "confounds", such as supernatural links to deities for Clerics or mage attunement to the Elemental Planes, which are more or less implicit in GemStone spell casting.

Kind of Magic Game Nature
Arcane Rolemaster The primal form of magic before the three realms were formed. Less intricate but deeper spell effects, more power and less control. Very rare. Chaotic, risky, dangerous to surroundings. Whether Arcane magic should incur "corruption" penalties or is more robust or fragile to single-realm dispelling is GM / world setting discretion.
Shadow World The primal form of magic before the three realms were formed. Taps the raw Essaence. Mostly used by Lords of Essaence, dragons, deities.
I.C.E Age GSIII In theory the same as Shadow World. Did not exist functionally.
Post-I.C.E. GSIII Undefined.
GemStone IV No theory is given. Seemingly overlaps all of the three spheres of magic. Fash'lo'nae's Gift (1750) allows casting of any spell. The function of Rolemaster Arcane is replaced with the concept of "flow magic", where the gain in control (and lack of insight) from specialized pure realms of power is replaced with "rote magic."
DragonRealms Term is used for the mixtures of different forms of magic. Essentially equivalent with the category "sorcery." Mixing all four manas is "feral" magic, violently unstable.
Hybrid Rolemaster Full spell-caster that uses spells from two given realms of power. Base list largely a mix and match of other base spells of pure professions. Flexibility of choosing from the "open" and "closed" lists of both realms, higher training cost than pures for spell research for the more powerful spells. No premise of "fusing" the realms of power in the base lists. (Note: There are pure and semi Arcane professions, but no hybrid Arcane professions. Pure Arcanists have pure training costs for all realms of magic.) While it does not say two realms are fused into something more fundamental or violent, it does say a hybrid base list spell uses power from both realms, which means the weaknesses of each realm are applied. The warding roll is chosen to be the realm that favors the target, and if the target uses either of those realms, they get an extra bonus resisting it. This means that while a hybrid spell might be a clone of an equivalent pure spell in another base list, in effect the hybrid version is always weaker all else being equal.
Shadow World Precursor to specialization of three pure realms of magic. Implied to be a more raw power type closer to Arcane magic. Sorcerers are Essence/Channeling, Mystics are Essence/Mentalist, Astrologers are Channeling/Mentalist. Rolemaster "Evil" professions treated as hybrids (instead of pures) using power from the Unlife.
I.C.E. Age GSIII Sorcerers only class that are hybrid. Only class capable of channeling magical power (i.e. converting) between realms. No access to "closed" spell lists. Healers are treated as pure Channeling when they are Channeling/Mentalist hybrids in Rolemaster. However, that means they channel wounds, and heal themselves with mentalism. ("Lay Healers" are pure Mentalists.) Warding worked mainly by relative caster/target levels and racial modifiers, seemingly without the hybrid rules for Rolemaster.
Post-I.C.E. GSIII Sorcerers only class that are hybrid. Effectively treated as "pures." No access to "major" spell lists. Meaning of "hybrid power" largely undefined. Restriction on transferring between realms of power removed. Empaths still treated as pure Spiritual users. Bards are semi-arms Elemental users. Sorcerers have their own category for TD (warding.)
GemStone IV Hybrid refers to access to spells from more than one sphere of power. Bards and Empaths are (sort of) turned into hybrids. Meaning of "hybrid power" largely undefined. Some sense that sorcery is an unnatural fusion of incompatible powers, as opposed to merely accessing more than one sphere of magic. Hybrid circles have their own TD.
DragonRealms Any class that casts spells mixing two forms of mana is engaging in hybrid spellcraft. This is "sorcery" by definition. Inherently violent, destructive, corrupting, and prone to backlash hazards. The degree of which depends on what is being mixed. The most corrupt form is necromancy, mixing elemental, lunar, and life or holy mana. The attunement to a kind of mana causes "mana blindness", where other kinds can only be blindly manipulated. Necromancers corrupt themselves into seeing a false unified form of mana.
Sorcery Rolemaster Hybrid spell profession. Spells overlap heavily with Evil Mage, Evil Cleric, and Evil Mentalist base lists. Focus is immediate destruction of animate and inanimate matter. Essence/Channeling hybrid, but a third of its base spells are mental effects, targeting the mind or soul. Spells targeting bodies are sadistic. Except for "demonic possession", has nothing to do with demonic summoning, or necromancy. Does have curses. Its inherent orientation toward annihilation is profession thematic rather than theoretically motivated. There is no explicit statement of Sorcerer spells being "Evil." There is no premise of being a fusion of pure realms of power or closer to Arcane magic.
Shadow World Same as Rolemaster. Not considered inherently "evil" or corruptive because it does not involve "dark essence" and the Unlife. Considered an older form of magic that is closer to Arcane power. Its inherently violent nature is not because it is hybrid magic, "sorcery" is merely defined as a narrow range of purely destructive effects.
I.C.E. Age GSIII Sorcerer lists always included spells from Evil pure lists of Rolemaster. Included demonic spells, wicked spirits. No necromancy spells. Sorcerers only class that can transfer power points between realms of power. Does not actually have access to "closed" spell lists. Does not suffer from "corruption" effects like Council of Light.
Post-I.C.E. Age GSIII "Evilness" of sorcery unclear. Hybrid of Elemental/Spiritual, still retains mind destruction spells. Does not actually have access to "major" spell lists.
GemStone IV Hybrid of Elemental/Spiritual. Mind destruction spells removed or washed over to be less mentalist. Dominant concepts are Demonology and Necromancy, sometimes involves spirit drains, though the profession cannot make actual undead. Unclear if all "dark magic" should be called "sorcery", or the various categories of sorcery. Cheap training in mana control for Elemental and Spiritual, high cost for Mentalism, but in principle anyone can train to transfer mana from different spheres of magic.
DragonRealms Sorcery is any mixture of two or more kinds of mana, forming many different categories of sorcery. Sorcery is inherently violent and backlash prone from crossing incompatible forms of energy. Corruption is inherent to more "arcane" magic, especially necromancy, not the result of extraplanar anti-mana or Unlife power.
Evil Rolemaster Evil spell lists belong to pure spell-casters in each of the given realms of power (i.e. Evil Mage, Evil Cleric, Evil Mentalist, Evil Arcanist.) Spells specifiying "of light/good" or "of darkness/evil" mean whether the thing is of good/evil origin regardless of current state. Evil vaguely refers to "causes intentional suffering and destruction", though oddly the Sorcerer class is not explicitly defined as Evil. It is the "dark side" of these realms and not a separate form of power. GM discretion whether it involves corrupt power sources / evil gods or if it is merely moral disapproval by "superstitious peasants." Options for the GM include allowing only spell lists from a single Evil realm, or a mixture of lists from a single Evil realm and lists from some other class. (Evil Sorcerers should not be an option because they are hybrid, but some Shadow World NPC Sorcerers had Evil lists.)
Shadow World Evil spells are powered by "dark essence" corrupted by The Unlife. It is a fundamentally separate form of energy from ordinary spells, being perceived as a "new source of power" by spell-casters, who have a separate set of power points for those lists. Casting these spells incurs corruption, counting down against the character's "essaence soul", until they necessarily become evil in alignment. Evil spell-users are considered "hybrids" because the magic they cast is a corrupted form of the essence with more chaotic energy. There are demons that are merely "chaotic" like in Rolemaster, or purely alien but inherently destructive. Might inherently manifest of dark/chaotic/corrupted essence.
I.C.E. Age GSIII The Sorcerer profession contains spells from the Rolemaster Evil spell lists, effectively being an "Evil Sorcerer" profession, but there is no corruption mechanic or separate power points. In contrast, the Council of Light has the Sign of Wracking, and a basic corruption mechanic. Phrases like "dark essence" appear in spell descriptions. These are the same spells that existed until GSIV, and are largely still the same spells. The Cleric profession contains holy spells but no unholy spells, meaning mechanically a Cleric cannot be a worshipper of a dark god. The undead are classified in spell descriptions by the relative power of demons, sometimes created by demons. Demons are evil.
Post-I.C.E. Age GSIII Corruption by "dark essence" is replaced with the equivalent concept of "anti-mana", but this concept is never developed further and the corruption tie-in is largely forgotten. Vvrael warlocks cast sorcerer spells, and the Vvrael had undead hordes using anti-mana, but the inherent relation of sorcery and the undead and the demonic are left ill-defined. The Dark Gods were changed to have the same origin as the Light Gods, so their relationship with unholy power (e.g. necessity of blessed weapons to harm target) becomes ambiguous. The Vvrael are immune to magic because of anti-mana corruption, but do not require blessed weapons to be hit. Demons assumed to be evil.
GemStone IV There are many adjectives such as "black essence", "evil essence", "necrotic energy" and so on, and balefire is defined as originating in another valence, but the ultimate nature of evil magic is very ill-defined. Several creatures now exist that are mechanically treated as demons, and they can only be hit by magic holy weapons with a high enchantment. (In GSIII there were a handful of Rolemaster demonic creatures that were treated as either living or undead.) Inherent evilness of demons is ambiguous. The Enchiridion Valentia portrays demons that are merely extra-planar entities without necessarily being unholy, but Faendryl documentation refers to the demonic energies as corrupting, elementals document says "intense hatred of life", and the more powerful demons that do actual combat designed later are unholy and extremely malevolent.
DragonRealms The only magic that is considered forbidden by the gods is necromancy, a special sub-set of sorcery that is explicitly related to the demonic. Corruption is inherent to the unnatural fusion of some kinds of mana with each other and not some inherently foreign power like "dark essence" or "anti-mana." This is analogous to Rolemaster Arcane magic with corruption mechanics implemented due to its primal chaotic nature, except in Rolemaster the pure realms are merely specializations along easier scopes.

In the GemStone IV and DragonRealms settings "mana" is portrayed as somehow natural to the world, neither created nor destroyed, merely manipulated by will into other "patterns." Rolemaster in itself is generic enough to allow multiple implementations. The Shadow World setting in contrast has a cosmology where the material universe is purely physical, and any "magical" energy is a bleed through from other universes. Similar concepts such as the Elemental Planes exist in GemStone and DragonRealms. In the case of Shadow World and consequently I.C.E. Age GemStone III, this means that "magic" is temporary violations of physical law, and that magic becomes impossible whenever one is cut off from the power sources. Worshippers of a local god, for example, best not travel far (much less to other planes.) Consequently, magic does not exist outside the solar system, and the gods cannot travel from it. The Lords of Essaence failed to make it possible elsewhere, and gate magic will not work.

Behind the Scenes

It is usually assumed that DragonRealms is set in the future relative to GemStone IV. However, the "smallest" moon that shattered was "pearly-white" in the DragonRealms lore, whereas Makiri is dark in the present of GemStone. It is worth considering that the moon lore has changed over the years. In the I.C.E. Age history Tlilok (Tilaok) was the smallest "moon", and Mikori (Makiri) did not orbit Orhan (Liabo). Mikori was the smallest and farthest moon orbiting the planet, Orhan was the largest, and the closest was the second-largest fifth moon called Varin. In the contemporary GemStone IV history Lornon is the furthest, Liabo is the closest, with Makiri and Tlilok orbiting Liabo. In DragonRealms Yavash is the most distant and perpetually red colored, Katamba is the largest and blackened, while the blue Xibar is the closest and does not orbit Katamba. While Yavash and Katamba could be taken to be Lornon and Liabo, Xibar does not resemble Tilaok, and Katamba has no satellite moons at all.

It would be easy to interpret this as a perverse argument for Makiri and Tilaok being captured asteroids, while Xibar was ejected somehow in the past with GemStone actually occurring later in history. The idea would be that the pantheons had not formed yet, and some gods were killed in the Ur-Daemon War. (On the other hand, with the DragonRealms is later perspective, some of the gods may be dead.) If the orbital periods are used on face value with the time compression discontinuity ignored, the distances are much greater, requiring the days to be longer with DragonRealms set in the deep past. These kinds of arguments only work if there is a continuity of natural physical process. There are cases to be made for the anomalies being planar in origin, or time is "shattered", with Elanthia existing in multiple "phases."

References