What Is A Merchant?
There are a couple different types of merchants in GemStone IV.
The most common is the permanent, also known as NPC (Non-Player Character), merchant that you will find in the shops about most towns. Most of these permanent/NPC merchants work using the ORDER system. To purchase something from them click on the counter and select ORDER from the menu (or if you're in command mode, type ORDER), and follow the directions from there.
The second type of merchant is the traveling merchant. A traveling merchant generally sets up a tent or wagon and waits for customers to find them. This type of merchant may have items for sale and/or offer a service, such as alterations, lightening, deepening or enchanting. Several times throughout the year traveling merchants group together in large numbers and this is called a festival. Normally festivals consist not only of dozens of traveling merchants, but also include games, attractions, contests and much, much more!
How Do I Buy That?
The commands you type in order to purchase something are different depending on the type of merchant you visit. When you visit a permanent (NPC) merchant, there will be a counter or some other object in the room that you can click on. When you click on it, select ORDER from the pop-up menu. (Or, if you're in command mode, type ORDER when you are inside the shop.) A menu will appear with directions on how to purchase the various items the merchant provides.
Purchasing items from traveling merchants is very different. Normally these merchants set up tables, chests, baskets and other various containers to display their wares.
Click on a container that is in the room. A pop-up menu will appear giving you the option to LOOK ON (or) IN (or) BEHIND (or) UNDER the container. For example, if I click on the cloak rack and select LOOK ON the game will show the items on the rack like so:
On the cloak rack you see a soft ivory cotton cloak, a grey wolf-hide cloak, a green wool cloak and a silver-trim blue wool cloak.
Click on the item you are interested in, then click on GET in the pop-up menu. You will then see something that looks like this:
A sales clerk steps over to you and says, "Ah, a fine choice madam. The wool cloak sells for 5000 silvers. You can BUY the wool cloak if you like."
To purchase the cloak, click on BUY.
Command Entry Users
To see what is in a container, type LOOK IN (or) ON <container name>. For example, if there is a cloak rack in the room, you would type LOOK ON RACK and the game would list the rack's contents for you like so:
On the cloak rack you see a soft ivory cotton cloak, a grey wolf-hide cloak, a green wool cloak and a silver-trim blue wool cloak.
How do you buy the silver-trim blue wool cloak instead of the green wool cloak? The first step is to see which position on the rack the cloak is listed in, in relation to all other cloaks on the rack. The silver-trim blue wool cloak is the fourth one on the rack, so you would type GET FOURTH CLOAK. This will give you the price. If you decide to purchase the silver-trim blue wool cloak, you would then type BUY FOURTH CLOAK. Be sure to specify the number, if you just type BUY CLOAK you will end up with the soft ivory cotton cloak instead!
Things get a little tricky when there is a cloak rack, plus a trunk also full of cloaks! In order to specify you want the silver-trim blue wool cloak, you would need to make sure you told the game you wanted the fourth cloak on the cloak rack, not the fourth cloak in the trunk! To do that, you would type GET FOURTH CLOAK ON RACK.
If you see other folks buying something and you don't see where it is, try looking on, in, under, and behind everything. You should also look for a second shelf or rack or hook. Some merchants are sly!
What Is An Alteration?
When a traveling merchant offers to alter your item, what does that mean? Here are some definitions that might help.
- Alteration: Term used to define when a merchant will change the description of an item. Weapon types may only be changed to acceptable similar weapon types and armor may only be changed to similar armor types. Rare metals will not be included in the description, unless the adventurer has a suitable amount on hand for use. Descriptions must be in genre and acceptable to the merchant.
- Lightening: Simply taking an item and reducing its encumbrance by a small percentage. For example, a backpack with an encumbrance of 18 pounds might be reduced to 15 pounds.
- Deepening: Increasing the carrying capacity of a pocketed item.
- Enchanting: A merchant or a player with the skills to do so can enchant any weapon, armor or shield item. Enchanting adds a 'plus', usually in increments of +5 to the item. This plus adds to your attack strength when you are hunting monsters. Enchantment to a shield or armor gives the wearer added protection.
- Padding: Generally put into armor to increase its ability to effectively reduce damage done to the wearer during battle. Padding is very rare and hard to come by.
A merchant has decided to do an alteration for you! Now what?
An alteration allows you to customize one of your items. This is an opportunity for you to adorn some of your belongings to fit your character's persona or create a roleplaying tool.
Being prepared is a big key to having a good experience at merchant event. Do you have an idea in mind for the item you would like worked on? Have you pictured it in your mind's eye? You can leave the design up to the merchant, but you will have less say in how it turns out! It's always better to have an idea or two for them to work with.
Be sure to read the signs posted at the merchant you are attending so that you understand what kind of work they do. Merchants who are enchanting weapons usually won't change your item's appearance. An alteration merchant can do several things to your items. They can add or change the color, add an adornment, or change the style.
Basic Item Information
All items have a "base" description. The base description is also called a "tap description" and it is what everyone sees when you move the item in and out of your backpack etc. It is called a "tap description" because when you tap your item, you will see a shortened version of what the item looks like. The base description is limited in the total number of spaces used. The number of spaces allowed is commonly referred to as the 15/15/15 rule. The base description is broken up into three sections: article, adjective, and noun. Each of those sections can be no longer than 15 spaces. Example: "a,red,cloak" would be 1/3/5. Another example would be: "a pearl-hilted,vultite,longsword", which amounts to 14,7,9. Spaces between letters count as part of the 15 allowed per section, also the commas count as a space. The last 15 is reserved for the noun only. Example: a opal-clasped,spidersilk,traveling cloak" would not work even though it fits 15/15/15 spaces. The reason why is because the noun is what you type when you want to get your item. If the noun was "traveling cloak" you would have to type WEAR MY TRAVELING every time you wanted to wear your cloak.
An item with a SHOW description has a regular base description as described above, but when you LOOK at your item or SHOW your item to someone, they will see a much longer, very detailed description of your item. This is a perfect option to use if you want to add a lot of detail to your item. An example of a show description is:
You are wearing some side-laced black leather pants.
Now, when you type LOOK AT MY PANTS or click on your pants and select LOOK AT you will see:
Thick black cords lace these leather pants up the outside of each leg, revealing only a small amount of the wearer's skin. The side lacing helps procure a tight, figure enhancing fit without hindering flexibility and movement. The low slung waistline has been carefully tailored to hide several small pockets for stashing gems and other tiny items.
A LONG description is different in that you don't have to look at or show your item in order to see the special details. For example, if I wanted less detailed information about my leather pants, I would use a LONG description. So when someone looked at me, they would see:
She is wearing some ebon leather pants laced up each side with thick black cords.
An item typically cannot have both a long description and a show description, but there are some exceptions.
- Main article: ALTER (verb)
OK, you understand the two types of alterations. Now here's the bad part: the rules.
A scripted item is an item that does something unusual when you activate it. For example, I have a normal rucksack. If I type PULL MY RUCKSACK I get a message to the tune of "I'm afraid that you can't pull that." Now if my rucksack was scripted, it might do something cool when I pulled it like: "You pull your rucksack closed and carefully latch the buckle." Many scripted items can be altered, so feel free to ask a merchant if it's possible. If they say no, it's not because they don't want to work for you, but because items that are scripted sometimes can break if they are altered. Many scripted items that are allowed to be altered are listed in a special database. When you ANALYZE your item, it will tell you whether or not it is allowed to be altered.
Sexy clothing is perfectly acceptable, but something truly offensive will not be permitted. Items like "a low-cut bodice" and "some fitted leather pants" would be fine. Extremely risque lingerie and sex toys are not allowed. Also, keep in mind what the item looks like when it's NOT being worn. If you have something altered to look like "a stunning red evening gown cut to reveal the soft skin beneath" looks very nice when you're wearing it, but extremely disturbing when lying on the ground.
Mythical Creature Parts
It's within the rules to make something shaped like a dragon, demon or unicorn - but you can not have an item made with parts from any of these creatures. So, a unicorn figurine or dragon-shaped helm would be fine, but a set of dragon-scale armor or a unicorn horn sword would not be allowed.
Lettering on Items
It's ok to have words and lettering in a SHOW description, but normally it's not acceptable in a LONG description. For example, "a silver broadsword" can have a SHOW description of: Engraved on the hilt of this broadsword are the words, "Long Live the King." But it's NOT ok to have a broadsword with a long description of "a silver broadsword with "Long Live the King" engraved on the hilt."
Player Names on Items
If the item in question is a gift, putting a player name is perfectly fine. An example of this would be a ring engraved with "To Valeria, love, Dagmar." But a player might get seriously offended if you made a shield with a SHOW description of "This shield depicts the image of Dagmar's severed head." Therefore, unless the item is obviously a gift or in otherwise good taste, player names are not allowed on items.
Items don't glow, pulsate, vibrate, shake, rattle, squirm, giggle or emanate unless there's a really good reason for such based in the item's actual qualities. For example, a gem-encrusted item might shimmer or scintillate, but for it to glow, it would need some kind of inner light of its own. This also means you cannot have items like "a deathly black cloak that seems to have a life of its own" or "a vibrating black broadsword."
Items That Tell People What They Think
Do not put words in your item descriptions that tell other players what they are thinking of feeling. For example, "a mysterious black broadsword that makes you cringe in fear." People like to come up with their own reactions to things, not be forced into certain actions that don't go along with how they roleplay their character.
We will not create items that do not fit within our medieval fantasy genre. Examples of out-of-genre (OOG) items are guns, tuxedos, bowler hats, aluminum items, plastic items, etc.
Essence of Your Item
Do not change the basic essence of your item. This means, you can't change your skirt into a cloak, or your falchion to an axe, or armor to a gown (unless the armor is robe armor). Your item has to basically remain the same type of item. So long as your item stays basically the same (ie: pants can be trousers, cloaks can be capes, etc.) it is acceptable to change the noun.
Items with racial names are acceptable so long as they make sense. For example, an elven bow or a dwarven axe would be fine. Dark elf socks don't make much sense though, and would probably be rejected.
The material of a weapon, armor or shield cannot be changed to another magical material. This would leave the properties of the weapon not matching its outward appearance. Small bits of such metals added to the item are acceptable, such as "a mithril-banded shield" or "an ora-hilted sword". Rare metal should not be asked for unless you can provide it in sufficient quantities to the merchant.
Bloodstains are ok on items, so long as they make sense. Blood can stain clothes, but it would wipe off of metal easily - so it's ok to have bloodstained robes, but a bloodstained sword would not be acceptable.
Etiquette at a Merchant Event
Be courteous when entering a merchant's shop. Look around for signs, notices, and placards to familiarize yourself with the rules or requests of the merchant. Whisper any questions you may have to another adventurer in the room. It is impolite to cause everyone's screen to scroll by repetitive remarks or actions and it disrupts the flow of conversation, work, or storytelling. Unless you are specifically asked to whisper to a merchant, please don't. Merchants are usually multi-tasking and can't always see your questions. If you are disruptive, you may be warned or asked to leave by the merchant.
If the merchant is performing a service, he or she can only do so for a limited number of people. Merchants use many methods to choose their customers. Some use the room order method. This means that whoever arrived first in a room it first in line. Whoever arrived second after that person is second, and so on. Other merchants use the spinner method. These merchants will usually have an item called a spinner which will randomly select one person in the room. Another method used by merchants is the list method. A list will be posted in the merchant's tent, and when they decide to open the list you will need to type JOIN LIST. If you join the list in time, you will get work done by the merchant! Morphing lists make things a little more difficult. These are lists that change their noun every time someone joins. For example, if one person joins the list, it will turn into a roster. So if you wanted to join, now you would have to type JOIN ROSTER. Once the next person joins, it changes again.
GameMasters choose a background and personality for each of their merchants. Some will work only on items from their own shops or and others will work on only certain types of items. While the merchant must follow the alteration guidelines, they may also be roleplaying a character that does not like fluffy things or perhaps sharp things. They may only do work that involves sewing and therefore cannot inset your armor with mithril spikes. The alteration you want may not violate the guidelines, but that particular merchant may refuse to do it. In that case, accept the merchant's answer and offer another idea -- or ask the merchant for ideas.
Some Helpful Hints
GemStone IV is a magical realm where thousands of real people come to experience the power of fantasy and friendship. Creating your character is much more than coming up with a name and rolling up their stats in the character manager. To fully enjoy the magic you will want to roleplay your character. When you are ready to create a character, give them a background. Where did they come from? What was their childhood like? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their interests? Imagine what a "snapshot" of your character would look like, and then write out a description. When you get an opportunity for an alteration keep that "snapshot" in mind. When you're feeling creative, design some ideas and put them on a wish list so you're prepared.
Design your items so they coordinate with each other and give the overall feeling you want rather than being the exact same description with only a noun change. Remember that less is sometimes more. A character with a few nice items that can be easily seen is much better than a character with hundreds of items that are all identical. Using the hints and guidelines above should help you have a pleasant and fun merchant experience. Good luck!