New Players' Guide
Welcome to Elanthia. This guide is written to aid a new character in joining GemStone IV, and will be heavily linked in order to give the most information in as little text as possible, allowing for the new player to chose which topics interest him or her the most.
New Character Creation
Everyone must start here. It is more important than knowing the verbs that exist, because, in order to even log into the GemStone universe and use the verbs, you still must first create a character. Play.net gives a very basic process in creating a character, but gives little insight as to what those choices will mean. Creating a character involves a few basic steps and choices that will affect a character throughout his career.
First, when you log in on www.play.net you will be given two choices -- Choose a character to play and Select client. The first choice will be to Create a new character. The second choice gives 3 choices, though it lists 4. These are StormFront, eScape, Wizard, and Java. Likely the best choice for a new character is StormFront, however, this client does need to be downloaded. In any case, when making a character this choice is irrelevant until the character is created. When a choice is made, hit the orange button labelled, "Create Character."
The first step would be to chose a gender. Both genders are equal mechanically, so the choice of gender is solely a roleplaying choice. Click on the image of the gender you prefer.
- Bards use music combined with elemental and mental magics to enhance themselves, their party, and defeat their enemies. Bards are skilled in Loresinging, a skill which can reveal the properties of magical items to a higher degree of accuracy than any other system.
- Clerics focus only on spiritual magic and are very strong against the undead - though less so if the cleric is aligned to a dark god, known as Lornon Arkati in Elanthia. Clerics are capable of bringing dead characters back to life.
- Empaths are the only profession with spells related to healing other characters. They also use mental and spiritual magic to be formidable fighters.
- Monks are experts in unarmed combat, preferring to use their bare hands and feet to combat their foes. They use mental magic to aid their fists and allow them to wear light armor or none at all.
- Paladins are adept physical warriors with access to spiritual magic. Paladins are the only profession capable of wearing heavy armor and still be able to cast spells effectively.
- Rangers are lovers of the outdoors and have many spiritual magics related to that love. They are quite capable of foraging and they can imbue various elemental and natural resistances to non-metallic armor.
- Rogues are skilled at stealth combat and locksmithing, though some rogues neglect these skills in favor of increased combat or magical abilities.
- Sorcerers use both elemental and spiritual magic, and use them to perform what some would consider the darker arts: sorcery. Their powerful spells include demon summoning, necromancy, and various effects drawn from the two.
- Warriors are skilled in martial skills, fighting opponents in open combat with a fury unmatched by any other profession, though their access to magic is more limited than any other profession. Warriors can take physical punishment better than any other profession.
- Wizards are masters of elemental magic and are capable of crafting many magical items, including permanent enchantment bonuses to weapons, armor, and shields.
A character's race is less important to the character's career than their profession, however, a race will have a dramatic effect on the roleplaying opportunities that character possesses. For example, the dark elves are shunned by their light skin cousins and therefore are denied access to certain locations within the Elven Empire. Also, various statistic bonuses each race possesses make them more suited for certain professions.
A culture choice should be made when the player is more informed of what role each culture plays within Elanthia. If a character selects "none" for culture, the choice can be made at a later date. As a new player to GemStone IV, it is recommended to chose "none" for now.
The appearance of your character is decided next. These choices can, however, be changed in the future via various tents within the cities of Elanthia or by a GameMaster run non-player character that specializes in modifying a character's features. You can choose your age, complexion, distinguish mark, eye color, face style, hair color, height, nose style. Some special items also provide a unique feature.
The statistics of a character will follow that character for the rest of his/her career, so balancing your stat allocation is very important to get right. Statistics have wide-reaching effects, and the mathematics involved are not entirely trivial. As the stats can be re-assigned up to five times within the first 30 days of creating a character with no penalty, the best thing to do is to make a reasonably informed attempt at assigning your statistics and start playing! However, do not forget to finally investigate the effects of all the statistics and place yours to values you can live with for the rest of your career before the first thirty days are up! Although it is possible to alter your stats after the first thirty days (with a 'fixstat' potion), these are expensive and difficult to acquire. You probably want to consult experienced players for the final decisions.
Each time a character attains a new level, each statistic may increase (up to a maximum of 100). This statistic growth rate is primarily determined by the statistic itself, the professional growth rate for each statistic, and a small racial statistical growth modifier. However, for the purposes of new players and simplicity, we largely omit discussion of statistical growth here. The reason for the omission is that statistical growth mainly becomes important as a character reaches higher levels, which will not happen in the first 30 days. However, for the final statistical assignment at the end of the 30 days, growth rates should be considered in some detail. The topic is so complex that nearly all players, even the most experienced ones, use a computer program to assist in these calculations (usually called a 'stat cruncher'). Please keep these points in mind after creating the character before the final assignments and research the topic more thoroughly in the mean time.
Statistics have mainly two components: the raw statistics itself (the stat) and the statistical bonus (the bonus). Nominally, the statistical bonus is calculated as bonus=(stat-50)/2; this bonus is then modified (positively or negatively) by the racial bonus modifier giving the final bonus. Racial selection does not directly affect the raw stat itself. Some systems use the stat value while others use the bonus value.
The base-value of a stat itself can range from a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 100; there are possible ways within the game to go lower and higher than these numbers (e.g. if you died, the stat may temporarily decrease, or if you have a special magical item called an 'enhacive', it might increase further beyond its normal value even past 100). In any case, considering the stat range of 20 to 100, this means the nominal bonus ranges from -15 to +25. (Plug the values of stat=20 and stat=100 to the above bonus equation.) This base range for the bonus puts the racial bonus modifiers range from -15 to +15 into context. That is to say, if one selected the minimum stat (20 corresponding to a bonus of -15) and the racial modifier for that stat was the worst possible (-15), the final bonus could be as low as -30, a very horrible number. Conversely, if one selected the maximum stat (100 corresponding to a bonus of +25) and the racial modifier for that stat was the best possible (+15), the final bonus could be as high as +40, an extremely good value.
Because a character cannot allocate the stat of 100 to each of the 10 statistics, one then tries to balance their gains with their losses. Let's consider the example of a halfling and the statistics of Constitution ('con') and Strength ('str'). Halflings have a +10 to con and a -15 to str; that is, they have among the best bonus to con and among the worst penalty to str. Even a stat of 100 in str, the halfling can only have a total bonus of +10 to str (25-15=10); on the other hand, placing a mid-line value of 50 for the con stat results also in a final bonus of +10 to con (0+10=10). It is easy to see in this example the enormous effect of how statistics couple with racial selection, since despite showing a 50 point difference in the allocation to two example stats resulted in identical bonuses! The example is not meant to imply that the best decision would be to put higher values in all the stats where their race has a negative bonus and vice versa; however, it does show the concept of applying some balance in the assignments.
What Stats Do
The most important factor in allocating the statistics is of course what the individual statistic do. The chosen profession and intended career path greatly influence which statistics a given character will need to be good at, and which statistics may be of less importance! One effect of the str statistics is to finally determine the character's physical Attack Strength with a melee weapon; for a warrior swinging a sword, this is quite important; for a wizard planning to cast spells, it may be irrelevant. Strength also affects encumbrance, which can generally be considered important for all characters. Below is a table summarizing the basic aspects of all the stats; readers are encouraged to find more details on the individual statistic pages.
- Statistic: Which statistic is discussed.
- Type: Which general category the statistic is classified under.
- Prime: Which professions the statistics is considered a Prime Requisite.
- Main systems: A selection of some important systems the statistic effects; it is not fully inclusive.
|Strength||Physical||Monk, Paladin, Warrior||Melee AS, Ranged RT, Encumbrance,|
|Constitution||Physical||Warrior||Hitpoints, Encumbrance, Disease, Criticals|
|Dexterity||Physical||Ranger, Rogue||Spell Aiming, Ranged AS, Melee RT, Picking Locks, Disarming Traps, Critical weighting, Ambushing, Skinning|
|Agility||Physical||Monk, Rogue||Melee RT, Physical DS|
|Aura||Hybrid||Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard||Elemental CS, Elemental TD, Spirit, Elemental Mana|
|Logic||Mental||Wizard||Experience Pool, Experience absorption, Mental CS|
|Intuition||Mental||Cleric, Ranger||Detecting Traps|
|Wisdom||Mental||Cleric, Empath, Paladin, Sorcerer||Spiritual CS, Spiritual TD, Spiritual Mana|
|Influence||Mental||Bard, Empath||Trading, Mental mana|
A character's statistics directly determines the number of training points available, which in turn affects how many skills they can train. The calculation is identical for all professions, except that the Prime Requisite statistics for a profession are multiplied by 2 in the formula. A statistic's Type determines whether it affects Physical training points, Mental training points, or both.
Choosing skills will determine how your character performs in combat or performing various other tasks such as disarming traps, picking locks, foraging, trading, skinning, and more. The amount of skills a character can chose is determined by their stats, which determines how many training points a character gets. Generally, the more training points, the better, however, generally having a high number of training points at low levels means that your stats will not grow as much as someone who willingly sacrifices the extra training points.
A character's name should be fitting for a medieval setting. It must be unique, and the name database has rarely been purged in the game's more than twenty year history, meaning many of your first attempts at selecting a name may report the name is already taken. Your selected name identifies your character within the game, is shown automatically to other players, and can never be changed without creating a new character (unless your name is especially out-of-genre). The naming system will also reject names with sequences of vowels or consonants that are too long, since the idea is the name should be pronounceable and not gibberish. Long or short, use your imagination to create something memorable you can identify with!
After creating your character you can choose to start out in one of three cities: the frontier town of Wehnimer's Landing, the snowy tundra of Icemule Trace, or the shining elven city Ta'Vaalor. Each of these cities as its own guide with specific locations, while this guide will generally introduce you to navigating the Gemstone universe.
- A beginner's guide to Wehnimer's Landing
- A beginner's guide to Icemule Trace
- A beginner's guide to Ta'Vaalor
As characters adventure in Elanthia they gain experience, which earns them training points and eventually levels. Training points are earned continuously so that one does not need to wait until they reach a level to train, but your level does determine how much you can train in each skill. The most common way to earn experience is by hunting creatures, but other tasks such as guild work or healing also earn experience. There are two experience pools, temporary and permanent. When one first earns experience it is placed in the temporary pool, and then converted to the permanent pool every pulse. (Think of the pools as short-term and long-term memory.) The size of the temporary pool is limited so adventurers will rest in a town between hunts to turn their experience permanent.
The First Level
Your first task as an adventurer is to learn the lay of the land. Explore your town using DIRECTION (verb) to find the key shops and places of interest. Every town will have some places for you to buy gear, sell treasure, get healed, and interact with fellow adventurers. Once you have explored all the town highlights you will have learned enough to advance to your first training (F2P accounts will have to do more work, like do the sprite quests and deliver a few messages, or visit the local Raging Thrak).
The First Few Levels
Now that you know where to go, the adventure begins! You start with some basic equipment, and must pay off the initial debt to the town. For your first three levels you are eligible to deliver messages between certain townspeople. These tasks will reward you with experience and silver while not requiring you to leave the safety of the town gates, and will familiarize yourself with the town's layout as well. Each starting town will also have a few low-level hunting areas for you to engage in basic combat. Review your profession guide for basic combat strategy, but do not forget to LOOT your kills. Each town will have a furrier, gemshop, and pawnshop for your basic treasure. If you find something curious or unique, you can take it these merchants and APPRAISE its value. You can MARK items you do not want to sell as unsellable and store them in your locker. More intelligent creatures carry chests that can opened for a fee from the local locksmith or by a talented fellow adventurer. You should deposit your earnings in the local bank for safe keeping. Each town has a popular gathering spot (or spots) for adventurers not on the hunt, usually at a super node.
The basic mechanics of combat in GemstoneIV rely on attack strength (AS), defensive strength (DS), casting strength (CS), and target defense (TD). Your strength in each measure will be based on partially on your stats but mostly on your training, so that as you gain levels you become more powerful. You can modify your relative focus on offense or defense using STANCE. A common hunting strategy is to wait for the creature to attack you, switch to offensive stance and attack, and then switch back into defensive stance before the creature can attack again (known as "stance dancing"). Not all attacks require an offensive stance, however.
Engaging a creature in combat will compare your attack strength versus your foe's defensive strength, plus a consideration for their armor (either Attack versus Defense or Cast versus Armor) and a random 100-sided die roll. The attack hits if the combat resolution exceeds 100, and will cause more damage the greater the resolution is above the 100 threshold. For example, consider the following attack:
Here the attack resolved to a final roll of 276, a significant attack. Each profession will have different combat styles, so please refer to your profession-specific guide for more details on combat strategy.
Elanthia is a community, and as such, you will do better if you observe a few rules of behavior. In addition to the tips below, each town has a NPC that dispenses more helpful advice (and sitting through their speech will earn you some extra experience).
Do not yell or say the same thing over and over again. Do not perform the same action over and over again, either. This behavior may gain you some attention, but it will not be friendly attention. If you need help, ask once or twice. If no one hears you, find another area and ask someone else. When all else fails, remember that you can always go to Silverwood Manor and ring the bell. Someone will hear your call and if available, come to assist you.
When hunting, do not swing or cast at a creature if someone is already engaged in battle. If you are both hunting alone, you can ask the person to join you, and you can hunt together. You will both gain experience (in fact there is a small bonus for being in a group), you will share in the loot, and you may find a new friend this way!
When engaging in conversation, it is best to speak about things specific to Elanthia. Do not speak about last night's baseball game or about your upcoming job interview. If you must speak to someone in an OOC (out of character) manner you should WHISPER to the person so that your conversation is not disruptive to others who may be listening. In addition, you can let the other person know that you are speaking out-of-character by WHISPERing OOC to them.
Finally there is a more formal system for dealing with disruptive behavior (either yours or others). The justice system details the charge, arrest, and punishment system for each town. However this system is infrequently used and only as a measure of last resort.
With a few levels under your belt you can start to explore more of what Elanthia has to offer. You will start out with some basic gear, including a weapon and armor based on your initial training and some basic containers. Your starting town will have a variety of NPC shops that sell stock gear, as well as a few player run shops that sell more unique and powerful items. Occasionally travelling merchants will visit town or festivals will occur, providing access to new or limited items. Some web sites also host sales for players without in-game shops. You can customize your character's gear as you see fit - the possibilities are endless! Remember as you progress in training that you can use enchanted weapons and armor at twice your level (e.g., you can use a +10 item at level five).
Each town will have a branch of the Adventurer's Guild, the surest way to earn experience and only source of bounty points. The local taskmaster can assign a variety of jobs, from slaying particularly dangerous creatures to collecting certain herbs to rescuing lost children. Do not worry, though, the taskmaster will only assign jobs relative to your level.
Eventually your adventurers will lead you to a more powerful foe, and you will die. With luck, a friend or some kind stranger will find you and drag your dead body to those who can heal you and then restore your life. Clerics and empaths often keep a watch for fallen adventurers and can rescue and heal them with the right training. In order to minimize the Death's Sting you should look into getting some deeds from the Goddess Lorminstra. Any adventurer you find will know how to point you in the right direction to obtain them. Or, you can explore your town and research the mysteries for yourself.
At level three every adventurer is eligible to pledge for one of three societies. Each society has its own method for advancement and grants their members some bonuses to AS, DS and TD in addition to other unique abilities. While some societies are a better fit for certain professions than others, everyone will benefit from mastering a society. You are only able to switch societies once (for free), so be sure to investigate each society and choose carefully. Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights and pitfalls of each society:
The Order of Voln is dedicated to purging the scourge of the minions of Luukos from the lands. The maximum benefits to AS and DS are +26 against all opponents, with an additional +13 AS and CS against undead and a maximum TD benefit of +13 against all foes. Voln members also have the abilities to bless weapons and transport their entire group to a safe location when in mortal danger. However, using the abilities from the Order of Voln costs favor, which must be gained by killing the undead. This requirement can be troublesome for those who do not enjoy hunting the undead (e.g., ranged snipers, since the undead are generally very perceptive and are often puncture resistant) and due to the absence of undead creatures in certain level ranges.
The Council of Light is a society about which one can say very little. Membership is considered an in-game secret with penalties for violating this oath. However, the benefits of membership include considerable power. Advancement requires completing certain tasks each rank.
The Guardians of Sunfist are devoted to eradicating the Grimswarm. The maximum benefits to members of this society are relatively modest for AS and DS at +15, but members also receive weighting toward critical hits for attacks and protection from critical hits in defense. Members may also receive a maximum of +20 TD and a maximum of +10 ranks to the Climbing, Swimming and Survival skills as well as allowing members to eat healing herbs quickly, ignore the effects of minor wounds and return to town quickly in emergency situations. Members of the Guardians of Sunfist are also able to access warcamps, which provide alternative hunting grounds. Using these benefits typically costs members both mana and stamina. One major drawback of joining the Guardians of Sunfist is the relatively short duration of the sigils. Young adventurers may find it difficult to pay the cost of maintaining the sigils throughout a hunt while older adventurers may find that their sigils may fall at inconvenient times.