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GemStone IV Combat Reference Guide

Combat Tools

One-Handed Edged Polearms Ambush
One-Handed Blunt Brawling Multi-Striking
Two-Handed Weapons Runestaves Bolt Spells
Two Weapon Combat Voln Warding Spells
Ranged Guildskills Effect Spells
Thrown Combat Manuevers Companion Creatures

One-Handed Edged

Training in one-handed edged weapons allows a combatant familiarity with bladed weapons ranging in size from short knives to longswords, eschewing the pure power of much larger weapons for defensibility and speed. Easily one of the most common weapon styles, one-handed edged combat usually features a blade held in the right hand and a shield in the left.

One-Handed Blunt

One-handed blunt weapons exhibit a large variety of shapes and styles, featuring whips, maces, crowbills, and even the deadly ball and chain. Their purpose in combat is to deal crushing damage, although some classes are capable of puncturing. A majority of one-handed blunt weapons combatants carry a shield in their off-hand to help them defend themselves.

Two-Handed Weapons

Two-handed weapons contain the massive brethren of both one-handed edged and blunt weapons. They are a diverse group that contains katanas, mauls, claidhmores, and quarterstaves among others. The massive size of the weapons wielded by those trained in two-handed weapons combat forces their users to forego the protection of shields. They rely upon the immense power of their weapons to finish off a foe before it can exploit their less-formidable defenses.

Two Weapons Combat

Two Weapons Combat is a style in which a combatant holds a weapon with either hand. Swinging two weapons results in a deficit of defense that one would normally garner from a shield, but practitioners of the form reap the benefits of having two quick attacks against an opponent. Another form of weapons training, be it edged or blunt, is required to have full use of both weapons. Two weapons combat users suffer from slightly lower speed than one-handed fighters, so many favor smaller blades. The main gauche, a small parrying weapon, can be wielded in the left hand to boost a two weapons user's defenses slightly.

Ranged

Ranged weapons users make use of bows to assault their opponents. Though some variation exists in the bow family, which includes standard bows--longbows, short bows, composite bows--and crossbows, the principle behind ranged weaponry remains the same: practitioners carry quivers full of bolts or arrows that they fire from their weapon. Crossbows take time to load, but fire more quickly than standard bows, whereas a skilled archer can ready arrows with lightning speed, but must take time to ensure their arrows hit the mark. Crossbow users will find that kneeling whilst firing will lend extra steadiness and power to their bolts. As neither choice of ranged weapon style provides an archer with much in the way of defense, many ranged attackers make use of stealth to increase their chances of survival.

Thrown

Those proficient in thrown weapons are even more rare than archers. Most weapons can be hurled, but only a few types are ideal for throwing. Many thrown weapons users carry a shield in one hand for defense, and maintain a supply of throwing weapons that they hurl at the enemy. It is a good idea to have multiple throwing weapons, as some may lodge in an opponent or fly too far off their mark to easily recover. There are some rare magical weapons of the thrown variety that can return to their user, and even rarer are some that produce a limitless supply of unstable thrown weapons for their owners.

Polearms

Polearms are slow, powerful melee weapons that have exceptional reach. Some require two hands to wield, so users must either rely on lighter one-handed spears so that they can manage an off-hand shield, or resort to parrying and boosting their defense through other means. Polearms can also be used to trip or charge at one's opponent, but either technique can exhaust a polearm combatant if overused.

Brawling

Brawling is a form of close-in melee combat that generally takes advantage of fists and other body parts as weapons. Most brawlers utilize fist weapons, such as claws, paingrips, and fist-scythes, to cause more damage to their opponents. When engaging a foe, brawlers rely on speed and strength more than extensive defenses, and often make use of Combat Maneuvers that suit their close-range styles.

Runestaves

Runestaves are a special defensive weapon handled by spellcasters. They can be swung at an opponent like a quarterstaff, but are not intended for offensive purposes. Runestaves are unique not only in that they can parry magical bolts and ranged weaponry directed at the user, but also that their defensive abilities are derived from how well-trained their holder is in the mystical arts. In the hands of an average warrior or rogue, a runestaff is little more than a pretty stick; when grasped by a talented mage, it can embody formidable defenses.

Any skill in magical arts will give one access to a runestaff's defensive benefits, but a total of 8 ranks of any magic skill per level will provide a defense equivalent to that derived from 1 rank of two-handed weapons skill per level. Higher amounts of magical skill will provide even more defense. There is no theoretical limit to the amount of defense that can be generated in this way.

Voln

The Great Spirit Voln imbues his chosen servants with physical prowess to aid in their goal of turning back the ever-growing tide of Undeath. Some skills, such as Symbol of Holiness, may only be used as an offensive weapon against the undead. Others, such as preternatural abilities to Throw, Kick, and Punch one's opponent, may be used against the living. The use of such physical attacks is aided by training in Brawling.

Guildskills

The Rogue Guild and Warrior Guild of Elanthia currently offer training programs that afford their members special martial abilities. Some of these are more effective in combat than others, and a few mimic skills available to the general populace through training in Combat Maneuvers.

Combat Maneuvers

Combat Maneuvers from the Combat Maneuver List (CML) can be learned, over time, by investing skill points gained through training the Combat Maneuvers (CM) skill. While the skill boosts a character's abilities in a general fashion, providing bonuses to attack and defense as well as some protection against opponents' maneuvers, the Combat Maneuver List allows access to a vast supply of special skills that can enhance performance in battle. Profession limits access to some maneuvers, but there are a number of skills usable by all.

Each rank of Combat Maneuvers skill provides one point that can be allocated to learn specific skills from the CML.

Ambush

Ambushing an opponent can be done in several different ways. Many take advantage of the element of surprise by combining Ambush with Hiding, which can take a foe unawares and limit its ability to defend against a quick blow. Others utilize the skill in the open as a means of targeting their attacks. More training in the Ambush skill will allow a combatant to focus with ease on where his or her blows ought to land. High agility and/or dexterity will increase the speed of the ambush. More Ambushing skill relative to the target's level will result in decreased Defensive Strength (DS) for that target.

Multi-Striking

Multi-striking allows those skilled in Multi-Opponent Combat to unleash a flurry of blows at their enemies. At first, multi-striking is unfocused, meaning that it will attack multiple enemies in the immediate area if any are available. As one's proficiency with Multi-Opponent Combat grows, the ability to hit more opponents or to target a series of strikes against a single opponent will grow apace.

With 5 ranks of Multi-Opponent Combat skill, a character can attack two different creatures at once. Consult the chart below for additonal strike thresholds.

5-14 Ranks : 2 swings
15-34 Ranks: 3 swings
35-59 Ranks: 4 swings
60-99 Ranks: 5 swings
100-154 Ranks: 6 swings
155+ Ranks: 7 swings

It is also possible to attack a single opponent multiple times with a focused strike. Two swings are possible at 30 ranks; Consult the chart below for additonal strike thresholds.

30-54 Ranks: 2 swings
55-89 Ranks: 3 swings
90-134 Ranks: 4 swings
135-190 Ranks: 5 swings
190+ Ranks: 6 swings

Bolt Spells

Bolt spells, which include the subset of ball spells, are physical manifestations of a caster's magical powers, hurled at an opponent, and thus can be dodged. Ball spells are generally more advanced forms of bolts that will explode on impact, striking an opponent multiple times or hitting nearby foes. This capability can be enhanced through training in Multi-Opponent Combat. The strength of bolt spells in general is enhanced by a caster's Dexterity, among other factors.

Warding Spells

Warding spells sometimes have a physical component, but they strike at an opponent through nonphysical means, attempting to affect the target's spirit to generate a damaging effect. Thus, they must be resisted by sheer strength of will or luck. Possessing strong Aura or Wisdom will heighten the power of one's warding spells, depending on the spell.

Effect Spells

Some spells are used in combat that do not directly affect an opponent, but are nonetheless integral to combat. Elemental Waves can knock an opponent off his feet, while such potent and destructive magics as Implosion and Meteor Swarm can summon localized catastrophes to complicate--or end--a foe's life. Not all effect spells are so overt. Some, like Darkness, simply make it more difficult for combatants to hit one another.

Companion Creatures

Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, Empaths, and Rangers all have companions at their command, but a Ranger's animal companion can bring not inconsiderable trouble to that Ranger's enemies. They will fight at a Ranger's command.



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