If you have not done so, you will need to create a GemStone IV account. To sign up for a new account, click here.
Once you have an account, you will be able to do several things: post on and read the forums, view important announcements about Elanthia, and most importantly, log in to the game!
Your character's profession is his or her special job in Elanthia, and largely defines the skills and specialties available to you during your time in Elanthia. Although your profession does not directly dictate your roleplay, there are some abilities that only certain professions can access. Alchemy, for example, is limited to Clerics, Empaths, Sorcerers, and Wizards, while certain Combat Maneuvers are only usable by Rogues or Warriors.
Professions also provide enhancements to a character's attributes bonuses. These are referenced in more detail on the individual professions' pages.
Choosing a Race
Your character's race heavily affects your roleplay, as well as the mechanical strengths and weaknesses of your character. Each race is distinct and has its own unique history. While your profession affects the cost and availability of skills, race will directly affect your statistics, and therefore the number of training points you can use to spend on skills.
All races have their strengths and weaknesses, but certain races possess extraordinary bonuses that make them well suited to particular professions. Giantmen, Dwarves, and Half-Krolvin, for example, make excellent Warriors due to their high Strength and Constitution. The exceptional Dexterity of Halflings makes them extraordinary as Wizards. Dark Elves are gifted with magic in general, reflected by their enhanced Wisdom and Aura.
It is possible for most races to do well at any given profession, yet some will find an easier path than others.
Because GemStone is a roleplaying game, your chosen race can carry some stigma that will affect your playing experience. Dark Elves are widely loathed in most cities, and may meet with higher shop prices in the West, or complete exclusion from some services in the Elven Nations. Halfling players, in turn, may be snubbed by Dark Elves who view them as frippery (or worse, lunch.) In Human-controlled lands, most other races are viewed with some level and variety of disdain.
Races also feature subsets known as cultures.
Some races are homogenous: for example the professions of one's ancestors largely
determine Aelotoi cultures.
Other cultures often feature surprising variety. A
Human of the Tehir clans
comes from a vastly different lifestyle than one from Hendor or
elsewhere in the Turamzyrrian
Empire. You are encouraged to examine the different cultures before
choosing one. While you do not need to choose your character's culture
right away, the selection is permanent once completed.
Race and profession are permanent features of your character. Starting
out is not easy for any profession, and frequently class-defining skills
will take some time and leveling to develop. If you are certain that you
are dissatisfied with either your race or profession and wish to change,
you may reroll your character at the nearest inn.
Rerolling is not a choice to be taken lightly. Your character is essentially reset, starting from zero, and you will have to begin anew.
Customizing Your Appearance
Many combinations of features are available to your character. Some of these features are available to everyone; others, like pointed ears, are limited to certain races. You can have the character manager assign you a random set of features if they are unimportant to you.
Features are not permanent in GemStone. In addition to pavilions across the game where you can select new basic features at any time, there are also merchants called feature alterers who allow access to custom descriptions for your character. Your inventory can be altered in a like fashion.
Attributes, or 'stats', are the mechanical lifeblood of your character. Unlike skills, which are selected and purchased with training points, attributes define your character. They are set only once, during character creation, and grow throughout the life of your character.
The mathematically minded may want to spend time reading documentation and
seeking the 'perfect' combination of stats for their character, but the average
player will have little trouble using the auto-assigned attributes available
through the character creation system.
After attributes are assigned, they are modified by and will grow differently according to your profession and race.
Attributes, also, are largely permanent, and after your first 30 days it will not be possible to change them without rerolling your character.
Skills and Training
Skill training allows you to set your unique mark upon a character. Although the skills you train in are integral to your character's makeup, what you train in is less important than being consistent in your choices. Dabbling in a skill here and there in GemStone IV is much the same as doing so in the real world: you will end up with mediocre abilities in many subjects, but without mastery of anything.
In Elanthia, it is essential that your character pushes forward
and masters skills, as your foes will certainly be doing so.
Some skills, like Climbing and Swimming,
will provide only a negligible bonus if trained past a certain
point. Others, like Spell
Aiming for Wizards and Weapons
Training for non-casters, are lifetime investments.
GemStone IV is unusual in that skills are not always purchased immediately as a character gains a level. Training points toward your character's next level are accrued as your character earns experience, allowing you to get a leg up on skills for the next level.
Skills can be trained by checking into an inn or by using the GOALS command.
Some skills are essential for a given profession, and as such can (and should) be trained more than one time a level. A Sorcerer would be lax in training with only a single jaunt into Spell Research each level, but might not want to indulge in Shield Use at all. In contrast, a Warrior would be foolish to expend too much effort in learning spells while forsaking Shield training.
Certain skills that your profession is comfortable with may not suit your personal playing style. As playing style is a completely subjective medium, it would be wise to consult with a Mentor, your profession page, or experienced players before making precipitous decisions about your skill training.
Normally, skills are difficult to untrain once you have selected them. Small changes in skills can be accomplished in a matter of hours, but forgetting an entire skill might take weeks or months to manage. GemStone IV is not without leeway for new players. During your first 30 days of playing, you can make instant changes to your skills at any time. This allows you to explore a wide variety of skillsets as a new player before finally settling on your chosen path.
Furthermore, during the Festival of Oleani each Spring, a FIXSKILLS is granted. Using the fixskills verb will allow you to instantly align your actual skills with your skill goals. This allows you to repair any major mistakes in your training, or to choose a new path entirely.
What's In a Name?
At the end of the character creation process, you will be asked to name your character. Characters names should be original and in keeping with a fantasy environment. Keep in mind that science fiction is not fantasy, and as such, names like Robocop and Jeanlucpicard may earn you a mandatory name change as well as some strange looks.