Faegil Clanner's Bard Guide
The following advice is my own personal opinion of how a bard should be created. There are many different opinions on this subject and Im not saying that mine is the best advice, but its pretty darn good. This advice is based on my own experiences and some feedback from some very good people especially Dartaghan, in the game to create this guide. Good luck in creating your new bard and I hope this guide serves you well.
Rolling: Its more than a random event
Training: Flexibility is the key to long term viability
Advice: All new players need it
Singing: The bards innate ability
Experience: Sharing is the thing
Rolling: It's more then a random event
First thing you will see in the Character Manager is a set of 10 numbers. Their starting values are weighted so that the first three numbers can be as high as 90, the next three up to 60, the next 3 up to 50 and the last number up to a 100.
When you finally get 4 numbers above 80, add up the total of all 10 rolls. This total should be over 620 if you want an outstanding character, and I wouldnt settle for anything less than 600 ever. Most bards starting out new without a supporting family will want to start with 4 numbers that are 80 or greater and 3 numbers that are 55 or better.
Put the highest number in Discipline, next highest in Strength, then Reflexes, then Aura. Put the three 55-60s, in Intelligence, Constitution and Logic. Put the next best numbers in Charisma and Dexterity. Put the lowest one in Wisdom. Aura and Logic are prime stats for bards and will not only get a boost of +10 but also have a faster rate of stat gain. All stats have the potential to reach 100.
Stat gain rate is very much profession dependent. Discipline gains slowly yet is a determinant of both Physical and Mental Training points, so the highest number goes to Discipline. Higher numbers in Strength for attack strength, Reflex for defense, and Aura for mana and both Physical and Mental Training points, will allow your bard to survive the lower levels. By the time this young bard reaches level 30 their Aura and Strength, the two stats that matters the most to a bard will be 100.
Bards derive their mana points from their Aura stat. The best you can do is 3 mana points per level with an Aura of 100. As long as you put a 80 or better in Aura, you will do fine since the starting Aura will be boosted by +10 <Spirit points are also derived from the Aura Stat>. The Strength stat bonus plus the racial stat bonus is added to your training in Edged Weapons skill and that is the bards Attack Strength <AS>. Reflex stat and racial bonus are added to your Defensive Strength <DS>. There are eight races to choose from. The Giantman gives you the best AS with a +15 to strength, but suffers -5 on reflex, aura and dexterity. The Human and Half-Elf are good all round choices. The Sylvankind is an ok choice. The dwarf is not that good if you wish to be a singing bard <I will go into this in further detail later>, but good other than that. The Elf is a bit on the weak side, and a Halfling is the worst choice as he suffers a -20 strength.
Training: Flexibility is the key to long term viability.
Most skills require a combination of Physical and Mental Training points. Higher stats means more TPs with a possible max of 60 MTPs and 60 PTPs. Thats with a 100 in every Stat. The above suggested initial stat distribution will provide about 42 PTPs and 36 MTPs. Because some of the lower numbers are in Stats that have the faster rate of gain, the available TPS will grow rapidly.
The Physical Training points are calculated as follows:
Aura + ST + RE + DI + DE + CO / 10. The Mental TPs as follows: Aura + DI + LO + IN + CH + WI / 10
You can also convert training points at an exchange rate of 2 for 1 if you need to. Now that you have rolled your character, its time to train. I will make some suggestions, but I urge you to train as you wish, to make your character the way you wish to play it.
Train in the following every train:
Edge Weapon (Double Train)
You will have training points left at this point. Now train as you think you would like your character to be. You will need climbing and swimming at some point, also you may want to train to a good mana sharing bard, as this helps you get spells, or get healed. You might want to train every level in armor so that you can wear better armor, some double train for this. You might wish to double train in shields, many do this. You may want some first aid, so you can skin better, or tend your wounds better. You may wish to train in stalk and hide with ambush, so that you can attack from hiding. Or you may wish to train in picking and disarming. It is completely up to you and how you wish to play your character.
Advice: All new players need it.
Now that you have rolled up the bard of your hearts desire you will want to use the ADV command and visit all those places. Along the way you not only learn more about Gemstone you will also earn enough EXP to train for level 1. Then start running errands for the clerk in the office at Moot Hall. Try to discover the various locations that the clerk sends you without ESPing or yelling for directions. Yelling and ESPing for such directions is consider rude and is very annoying to others and part of this errand thing is for you to learn how to get around on your own and becoming self reliant. Never ever push the Call GM button to ask where the runner is or for other directions. Thats not what that buttons there for. Do push it if you need help with a system bug or problems caused by bugs or system slowdowns and crashes. And to report abuse of game mechanics by thieves and other inappropriate behavior by players. Remember we have players of all ages here, from preteens to graybeards so use "G" rate language at all times.
About now you should be well on your way to level 2. Make sure you go to the temple and see the goddess behind the tapestry. Look for the black arch. Listen carefully to the folks behind the tapestry. Deeds are a must before you get to level 2. Everyone gets 5 free deaths till they reach level 2. Then each death costs deeds. If you no have deeds, you will not return from the dead. So gets lots of deeds before level 2. Never ever have less than 3 deeds. The best way to pay for deeds is using cheap gems and stones. If you must, you can use silvers. For the very first deed at level one, a few hundred silvers should do it. Each addition deed will cost more. You can with a bit of trial and error discover the formula for how much more those additional deeds cost. The level of the player is also a component of that cost. This formula seems to work till you reach level 6 and/or have more than 6 deeds. Then the deeds cost more than this formula calls for.
Singing: The bards innate ability.
The bard has an innate ability to "sing" to items. The following is some information that I received from Lady Tanna when I first started to sing, and it has been very helpful, so I shall pass this on and credit her with this section of the guild.
Question: How do I sing to an object?
Answer: Hold the object in your right hand and use the SING command in this manner:
sing Object here that I see,;Tell your purpose now to me.
Use a semi-colon between each line of your song in order to get a song that will appear like this:
Object here that I see,
Tell your purpose now to me.
Dont forget that loresinging is magic in nature and therefore uses up manna. Keep an eye on your manna whenever you are singing so you dont hurt your nerves overextending yourself.
Question: Why do all the objects I sing to tell me they weigh a pound and are worth about 1000 coins?
Answer: The <object> weighs about a pound and is worth 1000 coins" is what you get when one of several things is happening:
1. The item really dislikes you and is lying through its non-existent teeth.
2. You arent incorporating the proper keywords in your song.
3. The item really is under a pound and worth 1000 silvers. (Happens sometimes.) ::chuckle::
4. You are dealing with a magic item, or a complicated custom item and you just arent old enough for your voice to work on that item yet.
If number 1 is your problem, you might have a charisma that is too low for you to be an effective lore singer. I used to get that message a lot before I retrained and went from 50 Charisma to over 90. Now, I dont see it much anymore. (Actually, I havent seen it since I passed level 5.)
If number 2 is your problem, be specific about what you want to know. Try looking for keywords (and dont ask me for a list - there really isnt a list and if there ever was, the gods would probably change the list.)
If number 4 is your problem, just be patient. As you age, your singing will get better.
Question: What are the keywords?
Answer: You are going to have to work this out yourself.
I have a few words that always work, other words that only work sometimes, and there have been times Ive sung nonsense rhymes and gotten fantastic information. My best hint is to ask what you want to know. If you want to know weight, ask the item what its weight is. If you want to know value, ask the item what its value is. So on and so forth.
Question: Whats the formula for singing?
Answer: I had an older bard teach me a "formula" only to find out that doing the exact opposite of what was recommended gets me perfectly good information. Lore singing seems to be an art, not a science. At best I can offer some hints on things that have worked for me and you can try them and see if they work for you.
Minimum "singing" is probably a couplet song. Some say the lines have to rhyme, I havent found that to be strictly true. But to sing a stone for a quickie value check Id probably sing something like this:
Sing Topaz of a bluish hue;Sing your weight and your value!
The topaz will then "sing" or vibrate back something like "under a pound and worth less than 10 silvers."
It generally works best to start your singing rounds by addressing the item by its functional name. Tap the item using what you think is its functional name before singing - for instance "tap handaxe" and see if you manage to tap the item. Sometimes its not as obvious as you might think. As an example, there is a gem called "lapis lazuli" which is identified by the name "lapis" not "lazuli".
Also, altered items might have the functional name lost somewhere in an elaborate description. For instance, you might be asked to sing to a "silvery mithril handaxe destroyer with a hilt made of genuine gnoll skin". On something like this Id tap first with "Handaxe" and if that didnt work try "Destroyer". Then sing something like this:
Sing Handaxe with a morbid grip;Hear the song now from my lip;Sing your weight now to me;Dispel now all mystery!
Verses after the initial verse dont seem to be dependent on using the functional name as the first word but I usually use it anyway. Singing multiple verses is highly recommended for a complicated magical item. Longer, four line verses can be used instead of two line couplets, but going over four lines doesnt seem to help as much as singing more than one verse per item.
Question: How accurate is the value you get from items you sing to?
Answer: If you are talking about whether or not bards can set the price for an item the answer is no. Market, what people will pay, is what determines what an object is "worth".
The value you may get from an object can be one of many things. Sometimes, youll get the value of what you could sell it for at the pawnshop. Gems, you get roughly the value of what the gemshop owner will pay you. Also, keep in mind you will get an average value on most gems. The GemShop owner can offer considerably more or less depending on his demand that day or the quality of your gem.
Eventually youll start dealing with altered items. If an altered item wasnt sold by a merchant, but rather, just had its appearance changed by a player dealing directly with an alterer, its value might actually be very high on the open market - but singing to it will give you its old unaltered value. ie: "An icy blue imflass broadword dripping with blood" might sell on the open market for 45,000 silvers but singing to it will get you a value of 33,000 silvers.
If an item was sold by a merchant, singing to it will tell you what the merchant was selling it for. And, as everyone knows, a merchant item sold yesterday for 150,000 silvers can easily sell for 250,000 silvers the week after the merchant is gone.
Question: Someone told me you have to sing to objects more than one time.
Answer: Yes. Multiple singings are a must. As mentioned before, couplets are fine for most items, you can go to four line verses, but this is mainly for the purpose of show. Doing six lines or more per verse looks great, but I havent found that it improves the quality or quantity of the information you receive from the item. The best way to get more information from an object is to sing multiple verses.
For a mein broadsword you might try something like this:
Broadsword mine so sharp and true;Sing your weight and your value.
This is round one and should give you the weight of the sword and either what you would have to pay for it from a shop, or what youd get at the pawnshop. (Not what you could sell it for if you wanted to sell to another person in the lands.)
For round two on something like a simple mein broadsword you might try this:
Broadsword bright and broadsword bold;Can your purpose now be told?
You should get back something like "this is a weapon" (Yes, I know that sounds pretty basic, but youd be amazed at the weird stuff youll get brought to you as you get older. Purpose starts to become important. ::chuckle::)
Now, you can ask about magic:
Broadsword youve no need to hide;Have you magic deep inside?;Or enchantments strong and sweet?;Sing and make my song complete.
Magic metal items purchased from the shop will usually say something like "There is an aura of magic about the item" and when you are older youll start to get information like "The Broadsword carries a bonus of +15 over that of an ordinary broadsword." Anyway, there is the basic idea. A complicated item can take several verses of singing to glean all the information possible from the item.
Question: Do you have to follow the formula you posted?
Answer: Its not necessary to follow the same progression of songs that Ive listed, no.... Ive asked about magic first on many items and got an answer right away. I tend to go from simple to more complicated (weight and value first, purpose, then magic) just because that happens to be my style and for the first few levels of my training all I could get out of an object was weight, value and purpose. Thaerin showed me an interesting process of singing, then using the information from the response to compose her next verse: ie:
She got the weight on verse one so the next verse is:
Broadsword now thy weight be known;Can your purpose now be shown?
I have some trouble composing this way and occasionally get a repeat of the old information so I havent followed Thearins process but it seems to work well for her. As mentioned before, singing is a matter of personal style and lots of testing.
Question: I sing to an item and get no information at all. How come?
Answer: First of all. Make sure you are holding the item in your right hand while you are singing to it. If you have it in the wrong hand you will often get dead silence when singing to an item. If that isnt the problem, then you are just getting song failure.
Lore Singing failure takes many forms, either the object wont talk at all or it will lie to you, or youll get the message that "you learn nothing new about the object" before youve gotten the information you want. Objects tend to "lie" for a couple of different reasons as mentioned before - low charisma, or you arent old enough to convince an object to respond to your singing. If the latter is the case, just wait until you are older. Being told you "learn nothing new" is usually what happens when youve sung to an object successfully for a couple of verses but you arent old enough to get any further information from the object on subsequent verses.
I approach lore singing with caution and a great deal of humility. When an object begins to tell me more than before, I am both surprised and thrilled. As you age into your powers, youll find the objects become more responsive, dont worry about an occasional failure now unless you have an extremely low charisma that is likely to haunt you into your upper levels.
Question: I read that you should go somewhere private before you sing and not sing in front of other people. Is this true?
Answer: Ive heard people say that before, it isnt true. No doubt this rumor got started because someone observed a bard leave a room before singing to an item. There are several reasons a bard might leave a crowded room. Some bards dont want to share their techniques. Other bards arent very adept at composing lore songs and are embarrassed to have people watch. Some are simply shy. (An odd thing for a bard to be, I know, but it happens.) Occasionally its the client who wants to go somewhere private for a singing session. Some bards feel its rude to add to the noise in an already crowded room, or they dont like having the noise break their concentration when they are trying to sing. Occasionally, if Im in a hurry and dont feel like doing quality singing work (in other words, Im going to roll out a few tried and true but rather hackneyed verses) Ill move to a private area. It depends on how sensitive Im feeling about my singing that day. But going somewhere private is not a necessary part of effective singing.
Experience: Sharing is the thing
Gemstone uses a 10 level EXP curve. If the player is the same level as the monster than it is worth 100 Field Experience Points. For every level the monster is higher than the player, add 10 points. For every level the monster is lower than the player, subtract 10. Once the player is 10 levels above the monster then that player cannot earn experience from it. As your Field EXP reservoir fills up your state of mind will move from Clear as a Bell to muddle to Must Rest. You do not have to rest. You can keep hunting and suffer no ill effects even if it says your are state of mind says Must Rest. Just means that if your Head is at Must Rest, you will not gain more Field Experience from kills till your head gets back to at least Numbed. A percentage of the Field EXP is absorb once a minute and thats when the player actually gets credited with earning that experience. The fuller your head, the larger the chunk that is absorb each minute. So you can actually earn EXP faster by staying at numbed by staying out on the hunt than to run back to town to absorb. Though, you do absorb larger chunks of EXP if you are at a node like the Town Square. But hunting 100% of the time gets old eventually. Taking breaks when your head fills up and role-playing and just having fun with your fellow adventurers adds a lot to the Gemstone Experience.
Any amount of players grouped together can earn full experience from a single kill. If, they do approximatly thier share of damge to the kill. So, if a group of 8 players, each level 2, attacked a level 4 lesser orc and each player did 10 points or so of damage then everyone would get 120 points of Field EXP. Thats assuming the orc has a total of about 80 hit points. If a lone level 2 hunter attacked and slew a level four lesser orc by him/herself then he or she would still get 120 points of field EXP.
Note that I used the term "10 points or so." Its not necessary to be exact.As long as you do *about* your share of the damage you will get full credit for the kill. Even if one of the above players did only 5 points of damage, they would still earn 60 EXP points. So if there are 6 adventurers in a small area, all 6 would do better to form a hunting party and working together, sharing the EXP, Loot, and Fun!
The hardest thing to share is the fame which is earned only by the player that deals the killing blow. But even fame tends to even out over the long run. Nothing more silly than having a bunch of players running around madly, each rushing to kill a monster before someone else does, instead of taking the opportunity to make friends, have fun by helping each other working together as a team. Many players now in lower and mid levels are getting frustrated and becoming antisocial by competing for kills and loot when they all could share in the fun, loot, and experience. Adventurers must never forget that Gemstone is a Multi-Player Online world that focuses on Multi-Players vs. Monsters, *NOT* Players Vs Players.