The Ranger Guide
By Lord Bladepoint Hinsdale
Note: The information contained within is as correct so far as I have been able to determine, but much of the advice given here is merely personal opinion--my own opinions and that of several other fairly experienced rangers. Use it as you will, but this guide isn't meant to be a set of laws on the only way to roll up a good ranger character. Intro: What is a ranger? Sometimes affectionately known as weed mages, the ranger profession is one that mixes physical combat skills with the ability to cast some spiritual spells. While some of those spells are offensive in nature, more of them are geared towards defense, utility, and enhancing our ability to move unseen outdoors. Traditionally rangers are hunters, woodsmen, and guardians of nature. Before you hop into the character manager, put some thought into your character and do some planning. You should consider what kind of ranger you would like to be: whether you lean towards being more physical, magically adept, flexible, or even specialized in a certain area like lock picking. Look at what skills you might want to train in, how much will that cost, what kind of stats will you need or want, etc. Think about what race you might like to choose and how that might affect your stats and their progression. Work on a personality and maybe a history for your character. Why are they a ranger, what do they want from life, what values do they have, what gods/goddesses do they worship, etc.
Part 1: Character Generation
1.0 Stats and roll placement: When you begin the actual creating of your character the first step will be rolling your stats. Stats define the physical and mental abilities of your character, how strong you are, how fast you are, etc. Higher stats will come with a bonus, lower ones with a penalty. These bonuses and penalties will affect you in various ways, such as your AS, DS, Casting Strength, Spell warding, and so on. The formula for figuring your stat bonus is (stat-50)/2 + appropriate racial bonus/penalty. There is a professional bonus to your stats also which is directly added to your stat. In the case of rangers our professional stats are wisdom and constitution. For example a half elven ranger who gets a +10 racial bonus to reflex puts a roll of 60 there. He will not increase the value of that stat to 70, but will instead get a reflex bonus of +15, (60-50)/2+10. However a ranger that puts a roll of 45 into constitution will have that stat increased to 55 because of the professional bonus. From what I've heard from the more serious players and from my own personal experience, you'll want to spend some extra time rolling so you get a high total. It's better to spend a few hours rolling to get some good stats then to start quickly with a set of mediocre stats. Otherwise you may end up with the dilemma of: do I keep this character I've played for weeks but am unhappy with, or reroll. The extra time spent on rolls will save you a lot of time, money, and grief in the long run. Stats determine bonuses to how well you do certain things in the game and the amount of mental and physical training points you receive. A beginning stat total of 630+ before profession bonus is generally considered a good start. If you have the patience for it, go for higher stats. Higher stats cant hurt. Your stats will go up as you gain levels. It has been my experience that low stats will advance a bit quicker than the ones that start out higher. The stats in which you have a professional bonus in will go up faster. Stats with a racial bonuses will increase faster also; while stats with a racial penalty will go up slowly. So keep the strengths and weaknesses of your race in mind. For the most part don't expect to see more than a one point increase in a stat once every few years. When you first enter the character manager you will be given a set of randomly rolled numbers for your stats. The first three numbers will be between 50-90, the next three will be between 40-60, the following three 20-50, and the last number 20-100. 1.2 Stat Explanations and Placement: Constitution (Co): Your physical toughness. This along with Strength determines your starting hit points. I believe Co, along with strength and your race, figures into how much of a load you can carry. Co also determines your bonus hit points above racial maxes, and a high value in Co gives you a bonus for warding against disease and poison. Since you get a professional bonus, I'd recommend putting a lower roll it, because it'll will advance fairly quickly. Recommend roll: 40+ Dexterity (De): A measure of your hand-eye coordination and agility. Helps you dodge certain types of non-aimed attacks such as webs, acid attacks, boil earth, etc. Recommended roll: 50 to 60+ Discipline (Di): Will power and determination. Helps determine mental and physical training points. Definitely put a high roll here. Recommend roll: 80+ Logic (Lo): and Intelligence (In): Together these two stats determine how much field experience you can hold and how fast you process it real experience. When your mind state has reached Must Rest you have gained as much field experience as your mind can hold, and will need to clear up your mind by resting. So you'll want these to be fairly high at least, so you can advance quickly. Recommended Rolls: 50 to 60+ Strength (St): Helps determine how much you can carry and your starting hit points. The bonus/penalty is added to your weapon skill, along with other factors such as spells, etc., to determine your AS. A higher strength will help greatly throughout the life of your character. Recommended roll 80+ Reflex (Re): Your physical quickness. The bonus for this stat will be used to help determine your Defensive Strength, and as such is also very important. Recommended roll: 60+ Charisma (Ch): Physical attractiveness and strength of personality. The only major game effect I have seen for this stat so far for rangers, is that it effects how well you barter with town shopkeepers. For now you can get away with putting your lowest roll here. Recommend roll: 40+ Wisdom (Wi): A catch-all stat of intangibles, such as luck, intuition and divine favor. (Wi-70)/10 x level = mana points, so this is also very important. If you choose to learn how to pick locks, a high wisdom bonus will help. Because you do get a +10 professional bonus in this stat, don't put anything higher than a 90 in it because you'll end up wasting points. Recommend roll: 80-90 Aura (Au): A Zen sort of stat that determines how well you are in touch with your surroundings, both natural and supernatural. Au/10 = spirit points. High spirit point total will be helpful in case you tangle with undead, which often can drain you of them. If you ever reach 0 spirit points, you will die and decay. Recommended roll: 80+ 1.3 Race: The next step in character generation is to choose your race. Your choice of race will determine the base number of HPs you gain per training in Physical training. Each race also has certain stat bonuses/penalties. Race should play some part in where you place your stats because of those bonuses/penalties. A Giantman ranger could get away with putting a lower number into strength because they have a large racial bonus to that stat. Strength for that ranger would go up faster as he gained levels than an elven ranger who has a racial penalty to strength. Other than the effects it may have on your stat bonuses and the progression of your stats, what race you play is a matter of personal preference. There isn't necessarily any one best choice of race for a ranger. I've played human and half elven rangers and found that both those races have their strengths and weaknesses as is true of all the races. Half elves, elves, humans make good rangers, but nothing says that a dwarf or halfling couldn't make a good ranger. You should remember what kind of ranger you want to be and see which race suits your idea.
Part 2: Training your character
2.1 Skills: Skills determine what tasks your character can and cannot do in game terms and how well you do those tasks. How many skills you can train in is determined by how many physical and mental training points you have and the cost of the skill for the ranger profession. The formulas are Di+Au+Co+De+St+Re/10 for physical training points, and Di+Au+In+Lo+Ch+Wi/10 for mental training points. You'll want to have at least high 30's for both physical and mental training points. It is also possible to substitute physical training points for mental training points and vice versa at the rate of 2 physical points for 1 mental and 2 mental points for 1 physical. One of the greatest strengths for rangers is the flexibility it allows in training. A ranger can train in many areas with relative ease. Ration out your training points and don't be afraid to convert physical points to mental points and vice versa. You don't have to use up all of your training points every year; any unused training points will be saved from year to year. The first ten times you train in a skill you will add +5 to the level of the that skill each time. The next ten times you train in those skills you will add +4, the next ten +3 so on till you add +1 to your skill ever time you train in it. However don't think you should necessarily quit training in a skill just because you are only adding +1 to it at each training. Take the long view and remember that many years of adding +1 to a skill adds up in the end. 2.2 Skill Explanations: 2.2.1 Combat Skills: Weapon Skills (Edged, Blunt, Two Handed, Pole Arms, Thrown, and Ranged): The level of your skill in a weapon skill determines your AS with weapons of that type. Most rangers tend to train in edged. Edged is the cheapest weapon skill available to our profession. Edged weapons are also very common in the game. Blunt weapon is more expensive to train in, and you may find it harder to come by a special blunt weapon. I don't recommend training in pole arms or two handed weapons since both are very expensive. Also two handed weapons and many pole arms require that you keep your left hand free so you cannot use a shield when wielding these types of weapons. This will lower your DS and make you extremely vulnerable to elemental attack spells. At this time ranged and thrown weapons are not yet implemented so any training you put in those skills can't be used yet. Ambush: Helps you to make aimed attacks against your foes. It is averaged with CM when you make an aimed attack from a non-hidden position to determine whether or not your strike will hit the part of your target you aimed for. From a hidden position only your ambush skill is used to determine whether or not you hit the intended location of your target. Additionally for ambushes made from hiding, part of your ambush skill will add to the chance that you will get a critical hit on your target, such as severing a limb or decapitation. Armor Use: This skill allows you to wear heavy armor without a time penalty to your attacks and ambushes. Most rangers train in armor until they can wear double leather without penalty--skill level of 40, or until 120 for brigandine. I've even known a few rangers that have gone higher so that they can wear chain armors. However chain armors do have high hindrances for spell casting. Try to wear armor that covers as much as your body as possible, i.e., double leather, brigandine, chain hauberk, etc. Adding accessories such as greaves or helms to armor that doesn't cover as much will give you the same penalties as armor that would normally cover those parts of your body. Example: Adding a helm and greaves to a leather breast plate will give you the same RT and Spell hindrances as a set of brigandine armor. Brawling: Lets you fight using your fist as a weapon. This isn't an incredibly effective form of combat, but what it can let you do is remain in a defensive stance and keep your shield out when you are trying to drag someone. Also if you wish to join the Order of Voln and learn Voln Fu, you will need training in brawl to be good at it. If you do intend to learn Voln Fu, train in brawl every year. Combat Maneuvers: Another important skill. Every two ranks in CM will give you +1 to AS, up to a skill level of 150. After that you will get a +1 for ever three ranks in CM. More importantly, CM helps you dodge certain non-aimed maneuver based attacks, like boil earth, lightning bolts from stun clouds and the wasp stings at Teras Isle. CM is used along with ambush to determine success for aimed attacks from non-hidden positions. Multiopponent Combat: When the new engagment system is implemented this skill will allow you to face off against a large number of foes effectively. However this skill is very expensive, and training in Stalk and Hide and Ambush and/or Ranged Weapons will allow you to get around some of the problems of engaging multiple foes. At any rate I would recommend against training in this skill since it is expensive and does nothing at thist time. Shield Use: A definite must. A high level of skill in shield use will give you an additional DS bonus above the base DS value of the shield itself. You should train in it every year at least once. Doubling would give you a better bonus when you use your shield, but that's pretty expensive, so that may not be an option till you are older. A shield also determines a major portion of your defense versus elemental attack spells. Stalk and hide: Hiding before you ambush allows you to use your ambush skill to get better critical hits. Two Weapon Combat: Determines the AS of your left hand when you fight using two weapons. It looks fun and flashy but I also recommend against training it. Two weapon combat has some draw backs. Again like two handed weapons and pole arms, you cannot use a shield when you use this style of combat. In addition your RT for your swing will be higher unless you are very quick (high De and Re) and/or are using a quicker weapon in your left hand, such as a dagger or rapier. In the long run you would probably be better off learning Hide and Ambush instead. It's cheaper to train in one rank each in Ambush and Stalk and Hide than it is to train in one rank of Two Weapon Combat. In my opinion its better to get in one solid, killing blow than to stand there and whale away with two weapons. 2.2.2 Utility Skills: Climbing and Swimming: Useful, but not vital skills. Eventually you will run into obstacles you will have to climb or swim to get into certain areas. So one training in each every two or three years should be enough. Try alternating the two skills, train in climb one year and swim the next. Disarming Traps: Used in conjunction with Perception to find traps on treasure chests. This skill also allows you to attempt to disarm the traps. First Aid: Training in this skill lets you tend bleeding wounds on yourself and others. It also determines how well you can skin creatures for their pelts, hides, scalps, etc. Higher levels in First Aid will make tending wounds quicker and allow you to tend more severe wounds. Physical Training: Training in this increases the number of hit points you have up to your maximum value. Your max hit point value possible is your racial max plus your constitution bonus. Additional training in this skill after your max hit point value is reached allows you to recover lost hit points faster. Do not double in physical training. Eventually you will reach your max. It might be tempting to have that buffer of extra HP's early, but if you fight smart you shouldn't find yourself dying because you keep getting hit for a few HP here and there. Perception: There are more than a few uses for this skill. For one it helps to prevent people from picking your pockets, and on occasion you will need to search for hidden/secret entrances to enter certain areas. Perception also helps you spot traps on boxes, so this is a definite must for rangers who want to pick. Picking Locks: Lets you attempt to pick locks with appropriate tools of the trade. You should always check for traps first though. Picking Pockets: I don't advocate that you try to make a living off picking pockets. However this skill supposedly will allow you to notice more easily when someone tries to pick your pockets and make you a harder target to pick. Trading: Helps you get better deals when you haggle with the town shop keepers and certain NPC merchants. 2.2.3 Magic Skills: Magic Item Use: Allows you to use magic wands, rods, and staffs. There is a penalty when you try to use an item that casts a spell from a spell circle you cannot learn, and items with higher level spells are harder to activate. Because the ranger spell 614, imbue, allows you to create imbedable wands and rods from sticks that you can forage for, you may find this skill useful when you are older. Mana sharing: This skill allows you to send and receive mana to/from others, otherwise known as channeling. This is much more useful than it may sound at first. One of the major uses of channeling is to send mana to other casters to spell you up. You will find that others will be more receptive to the idea of spelling you up if you provide the mana. Take the skill levels of the sender and receiver as percentages and multiply them together to determine how much of the mana sent actually gets through. Example: Two characters with skills of 50 in mana share will be able to channel at 25%, 50% x 50% = 25%. Twenty-four ranks, a skill level of 102, will allow you to channel at 100% with someone similarly or better trained. Training past twenty-four ranks in mana share will help when channeling with others who aren't as well trained. A skill level of 102 is generally considered adequate, so going any further is up to you. Scroll Reading: Basically the same thing as Magic Item Use, but for used with scrolls instead. One major difference for Scroll Use is that you need several ranks in this skill otherwise spells will appear unreadable to you. I believe for most spells you need as many ranks in Scroll Reading as the level of the spell. You will also need to have one hand free when you try to INVOKE a scroll. Spell Aim: Determines your AS with elemental attack spells and wands. Very expensive and not very useful for rangers. The huge amount of MTP's needed for this skill could be better put to use elsewhere. Spell Research: This is the skill that allows you to learn spells. Every training in this skill allows you to learn one spell. Certain higher levels don't actually contain a spell but are prerequisites to get to a higher spell. Some rangers swear by training in this every single year, however skipping a spell every now and then frees up some mental points for other supporting skills that you may need. If you go the route of picking ranger you will almost definitely be forced into skipping a spell every few years. 2.3 What to train in: This an area where mistakes are often made. You will face some hard decisions in training your ranger. Some skills, such as your chosen weapon and CM, are vital for your character so you will need to train in them every level. Some skills such as Stalk and Hide or Ambush aren't very effective until you have several ranks in them. So you will want to keep up with those since it will be hard to make up for missed training in those skills. Other skills max out at a certain level. So it's not as vital to train in these skills every level because eventually you will reach that maximum value. I have very few rules when it comes to training a ranger, and the only you must follow is to double train in your chosen weapon every level with no exceptions. Because rangers primarily gain experience from hunting, you need to keep your AS as high as possible. If you need to make a sacrifice, make it in another skill. When you are younger it's better to train in several useful skills than to double train in only a few. Don't double in something like Shield Use or Stalk and Hide if it means you need to give up something important like CM, Ambush, Mana Share, or Perception. While doubling in some skills is useful, don't give up other skills to accommodate for that, instead wait until you are older and have the training points to spare for it. One of the more difficult decisions you need to make is how often to train in spell research. Skipping a spell may allow you to free up some MTP's to train in other skills for several years. Skipping a spell at level 0 could allow you to train in Mana Sharing for ten levels. Because of the costs and limitations of training in certain skills, it may be very expensive or impossible to double train in a skill to make up for missed training. However a skipped spell can be learned the next year. My advice is to skip a few spells when you are younger; the trade offs are well worth it. Try not to skip several spells in a row. Learning three spells every four years or four spells every five years might be a good decision until you are in your teen-levels. In my opinion trading a spell for several years of mana share, ambush or CM is worth waiting an extra level for that spell. However this isn't to say you should skip spells frivolously. Spells are vital to a ranger so learn as many as you can. Eventually as your stats go up you should be able to train in one spell every level. Training in mana share will also help make up for missing a spell here and there by allowing you to channel to others for spells. CM and Mana Sharing are two skills that are sometimes ignored by newer players. However they are both very important. As you get older you will find that it won't be safe to hunt using only the spells you know. Mana share will allow you to trade mana for defensive spells. Also as you hunt older creatures you will find that more and more of them have maneuver based attacks, especially at Teras. Training regularly in CM from the early levels of your character will help to defend against those attacks. A note on double training: It's ok to double train in a skill because you want to become good at that skill. Double training so that you reach a certain level in that skill quickly is usually a waste -- those training points could probably be put to a much better use. For example, double training in your chosen weapon to keep that skill high is good, but double training in Physical Training so you reach your maximum hit points early is a waste. 2.3.1 Core skills: 1 x CM, 2 x chosen weapon, 1 x Armor Use until 40 or 120, 1 x Physical Training until you have reached your max HP's, at least 1 x Shield, Use 1 x Spell Research as often as possible, 1 x Mana Share as often as possible at least until 102, 1 x Perception as often as possible. If you have to choose between Perception and Mana Share, I would train in Perception at the lower levels since pick pockets tend to be a problem more for younger characters than older ones. Wait a few years for Mana Share, since you do need a fair amount of mana to send before it becomes useful. I would highly recommend adding 1 x Hiding and 1 x Ambush to your core skills also. 2.3.2 Supporting skills: Climbing, Swimming, and First Aid. You will want to train in these skills once every few years. Close to ten ranks in Climbing and Swimming by the time you reach Lord or Lady should be adequate. Eventually you will probably want twenty or so ranks in those two skills. If you want to be an expert skinner I'd recommend training in First Aid every year. 2.3.3 Optional skills: Trading, Magic Item Use, Scroll Reading. These are skills you may find useful when you are older and have the training points to spare for them. Don't try to learn Magic Item Use and Scroll Reading at the same time. Get good at one before you start training in the other. Because of the penalties for using a wand or a scroll with a spell from a different spell circle, you will need at least four to six skill ranks to overcome that penalty depending on the spell circle. You will also need additional ranks to overcome the level penalty of the spell. 2.3.4 Lockpicking: For those of you wanting to learn how to pick locks you will probably need to skip a spell once every four years to free up mental points for Picking Locks, Disarming Traps, and Perception. Single train in each of those three every year. Remember to always check for traps before you pick, remember you might not always spot a trap on the first attempt. When in doubt ask someone older to check to make sure the box is clean. Although it may be hard, wait until you are older before you start picking, eighth or tenth level at least. Low ranks in pick and disarm aren't very effective. Even hobgoblin boxes have locks that run into the -100's sometimes. I'm not an expert in this field so you may want to take a look at a rogue guide before you choose this option. 2.3.5 Customizing your ranger: For a more physical ranger, you might want to focus more heavily in combat skills such as Ambush, Stalk and Hiding, and Shield Use. More than a few rangers double in Shield Use and Stalk and Hiding later on in life to gain a little extra edge in combat. For a ranger more interested in magic, concentrate more on Spell Research and Mana Share, and maybe add some training in Scroll Use or Magic Item Use earlier. What ever you do with your extra training points is basically up to you
Part 3: Spells
3.1 Spells: Spells cost an amount of mana equal to the spell level each time you cast it. You regain mana at the rate of 10% of your total mana, rounded down with a minimum of 1 recovered every pulse. You double your mana recovery at a node. A common route for spell training is 601, then 101-103, and then 602-613. After that whether you continue along the ranger list or spiritual list is up to you. If you plan to hunt at Teras you will find spells 607, 618, 619, and 114 invaluable. 3.2 Ranger Spell Circle 601 Natural Colors +10 DS, self cast only, 15 sec/level (100 second minimum duration) 602 Resist Elements +15 DS vs. elemental attack spells and will protect you from the winds at the glacier and Ice Mule, 1 min/level 603 Foraging Makes foraging easier, self cast only, 15 second/level 604 Skinning Improves your skinning ability, self cast only, 60 seconds 605 Tracking Not implemented 606 Phoen Strength +10 AS, self cast only, can only be cast outdoors, will also improve Voln Fu fighting ability, 30 sec/level 607 Sounds -20 DS to target, good spell when used in combination with 608 and even 117 or a blue crystal, 2 sec/level 608 Camouflage Automatically hides you when outdoors and adds +30 AS to one attack, can only be cast outdoors 609 Sunburst Reveals hidden characters and creatures, and makes you aware of invisible ones 610 Tangle Weed Creates a thorny vine that can drag down creatures and anyone else in the area not joined to the caster, can only be cast outdoors, duration seems to be variable 611 Mass Colors +10 DS to everyone joined to the caster, 30 sec/level 612 Breeze Creates a strong breeze in the area that can blow away gas/poison/lightning clouds, also tends to blow away light objects, 3 sec/level 613 Self Control +25 DS and +25 Spell Warding, self cast only, one of the best ranger defensive spells available, 1 min/level 614 Imbue Creates wands and staves from sticks, can only be cast outdoors 615 Whisper Willow Lets you whisper to anyone outdoors, however unless they have the spell cast on them they cannot answer, can only be cast outdoors, 30 sec/level 616 Spike Thorn Cause thorns to grow under the target that may damage it, this spell is more effectuve when cast outdoors, effectivines also seems to be based on the relative difference between the casters and the targets levels 617 Sneaking Mutes sound coming from you, making it easier to hide, stalk and sneak. When used with 601 or 611, others will not see you coming or going when you move from area to area outdoors, self cast only, 15 sec/level 618 Mobility Helps you dodge maneuver based attacks, and improves fighting ability with Voln Fu, 30 sec/level 619 Mass Calm Calms every creature in the room, duration varies according to your level compared to the creature's 620 Killer Weed More powerful version of 610 that will can cause damage to creatures and anyone not joined to the caster, if cast indoors it will act as 610 instead, duration is variable, 625 Nature's Touch Not implemented 630? Animal Companion? Not implemented, no documentation available 650? Mass Dispel? Not implemented, no documentation available 3.3 Minor Spirit Spell Circle 101 Spirit Protection I +10 DS vs. elemental attack spells, +10 spell warding, 1 min/level 102 Spirit Barrier +50 DS and -50 AS, for when you need extra defense more than you need offense, 1 min/level 103 Spirit Defense +10 DS, duration is not cumulative for multiple casts, 2 min/level 104 Disease Resist Gives you a second chance to ward a disease if the first attempt fails, 1 min/level 105 Poison Resist Same thing as Disease resist, but for poison, 1 min/level 106 Spirit Fog Creates a fog in one room that raises everyone's DS 30 including creatures, also makes hiding easier, 1 min/level 107 Spirit Protection II +25 DS vs. elemental attack spells, +25 spell warding, 30 sec/level 108 Stun Relief Unstuns one target 109 Dispel Invisibility Reveals invisible characters and creatures in the area, effectivenss seems to be based off the relative level difference between the dispeler and the target 110 Unbalance A spiritual attack spell, if warding fails, the target will take damage and may be stunned and/or fall down 111 Fire Spirit Casts a flare, or if aimed at a target acts as a Major Fire elemental attack spell 112 Water Walk Lets the target walk on water, only works on relatively calm water, 1 min/level 113 Undisease Cures target of one disease 114 Unpoison Cures target of one poison 115 Spirit Burst If target fails warding, it will be stunned 116 Locate Person Will show you where the target is, if they are not extremely far away or a magic dead zone 117 Spirit Strike +75 AS for one attack, also improves Voln Fu fighting ability for a short time 118 Web Contrary to the official spell list, this actually casts a web at the target which can entangle it if it fails the warding 119 Herb Production Causes one herb to randomly grow, can only be cast outdoors 120 Lesser Shroud +25 DS, +25 spell warding, 30 sec/level 125 Call Lightning Causes a storm cloud to form above the target that will throw lightning bolts at it. This spell only works outdoors and it takes a little while for the cloud to form. 130 Spirit Guide Fogs everyone joined to the caster to a certain location depending on what area you are in, on the mainland it takes you to the North Gate, at Teras it brings you to the tower, etc 150 Wall of Force +100 DS, 10 sec/level
Part 4: Starting off
4.1 What do I do now?: Ok once you finally finished generating your character you should find yourself in an alley. Try out the ADVICE, HELP, and DIR commands. You should be able to get yourself to level 1 by visiting the places on the DIR list. Check your experience by typing EXP. If your still short some experience run a few messages, go to the office in the firth floor of Moothall and ask the clerk for a job. Another good option is to talk to the warrior behind the curtain in the Raging Thrak Inn. Once you've gained enough experience for your level go to an inn and check in at the front desk. You will see a screen that is similar to the one in the character manager that will allow you to pick your skills for your new level. Pick out the ones you wish to train in. Remember although you can save training points for use in the next level, you can only train once per level so make you train in all the skills you need to. 4.2 Equipping yourself: You'll start off the game with a set of light leather armor, a backpack, a belt pouch, and a few hundred coins. You will want to add least pick up a reinforced shield from the armor shop and a weapon from the weapons shop. For those of you trained in Edged Weapons, a broadsword is a decent initial weapon, try to get a drake falchion soon though. Drake falchions are sometimes carried as treasure by certain creatures, or you can ask around to see if someone has one for sale. A drake falchion will be a good weapon that will see you through your early years until you can use a weapon made from a magic metal, such as Mithril, Ora, Imflass, etc. As far as custom weapons, armors, and shields go, try to avoid buying anything made from a material lower than metal or steel. In general most of those materials aren't as good, many items made from those materials weigh more than the basic items and may have penalties attached to them also. How are you going to get the silvers to afford these items? Well the two common ways to earn money in the beginning are running messages for the clerk in Moothall and hunting. After you've killed a creature remember to SKIN and SEARCH it. Some creatures may carry treasure in the form of coins, gems, or treasure chests. Many creatures also have pelts you can skin from them and sell at the furriers. 4.3 Equipment for the future Eventually you will want to get yourself good magic weapons, armor, and shield. Some of the more common magic metals that have bonuses are Mithril +5, Ora +10, Imflass +12, Mein +15, and Vultite +20. You must have levels equal to half the bonus of the magic metal rounded up, to use an item made from it, so level 3 for Mithril, level 5 for Ora, level 6 for Imflass, level 8 for Mein, and level 10 for Vultite. The armor shop and weapons shop sell items made from these materials, but the crystal amulet ESP net is also a common place to find used equipment. Keep in mind that items with a bonus of greater than +20 are rare so you will probably have to buy a Vultite shield and weapon new from the town shops. If you are lucky you may eventually run into a GM sponsored merchant event where you can buy interesting weapons, armor and/or other equipment. 4.4 A few side notes on weaponry: Some special weapons sold or created by the GM's may have strange names but there are only a few basic weapon types in the game. Those weapons are really just basic weapons with a fancy description. A gladius is really just a fancy name for a short sword; longswords, katanas, and khopeshs are actually falchions; a rapier and an epee are the same thing, etc. Eventually you will most likely run into a creature that is "immune to puncture," many types of undead and all golems fall into this category. What this means that you may score a hit on the creature, but because of it's unique property certain weapons may fail to harm it occasionally. Two edged weapons I know of that don't cause puncture wounds and therefore don't suffer from this problem, are axes and falchions. So if you plan on hunting a creature that is immune to puncture, keep one of those weapons handy.
Part 5: Fighting and tactics
5.1 Combat: Because hunting is the main way most rangers gain experience, it is pretty much inevitable that you will fight sooner or later. Try to confine the killing to fighting creatures though, the GM's frown heavily on Player vs. Player combat. You probably will not want to hunt outside town for a level or two, so the giant rats in the catacombs are a good creature to start hunting. Get out your weapon and shield, make sure the weapon is in your right hand and the shield is in your left. STANCE DEF and go in to the catacombs and then find a rat. Let it try to bite you then STANCE OFF and ATT RAT. When you swing you will swing you will see a bunch of text and numbers such as AS 25 - DS 0 + AvD 34 + 1d100 roll: 50 = 159. AS is the offensive power of the attacker, and DS is the defensive power of the defender. AvD is the armor piercing capability of the weapon vs. the target's armor. The number after the 1d100 is a random number thrown in by the computer. If the final number is greater than 100 than the attack is successful. The greater the number past 100 the harder the target was hit. You might see additional messages about stuns or additional damage done to the target such as bruises, severed limbs, etc. When you can move again STANCE DEF and wait for the rat to attack again, then STANCE OFF and ATT rat again, repeat the process until the rat is dead. Once the rat is dead SKIN and SEARCH it. The tactic of changing stances is sometimes called stance dancing or parry tag. It helps to reduce your vulnerability somewhat by attempting to present your best defense to your foe when it swings, then trying to hit it while it's in RT from swinging at you. 5.2 Ambushing: Another common combat tactic is ambushing. Basically this involves hiding first then attacking a creature with the ambush command and specifying a target location such as AMB TROLL LEFT LEG. An ambush may take a little longer than a normal attack but the effects of a successful ambush are more powerful. Usually when you ambush you try to sever a leg first and then go for a killing blow to the head or neck. Severing a leg on a creature will usually make it fall down and lower it's DS. Although some unusually agile creatures seem to get around pretty well on just one leg. When you hide and then ambush, half of your Ambush skill is added to the final number of your attack when calculating critical damage. So if you get a value of 110, a hit by 10 points, and have a skill of 120 in Ambush, the number of HPs done as damage will stay the same, but the game will calculate the crit rank as if you had a scored a 170, a hit by 70 points. So a hit that might have only been a bruise for a normal attack, could mean a death blow when using ambush. Ambushing allows you to quickly disable a creature and the finish it off at your leisure. Also by knocking down a creature with a leg strike you can hopefully make it easier to kill and prevent it from running away from you. The coup-de-grace to the head or neck can finish off a creature quickly and keep it from changing it's stance to one with a DS so high that you cannot hit it. Because of our skill and spell limitations this is the tactic of choice of many older rangers. Rangers aren't as well suited for toe-to-toe slugfests with their opponents, if that is more your style you may want to look into the warrior or bard professions. As you gain more ranks in Ambush you might be able to get fancier and go for a killing shot on the first swing. However when hunting a group, try not go for the death blow immediately, instead try to let everyone get in a hit before you go for a head or neck shot. Severing a leg on a creature can also make hunting easier when you are hunting with younger/weaker characters.
Part 6: Final advice and ending comments
6.1 Role-playing: This is one of the big attractions of Gemstone, the ability to bring a character to life from just numbers and text and to interact with other characters in a fantasy setting. Basically you want to give your character a personality of their own. Many characters have an accent or personality quirks that make them memorable. Put yourself in the position of your character, and think of how would they react to a given situation. The possibilities for role-play are only limited by your imagination. Role-playing can greatly add to both yours and other's enjoyment of Gemstone, and the GM's do give out experience awards for good role-play. However getting an award shouldn't be the only reason you role-play, you should do it because you want to. 6.2 Do's: Have fun with Gemstone, but don't take it too seriously -- remember it's only a game. Try to role-play, it adds another dimension of fun to the game. Make friends and form hunting groups. Elanthia can be a harsh and deadly place if you go it solo. Hunting in a group is a good way to meet people and make friends in the lands. When you do go hunting solo, make sure someone knows where you are in case you zigged when you should have zagged. Remember to thank/tip empaths, clerics, and pickers/wooers for healing, rezzing, and opening boxes. What they do for you is a favor and a service, not your God-given right. Download the official documents for the game. There are also many other documents, maps, and guides you might find useful. Browse the file libraries and see what catches your eye. The wizard front end is very useful for those of you connecting through AOL. You can download a copy of it at Keyword AOL Wizard. Check that your weapon is in your right hand and your shield is in your left. Apparently everyone is right handed in Elanthia. Know your enemy. If you've never hunted a certain creature, try not to fight it alone the first time. Find out what you can about a creature before you hunt it, it's combat skills, any usual special abilities, etc. However try to make those sorts of discussions in character, if you want to know the creature's game stats, AS, DS, etc., whisper those questions. Use the MY adjective when you are putting things away, such as PUT BROAD IN MY SHEATH. This will prevent you from putting your belongings into a similar container lying on the ground. Use the EXCHANGE command when you are buying something from another player, this will prevent conmen from taking your hard-earned silvers and running away. Deposit your extra coins in the bank. Extra coins are a weight burden and make you a target for pick pockets. Join up when people offer to cast massies. Everyone joined to the caster will get a defensive benefit from the spell. When you need to rest because your mind is full go to a node and sit down with your right hand free, it will help you clear up your mind faster. Some of the nodes located around town include, Town Square Central and the front desk at the Raging Thrak Inn. This is also a good opportunity to meet other folks and chit chat. 6.3 Don'ts: Don't go OOC, many players come here to get away from the real world and it interferes with their enjoyment of the game. If you must go OOC, whisper to whomever you're talking to. Try not to steal kills, with the recent population booms this may be hard with everyone running around; but at least make an effort. A creature that limps into the room did not just have an accident or fall down. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Dont kill other players. The GMs frown on player versus player combat, unless all parties involved consent to it before hand. Even then, keep it outside the town gates. Killing someone in town will result in heavy fines and the possibility of losing all you equipment If you run around killing people, you risk being locked out of Gemstone permantly When asking for help don't keep repeating yourself over and over again or scream in all capital letters. While this may make people notice you, it will also make them more likely to ignore your requests. 6.4 Ending comments: Thanks to all those who have helped and advised me through all these years, whether ranger or other profession, including but not limited to Lady Kali, Lord Arathorn, Lord Entrei, Lord Rabenwolf, and Lady Madrona. Special thanks to Lady Krrystall, Lady Laranna, Drevenn, and Lord Tzarrakyn for helping me retain a few shreds of sanity. Credit for the good things in this guide goes to them. Any blame for mistakes lies solely on me. Good hunting and remember... not all those who wander are lost. Bladepoint Hinsdale Ranger Lord (Dulinorb@AOL.com) January 1997
Glossary of terms and jargon: AS: Attack strength AvD: Armor vs. Defense, the armor piercing value of a particular weapon against the armor the target is wearing. Channel: To send mana to someone DS: Defensive strength GM: Games Master, the guys and gals that run this game and keep it interesting. They are involved in every aspect of the game from design and implementation, to running special events, and helping us when we have techical problems. HP: Hit points, a measure of how much physical damage your character can take. Imbed: To put a magic spell in an item using the minor elemental spell 420 Magic Item Creation. Massies: Nickname for group defensive spells, such as mass elemental defense/mass guards, mass blur, and mass colors. Everyone joined to the caster will receive a defensive benefit from the spells. MTP: Mental training points NPC: Non-player character. Usually a computer controlled character or monster with a limited set of reactions. Dont get these confused with GM controlled characters which can react however they want. OOC: Out of character, things not associated with the game, such as computer hardware, the latest NBA scores, etc. PTP: Physical training points Rank: Number of times trained in a skill. Rezz: To resurrect, to bring a dead character back to life. RT: Round time. Real time waiting period to complete certain actions in the game. SP: Spirit points, the life level of your character, determined by your Aura. Turtle: To go to a defensive stance. Woo: To open a box by means of magic.