GemStone III

Empathic Combat


Hi there people. In response to all the posts about empaths being poor fighters, I though I ought to post my observations on how to fight well as an empath. This advice really goes for anyone, but I figured those of us here need it the most.

The most important thing about fighting in general is using a safe stance,by which I mean one in which you cannot be hurt, or can only be hurt slightly. How do you know what a safe stance is? When something attacks you, you see something like this:

Gleeming swings a closed fist at you!
  AS: +4 vs DS: +116 with AvD: +17 + d100 roll: +7 = -88
   A clean miss.

What does all that garbage mean?
AS is gleeming's Attack Strength
DS is my Defense Strength
AvD is the bonus of her weapon against my armor type
d100 Roll is a random roll between 1 and 100
and the final line is the result of adding your opponent's AS, AvD and d100 roll, while subtracting your DS from it.

So what's the point?

That last number is what determines whether you get hit or not. If this number is over 100, then you're going to get hurt. If it's a lot over 100, you're gonna get really hurt. How do you keep yourself from getting hurt? You choose a stance that gives you a DS that is equal to your opponents AS + AvD. If your DS is equal to your opponents AS + AvD, you'll never get hurt. Its d100 roll will never get over 100 and you'll be safe. As an empath, I feel comfortable fighting with a DS that's maybe 10 to 15 pts below safe. The wounds I recieve are minors and the spells to heal them are mere cantrips for an older empath, but when I was much younger, I used to fight in a totally safe stance against darkwoodes and werebears. I was younger, and needed my mana to maintain my offensive spells.

The different stances

Most new players only use offensive and defensive. There are four stances between these two that have various effects on your AS and DS. Mastering the possibilities of the different stances is the key to becoming an effective hunter. You may have been able to hunt rats in offensive, but don't even think about hunting zombies in offensive. When you change stances, you are making a decision as to how much to parry with your sword and shield. Your weapon can be used to both parry and strike an opponent. Each stance changes the amount of AS which you devote to attacking and defending. The six stances are:

{From section 5.5 in the rules.}

Now, the AS that I'm talkin about here is your pre-spell AS. If you get spells which add 50 pts to your AS in Offensive, then they will also add 50 to your AS in defensive. How do you determine your prespell AS? Basically you add up your:

For example, Standex has trained 23 times in edged weapons, so has a 99 bonus in that. He has a +21 AS bonus for strength since he is a giant man and carries a vultite weapon which gives a bonus of +20 to AS. All of this adds up to 140.

The first of these 2 cuts was in stance defensive, the second was in stance offensive. If you want to know what amount of AS you have to divide between parrying and striking, you subtract you AS in defensive from you AS in offensive. From these 2 examples, you can see that Standex has 140 AS which he can choose to parry or fight with.

You swing a heavy argent vultite falchion at Gleeming!
  AS: +0 vs DS: +219 with AvD: +34 + d100 roll: +59 = -126
   A clean miss.

You swing a heavy argent vultite falchion at Gleeming!
  AS: +140 vs DS: +219 with AvD: +34 + d100 roll: +78 = +33
   A clean miss.
Thus, each time I lower my stance, due to my sword training, I gain 28 DS and lose 28 AS. Generally, this means that I fight a lot in forward and advanced against creatures I haven't bound because I tend to want to have a 200 DS or more when I go out to hunt.

Your shield

Your shield is a tricky thing to understand. Basically, your shield will always add 20 points to your DS plus whatever your magical bonus on the shield is (ie 40 total points for a vultite shield.)

In addition, your shield will add an additional amount to your DS based on the amount of training you have and the stance you are using. Basically, the higher the stance you are in, the less DS your shield will add. When I was holding my vultite shield, it added 49 points to my DS in offensive, 55 in advanced, 60 in forward, 66 in neutral, 72 in guarded, and 77 in defensive. So, you can see that were I to go from stance offensive to forward say (2 steps down), I'd gain 56 DS from my sword's parrying, and 11 from my shield's additonal parrying for a total of 67 additional points of DS. My AS would go down by 56 points.

How do you raise your AS and DS?

The first thing you should do, is always train in weapons and shield training. The first ten trainings add 5 points to your AS per training, the next 10, 4 points, the following 10, 3 points, the next 10, 2 points, and any trainings thereafter, 1 point.

As Empaths, we have access to several spells which can improve our DS. 202( the dim aura) and 103 (the powerful look) should be available to all empaths by level 4. Each of these spells raises your DS by 10. 202 lasts for 1 minute a level, and 103 for 2 minutes a level. Hunt with both of these up. Unlike some other spells, you can only cast these spells on you once at a time. If you cast 103 on your self twice in a row, it wont last for 4 minutes a level. It will only last for 2 minutes a level. Each cast of 103 and 202 basically renews the clock; they do not increase the size of your clock. Other spells are "stackable," notably the elemental luminescence spells, a wizard's blur spell, and several other defensive spells. When you reach your twenties, you will learn the statue spell, 120, which will give you 25 to your DS and which IS stackable.

Empaths have 2 great spells on the major spirit list that add to our AS in all our stances. 211 adds 15 to the AS and 215 adds 25 to the AS. I have those four spells up everytime I hunt.

There are many other spells which can raise your AS and DS. Some AS boosters are: Strength (wizard spell) +15, Kai's Song (a bard song) +10, and Spirit Strike (minor spirit), aka the blue crystal spell, +75 for one strike.

Some DS boosters are the luminescence spells which are on the minors elemental list: Silvers raise your DS by 5, brights by 10, and brilliants by 25. These spells are stackable, which means that a wizard, bard or sorceror can cast multiple cast of these spells onto you. Be conscious of the fact that you cannot have more than 3 hours of spells on you without rolling them over; i.e. if I get 3 and half hours of spells from Bysshe, then my spells will fall after only a half hour. Blur, a wizard spell adds 10 to your DS. Colors, a ranger spell, adds 10 to your DS also.

Try to get some of these spells cast onto you. Use that headfull of mana that you have to "purchase" the spells from an older elemental caster. When you hear someone yell "Massies," go join them and get some free spells. Give the caster a tip. Wizards like wands of the aqua, blue, crystal, gold or metal variety. Bards like statues and sorcerors like twisteds and slates.

Of course, enchanted weapons, shields and armor will also increase you AS and DS. Mithril adds +5 to AS or DS, Ora +10, Imflass +12, Mein or glaes +15 and Vultite +20. Armor can also be enchanted by wizards. You can purchase it from a wizard or in an auction. Generally, it is quite expensive. Buy your vultite before you buy your enchanted armor. Special order items that are off less quality than metal or iron, subtract from your AS or DS. Think about it, if you have an obsidian sword, you're swinging a rock at someone.

Lowering your AvD

Basically, to lower your AvD when a monster attacks you, wear heavier armor. For an empath, the heaviest armor we can wear is double leather, which will require 8 trainings in armor to wear. Spread this training out over a long period of time, as we really don't become effective hunters until we've learned spell 215.

Warriors and rogues have the luxury of being able to wear heavier armor. For them, I suggest wearing as heavy armor as you can wear. By lowering you AvD, you are making it harder for monsters to hit you, in part making up for your lack off DS boosting spells.

The final word

My final word is this: hunt with friends. I've been hunting since my mid teens with the same group of friends. We've grown extremely powerful together, and the amount of spell DS we can throw at eachother is mindboggling. I can cast 45 points of DS onto someone, Bysshe can slap 40 pts of DS and 10 of AS onto us, and Raxeli can add another 25 to 50 points that I don't have, so we can truly hunt some older critters.

The best part about hunting with the same group of people is that I've got some wonderful friends now, which is probably the most enriching thing which you can draw from your time in Elanthia.

Remember, gemstone is a role playing game not a roll playing game. Understand the numbers, but don't just live by them.

Special thanks must be given to Bysshe, who dragged me out hunting when I was young and scared, and who gave me the confidence that I could hunt things other than rats. Were it not for your insistence so long ago, this guide would never have been written.


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Last modified 30 August 1996.