Showing posts with label GSIV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GSIV. Show all posts

Thursday, January 14, 2021

From the Archive- June 13, 2012 - Gemstone IV Review

Here is a throwback post originally hosted on my MYGSIV and websites. The game still goes strong in 2021. 

Gemstone IV is a persistent MMORPG, running since 1988. The player base is measured in the thousands with hundreds of player logged in at anytime. Gemstones IV is unusual, it is text-based. All locations, actions and events are described via the game window. Commands are input in a style similar to the old Infocom Games such as Zork or Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Would-be-heroes have a choice of races and professions; Humans to Giantmen, Rogues to Wizards. Many of the classes are standard fare for fantasy games but others are wholly unique to GSIV. The classes are Warriors, Rogues, Clerics, Wizards, Empaths, Rangers, Sorcerers, Bards and Paladin. The most unique class is Empaths; they are healers who transfer wounds from an injured person to themselves. Then they heal themselves.
Races are more diverse than most games: Elves (dark, sylan, half), humans, giantmen, dwarves, aelotoi, Erithian, gnomes (burgahl and forest), halfling and half-krolvians. Each has its own favor and cultural background. In some cases there are obvious advantages to a race: Giantmen and drawves are sturdy and can carry more items, dark elves are immune to sickness, aelotoi have insect wings, halflings have better stealth and speed than average. All races are playable for all professions which is a nice switch and I will come back to that later.
The world of Gemstone IV has somewhat more depth than the typical hack and slash adventure. Characters can actually interact and change their environment. Wizards can create permanent magic items, weapons and armor and can recharge many of them. Sorcerers can recharge scrolls, make items and summon demons or animate dead creatures to do their bidding. Bards can play music or use musically based spells to generate sonic weapons and armor. They can also read the history of items or discover the purpose and abilities of weapons. Warriors can manufacture sheaths, repair weapons and armor. Clerics can raise the dead. Rogues can pick locks, remove them and install the locks on other pieces of equipment. Rangers can give temporary bonuses to armor and make magic wands and rods. Empaths heal. Paladins can bond with weapons for enhanced combat skills and raise dead like cleric.
In addition to the class skills above, all characters can forage for herbs, run messages, forge weapons, cobble, create arrows and bolts, and fish. Most class skills or secondary skills generate experience points. In fact, the game assumes that a character will complete between first three to five levels without combat at all.
All of these features create an environment of cooperation among characters. This is not you typical backstabbing player-vs.-player game. While you can kill other players, there is a justice system and social norms in place to keep this to a minimum.
There is the usual aspect of hunt together for treasure and better weapons and armor, but within the system it is possible for a player to hunt alone using nothing but the equipment their character was given at generation. No particular “player class vs race build” is needed to gain an advantage. Game balance is very well thought out.
I have spent years playing this game and the community and constant updates keep me coming back for more.

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Very Simple Combat

Last week, I went back to Gemstone IV by Simutronics. This is a MUD heavily drawing on Iron Crown Enterprises.

I want to show a simple combat or two. It doesn't end well. My character has encountered a kobold. The game features many weapons, armor types and shields. My character is equipped with a very basic shield and broadsword. In this scenario, my character is at the ready, as is the kobold. 

You swing a broadsword at a kobold!
  AS: +33 vs DS: +34 with AvD: +36 + d100 roll: +29 = +64
   A clean miss.
Roundtime: 8 sec.

Lets walk through this wall of text. AS is my Attack Strength, a computed value which is based on my skill with a one handed weapon, my strength bonus, my skill at combat maneuvers (which I have none), a bonus due to magical effects (also none) and my stance. Stance is an important topic as my character can choose how aggressive he is; at the moment he is hardly aggressive at all.

The kobold has a stat called DS, or defensive strength which my AS is compared to. AvD is Attack vs Defense and is a measure of how good my sword is against the kobold's armor. It is pretty good.

The final two numbers a random 1d100 roll subtracted from everything else. In this case, I got 29, which was modified to +64. 100 or better is required to hit, so I just wasted my time. If I stayed like this, I could roll a maximum of 1d100+35, which means I will hit eventually.

Actual time. My character is unable to act for 8 real time seconds, as shown by the Roundtime indicator.

A kobold swings a short sword at you!
  AS: +36 vs DS: +79 with AvD: +34 + d100 roll: +76 = +67
   A clean miss.

The monster goes through the exact same sequence I did. Note that he rolled a 76, which was modifed to +67. He has no chance of hitting me. He also is stuck in Roundtime, but I don't get to see that number.

You are now in an offensive stance.

Stance controls how aggressively my character attacks. By switching to an offensive stance, I gain AS.

You swing a broadsword at a kobold!
  AS: +66 vs DS: -5 with AvD: +36 + d100 roll: +51 = +158
   ... and hit for 46 points of damage!
   Stomach ripped open by mighty blow!
The kobold crumples to a heap on the ground and dies.
Roundtime: 8 sec.

Well, that was quick. By switch stances, I doubled my AS from 33 to 66. The kobold is dead, but I am stuck in round time as a goblin walks in. Goblins are second level monsters and tougher than kobolds.

A goblin swings a flail at you!
  AS: +46 vs DS: -5 with AvD: +43 + d100 roll: +92 = +186
   ... and hits for 82 points of damage!
   Awesome shot collapses one of your lungs!

Looking at the AS, the goblin is only 10 points better than the kobold. BUT my DS is -5 because I am stanced up. I am not in a defensive position. Note that the end roll is very high, which increases the damage. I edited out some other things, but left in the killing shot.
It seems you have died, my friend.  Although you cannot do anything, you are keenly aware of what is going on around you...
You mentally give a sigh of relief as you remember that the Goddess Lorminstra owes you a favor.
...departing in 10 mins...

A goblin kicks your dead body and spits.

Goblins are mean. In this exchange, the monster and the characters are on nearly equal footing, except for one minor point. Monsters have roundtime when they enter a room, giving a characters a chance to change stances or retreat before a swing comes.

Since I wanted to show a fatal combat from both sides, obviously I did neither thing. This is playing to lose or playing to make an example. It would have been easy to avoid this end, but I chose not to.

The beauty of this game system is the use of computers to speed the computation of stats vs. rolls. It is an elegant system. Over the next few weeks, I will be demonstrating some of the various aspects of the game.

You can join me in game at It is F2P.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Posts for Lettering and Logos: Gemstone IV Game

This tab displays posts, maps and logos for fans of GSIV. They should be considered in-character works and inherently flawed. Please feel free to download and use for artwork on your fan site. Use the comments to make suggestions, I would be happy to convert or map areas as time permits. 

If citation is required, you may mark them as the work of "Magarven the Mad", the fictional creator. These maps are based do the style of Dyson Logos, found at Dyson's Dodecahedron. 

Area Maps for GSIV

Area Logos for GSIV

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Slate Wands

I have a couple of old slate wands in my locker. I wonder if these are rechargeable. 

>analyze wand
You analyze your slate wand and sense that the item is free from merchant alteration restrictions.
You get no sense of whether or not the wand may be further lightened.
>analyze other wand
You analyze your slate wand and sense that the item is free from merchant alteration restrictions.
You get no sense of whether or not the wand may be further lightened.
>pre 405
You gesture and invoke the powers of the elements for the Elemental Detection spell…
Your spell is ready.
>cast at wand
You gesture at a slate wand.
The essence swirls as it flows in a fog of chaotic patterns around the wand.
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.
(Forcing stance down to guarded)
>pre 405
You gesture and invoke the powers of the elements for the Elemental Detection spell…
Your spell is ready.
>cast at other wand
You gesture at a slate wand.
The essence swirls as it flows in a fog of chaotic patterns around the wand.
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.

They don’t play nice with 405 like a Thanot Wand so I don’t know how many charges they have.

>cast at wand
You gesture at a pale thanot wand.
You sense that the wand is a magic item that holds the spell “Limb Disruption” with a fair amount of charges.
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.

A hit, a palpable hit.

I am off hunting swordsmen, so of course I can only find heralds. This morning, I decided to ensorcell my baby blue kakore runestaff. It was a good choice.

>incant 719
You trace an intricate sign that contorts in the air while
forcefully invoking Dark Catalyst…
Your spell is ready.
You gesture at a putrefied Citadel herald.
CS: +325 – TD: +280 + CvA: +17 + d100: +48 == +110
Warding failed!
… and hits for 11 points of damage!
A putrefied Citadel herald is suddenly engulfed in flames of pure
… 25 points of damage!
Flames incinerate right leg to the bone. Not a pleasant sight.
It is knocked to the ground!
… 15 points of damage!
The Citadel herald’s left arm trembles with the cold.
… 20 points of damage!
Heavy shock to left leg. Gonna limp for awhile.
… 25 points of damage!
Strong blow to chest!
You feel 5 mana surge into you!

Necrotic energy from your kakore runestaff overflows into you!
You feel energized!
Your kakore runestaff flares with a burst of flame!
… 15 points of damage!
Burst of flames chars neck a crispy black.
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the Citadel herald’s body as it rises, disappearing into the heavens.
A putrefied Citadel herald writhes on the ground then spits, “This
cannot be defeat…” before lying motionless.
The very powerful look leaves a putrefied Citadel herald.
The white light leaves a putrefied Citadel herald.
The dim aura fades from around a putrefied Citadel herald.
A white glow rushes away from a putrefied Citadel herald.
A putrefied Citadel herald seems slightly different.
A putrefied Citadel herald seems hesitant.
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.

I tagged him with DC which triggered a flare from my kakore staff and then an ensorcellment flare. I wish someone had been there to applaud.

Runestaff Collection for Gemstone IV

Magarven is lucky. He has found three rune staves in three weeks, bringing his collection to 4 four.

He first is a blackened orase runestaff, which is +20 and ensorcelled.

The second is a deringo runestaff that carries two different enhancements. It adds +2 to my mana and +6 to Dexterity. It has an odd bonus of +14. It is currently fully charged.

The third is a baby blue kakore runestaff, which adds to my mana regeneration. It is also ensorcelled. This one has bonus of +9 and flares with fire.

The last and most recent discovery is a banded faewood runestaff. It does not appear to have any special statistics other than the +20 to defense.

Pretty soon I will need a golf bag for all of my staves.

Tips and Tricks - Enhansive Items in Gemstone IV

There is a quick trick to figuring out if an item has a temporary enhancive bonus. Take it to the Adeventurer’s Guild and attempt to recharge it. Not only does this detect an enhancive you might not know about, he will tell you if it is full or not.

River's Rest - Ships and Dust Background Information

I was wondering why there was so much dust in River’s Rest. It turns out that River’s Rest is modeled on Andalusia in Spain.

Andalusia is a mediterranean climate and experiences both torrential rains and cool dry spells. This was revealed by Scribes on the forum.

Perhaps the image on the left is the hills where the Kakore was harvested for my runestaff.

I think it is wonderful.

The current descriptions go back to Bradach and Jineer. They gave the town a dry and dusty flavor, with vague hints of Middle Eastern Culture. I would describe it as Moorish, but Middle Eastern fits, too.

Another possible easter egg in the town is the inexplicable model ship available at Bertha’s. It might have been modeled on the ship in MYST, however no clear evidence of this exists. There is a couple of ships in the River’s Rest environ’s, so this could be completely independent of the MYST ship.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Minor Fix in GSIV

I have had this glaesine orb for years. For the longest time, it didn't work.

The orb is shaped of pure midnight blue glaes, crafted into a perfect orb.  It hangs from a delicate silver chain affixed with a tiny moon-shaped mithril pin.

Tiny shimmering crystals hover inside the orb, pulsating slightly with the light of the stars.  Currently they form the shape of the
constellation of The Unicorn.

Barely visible on the glaesine surface of the orb, some words have been etched in minute script around its circumference.

You gesture at a shimmering glaesine orb.

The orb vibrates gently.  A brief vision of a glittering implosion in a darkened void fills your mind.  Brightly glowing spheres are flung outward from the center of the implosion, hurtling through the
darkness as they yet bring illumination to the void.

Minute but elegant script is barely visible as it encircles your glaesine orb...

"Frae Naira vers Deiam, Jae esais bevre Tua ae te Draekeche."
"From Dusk til Dawn, I stand between thee and the darkness."
                                      - from the journals of
                                        Linsandrych Illistim
                                        circa -49,080
A faint foggy mist forms over the surface of the orb then slowly fades away.

You tilt your glaesine orb side to side, making the light play off it.

You thumb the glaesine orb in your hand.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chromebook + Linux + Simutronics Wizard

Using the Simutronics Wizard is preferable to the default web client. On a Chromebook, you must install some form of linux to install the Wizard and then install Wine and WineTricks.

Installing Linux on a Chromebook is easy. How to Geek has a great install guide for linux and crouton. This guide has a couple of options, I suggest xfce as a solid OS for your Chromebook. I mention this because I am using Ubuntu and Unity, which is less optimal. This instructions will work for many types of linux, so use whatever your heart desires.

Once you have linux install go ahead and use chrosh to open it up. Your commands are: "shell" and "sudo startunity", if you have Ubuntu Unity or "sudo startxfce4" for xfce. If you have another flavor, your sudo start command will be different.

If you are using Ubuntu, sometimes the Software Center is broken when first launched. Update it by typing into the terminal: "sudo apt-get update software-center". Once this step is complete, open it and install WineTricks. This will install a basic Internet Explorer. You can reach that directory by going to: home/chrome/.wine/dosdevices/program files (x86)/ or simply searching for iexplore.exe.

For some reason, the iexplorer.exe will not download the file, but keep it open in the background for later. Open your linux web browser and go to

Next download the Game Entry Client. This will get a program called sg32inst.exe.

Back up in the browser and do the same for the Game Launcher. This file is called InchInst.exe.

Once you have these files, open sg32inst.exe and InchInst.exe. They should open directly from your browser and run in Wine. You will end up with the Simutronics Game Entry tool in Program Files under the C:\ drive. Open it and log in.
 Next, select a game.
 Select a character AND choose your client. Your options are Stormfront or Wizard. I picked the Wizard. It will download it for you and install it into your Program Files (x86). The same for Stormfront.
 Hit play and you are in. For whatever reason, there is no sound.

(If you have any problems, let me know in the comments and I will try to work it out.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Old Voln Symbol List

I was looking at some old logs and noticed one of my characters accessed the old Voln Symbol list.
For those who wish to see the old stuff:
Symbol list
Symbols known to you:
Symbol of Recognition
Symbol of Blessing
Symbol of Thought
Symbol of Recovery
Symbol of Courage
Symbol of Protection
Charl’s Throw
Kai’s Punch
Phoen’s Kick
Symbol of Calming
Symbol of Sleep
Symbol of Turning
Symbol of Mana
Symbol of Sight
Symbol of Holiness
Symbol of Submission
Symbol of Restoration
Symbol of Need
Symbol of Retribution
Charl’s Improved Throw
Kai’s Improved Punch
Phoen’s Improved Kick
Symbol of Preservation
Symbol of Dreams
Symbol of Return
Symbol of Invitation

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Game Mechanic Shafts

Sorcerers are known to have one of the cruelest game mechanic shafts – low strength and/or constitution and a requirement to tote a ton of kit to work spells. Many spells require some sort of component: 740, 735, 725, and 714 just to name the major ones. Bottles, rune stones, ink, paint brushes, pens, chalk and so on.
For this reason, I role play a slightly built sorcerer with glasses and robes. No one should be surprised when he rummages in his backpack for a bottle or sack for some found prize instead of wielding a weapon.
This isn’t the greatest mechanical screw in the game. I think the record holder is the old Tapestry in the Temple, Wehnimer’s Landing’s. Back in the day, the Tapestry was a unique item and space. One character at a time could enter that part of the Temple. So, queue it up and play nice for a deed. Yes, one deed because you were pitched out by the acolytes, just as you are now.
This mechanic was removed years ago, but I still recall the wall of text and line of characters waiting their turn.

Back in the Rest

I finally reactivated my account and now have my main character, Magarven back in River’s Rest.
A lot has change since I left three years ago. Sorcerer’s have Balefire (713) and a new version of Nightmare (713). I managed to curse myself right in front of a bunch of trolls. Actual trolls, tomb trolls.
Years ago, I used to be a master of this area. I would lay down a cloud of Nightmare and then rely on Maelstrom (710) or Pain (711) to wipe out the trolls. That doesn’t seem to work anymore. The trolls have far too many HP. Perhaps they were tweaked or perhaps I am rusty. In any event, I discovered that the lower levels of the Citadel are more to my liking.
As a Volner, I am enjoying the changes to the Order. Symbol of Mana is much better and Symbol of Seeking is amazing. The ability to seek out undead and teleport there from any monastery is wonderful.
As I explore all of the updates, I hope to see you in the game.

GameHosts and Bloodwood Wands

Two epic saves in 24 hours.
First, I armed my level zero cleric with bloodwood wands to level up twice in River’s Rest. That felt awesome.
Second, when I switched to Premium, I reactivated every character on my account. Some of them, such as Battery Joaness I had played over a decade ago and was unwilling to reroll. Since it had been so long since her creation, I had no idea where she was ‘born’ and could not locate her locker. Short of traveling to every town guess at her locker location, I did an assist.
The happy ending is all I have to do is check the locker manifest in Four Winds to find the lockers location. No guessing at all. Silly that I had to assist instead of figuring that out for myself, but if it works, I should share it. I am glad the GameHost didn’t laugh at me.
The last time I did an assist, I had just received an enhancive device that pushed my stats so high that I have an 11 spirit. Having been killed recently, I was running around with 1 spirit point and took off the device. I believe I was going to cast 405 on it to see if it was ok. Guess what happened? And guess what happened when I put it on and it suddenly failed?
Fun, but I hope a GameHost has an epic laugh log from my experience.

How to Get the Deeds Done – River’s Rest

Deeds are a little unusual in the Rest. Just like everything else, eh?
There are just a couple of steps:
Look in Pool
Look in Pool
Touch Pool
Put gems and/or shells in the pool
Touch Pool and be transported
Touch Flower
Get Seed
Plant Seed
In the Rest, I am not sure if gems or shells are tripled as they are in the Landing. I have not tried coins, so attempt that at your own risk.
Log begins here:
[River’s Rest, Spring Rest]
All about, leaves and small twigs litter the forest floor, but at the forest’s edge, in this clearing, brush marks in the soft dirt show the care that someone takes here. A pool of clear water dominates the area and feeds a small stream which meanders southward beside a small path.
At the edge of the clearing, two large stone pillars mark a pathway west.
Warm sunlight filters through the trees and seems to invite the weary to rest here in peace.
You also see a long pier.
Obvious paths: east, south
You kneel down.
>look in pool
As you gaze into the pool of water, you feel a sense of well-being steal over you. Your reflection gazes back at you, solemn yet serene and inviting.
>look in pool
Briefly, you glimpse the image of a one-armed man, reaching out to you and smiling as if in invitation.
>touch pool
As you touch your reflection in the pool, it shimmers and fades away, leaving you gazing at a glittering mound at the bottom of the pool.
>get she from back
You remove an emperor’s crown shell from in your oilcloth backpack.
>put shell in pool
The scent of herbs and flowers seems to drift on the air as you drop the emperor’s crown shell into the crystal clear water.
It falls from your hand into the crystaline water of the pool, gently disturbing the surface of the water. An image of a one-armed man appears on the the water and he is smiling at you.
>touch pool
As you touch the pool, you hear a whispered voice saying, “You are welcome to my garden.” The old man who keeps the pool neat and clean wanders in and gathers the things you have dropped into the pool. He smiles broadly at you and as he does, a feeling of vertigo overcomes you and the world about shimmers and fades.
When your vision clears, you find yourself in a garden and you take a deep breath as you look around curiously.
[River’s Rest, Garden of Life]
A riotous display of flowers and herbs of every description assaults your senses.
Most seem to be in full bloom, but here and there you spot a plant ready to seed, ready to give back to the land that which it has taken. Standing next to one such patch of flowers is a one-armed man. He wears a medallion depicting Imaera as she tends a garden that is so beautiful it makes the one you stand in appear quite drab. She appears to be planting seeds and strangely, she seems to be smiling at you.
Obvious paths: out
>touch flower
As you gingerly touch the flowers, a single ripe seed falls to the ground. As it does, the one-armed man smiles at you and seems to nod approvingly.
>get seed
You pick up a ripe seed.
>plant seed
You scramble to your feet.
Walking to the garden’s edge, you spy a bare spot, and lean down to gently press the seed into the rich soil. As you straighten up, a faint image suddenly appears beside the one-armed man. She smiles at you and softly says, “As you have honored the life of this garden, so shall I beg of Lorminstra that she shall honor your own life.” Her voice fades into a rustle of flowers as a small breeze brushes your cheek. When you look again, she and the one-armed man are nowhere to be seen.

Counting Coup

Last night, I was cleaning up some old logs and found my first adventure into The Marsh Keep Area.

Jersea, Moswell, Gutios, Armundia, Sorlu, Spingwell, Khiya Lurrah, Ponrick, Husark and I left the Common’s in search of a mythic fortress in the bog. Following Sorlu, we took a minor detour to Niima’s shrine. Then we promptly got lost.
We were attacked by Necrotic Snakes in the Ghastly Swamps. That doesn’t happen any more, the swamp is just outside of their range now. I am proud to say I am the first Rester to kill a Necrotic Snake. I was also the first to injury a Chimera, which ran for it’s life.
A few minutes later, I got lost and ended up in a running battle with a Tomb Troll Necromancer, a couple of Flesh Golems and a few Tomb Trolls. Fortunately, the group came back for me and handily defeated the Trolls in a truly epic rescue.
Jersea took up the lead as a bard and lore sang many new finds. She pulled knowledge and details unimaginable to us.
Moving deeper into The Keep, we found the Flooded Chamber. The pool with turned out to be an impassable barrier to me. I wished the others well and took up the rear guard position. Armed with a flask, some pretty old songs and my staff I managed to hold the Chamber against hordes of Trolls. I was focused on holding on, I missed the signal. The rest of the party escaped back to town.
My fault, entirely. I went down fighting an uncountable host of Trolls. The rest of the gang escaped back to town.
For the record, I heard that the prize was a book.

Gruesome Feast

I was fighting a Flesh Golem and took it down as a Tomb Troll Necromancer entered the room. Instead of attacking me, it did this:
With a ravenous glint in his eye, a tomb troll necromancer pounces upon the body of a flesh golem and begins feasting on its abdomen. Within seconds, the golem’s midsection is torn asunder and the troll necromancer looks up from his meal with gore dripping down his face. A tomb troll necromancer looks much healthier after consuming his gruesome feast!
I’ve never seen that before. And really don’t want to again.

Hording Gear

After years of hoarding, I finally have a character that can use some of my accumulated gear. Ryvell, my cleric has a matching pair of maces:
You remove a sigil-etched black Ora mace from your silvery leather sheath.
You remove a white Ora mace from you black leather sheath.

I need to get better sheaths, but for a 6th level cleric, follower of Zelia, these weapons are perfect.