Realms of the Dragon
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Character Advancement

Advancement turns a fragile newbie into a titan of combat or master of the arcane. The chief component of leveling up a character is advancing skills. Read about the fundamentals and mechanics of advancement the Player's Handbook. This page assumes you understand what skills are, how to advance them, and have some idea of which skills you want to max.

Overmaxxing

The skill profile, abilities, and play style of a particular character are generally referred to as a "max". For example, a Priest who focuses on providing defenses and resurrections to other players may be said to have a "service max", while one who focuses on fighting other players has a "PK max". An effective character focuses a max on only a couple particular areas of a Guild, and advancing the relevant skills as far as possible. Attempting to advance many different skills will lower the final value for all of them, and the corresponding effectiveness of your abilities. The game is balanced around the concept of "overmaxxing" a few chosen skills to bring certain desired abilities to their highest level. Each skill tree, such as fighting or magic, can be overmaxxed separately.

Planning one's advancement is a crucial step for creating an effective character. That can mean having very specific numbers to reach in certain skills, or simply an idea of which spells you want to reach peak effectiveness. Telepati of the Dragon Templars and the Sage Epicar have graciously provided the Realms with programs to test advancement plans and see what final skill numbers will be.
Telepati's planner works online and can be found here: http://rod.drugges.se/planner
Epicar's planner is a vintage Windows application and can be downloaded from https://www.crownhousestudio.com/rod/tools/ but note its age requires running in Windows XP3 (or earlier) compatibility mode. Those looking to hit precise numbers should know that tweaks to the game over the years have made its calculations off by a few points.

Knowing which skills to max for and how far to advance each one comes with experience, or the generous advice of other players. In general, you should focus on skills only in one of the branches directly under the main parent skill, such as fighting.offensive or magic.spells. Veteran players will attempt many different plans and carefully monitor advancement to determine exactly how far to advance a skill for a particular result, such as what level of fighting.offensive.special grants an "invincible" rating for a Fighter's attack command. Here are some examples of popular overmax choices:
  • fighting.offensive.special for fighting guilds, to reach the "invincible" attack rating. Veteran players tune their maxes to get as close as possible to the exact skill value to attain invincible, and no further than that, so that the associated weapon skill is as high as possible.
  • faith.spells.curative.target for service max Priests, to heal other players
  • magic.spells.miscellaneous.target for Wizards, to silence other players
  • covert.stealth for thieves, to be more effective at stealing

Skill Loss

Skill loss occurs primarily as a result being brought back to life by someone other than a properly advanced resurrection Guild, and will lower some or all skill trees will be reduced by a number of potions. This reduction is a simple subtraction applied equally to every skill in the tree. Veteran players use this to take points away from undesirable skills, resulting in slightly higher totals in the main skills. Doing so is not a requirement to have an effective max, even for player killing, but does provide a small though noticeable advantage.

There are two main ways to use skill loss as part of a max. The simplest is by dying, and using a shrine to "raise". This will cause skill loss in all trees with top level values greater than 35. For example, someone with a "fighting" skill of 45, "covert" skill of 40, and "magic" skill of 25 could lose points in fighting and covert, but not magic.

North of Pesvint, deep in the Valeris Forest, you can find a truly unique monster named Soulskinner. You can fight him if you dare, but don't hope to defeat him because he is known to flee the scene when he is about to lose a battle. Killing this demon is as hard as it is pointless. Your goal is to inflict minimum damage and survive long enough for him to work his magic on you. Sometime during the fight he will drain your mind of one point in whatever skill you are most proficient with at the time.

Unlike dying, there is no minimum value (other than zero) for Soulskinner. He will take a single point at a time away from whichever tree has the highest top level value. This means that if fighting and magic are both at 20, he will alternate between those trees as he steals knowledge. He will only suck away ten skill points total, regardless of which skill trees lose points.

Veteran players will often use both deaths and Soulskinner to raise their desired skills as high as possible.

Skill Loss Example

Say a Fighter has the following skills:
    fighting............   54          
    | offensive.........  102
    | | melee...........  144           
    | | | sharp.........  400           
    | | | blunt.........   15           
    | | | unarmed.......   15           
    | | range...........   10          
    | | special.........  150      
    | defensive.........    5
The Fighter now takes deaths to lose 15 points in fighting. The skill tree becomes:
fighting.............  39
| offensive..........  87
| | melee............  129
| | | sharp..........  385
| | | blunt..........  0
| | | unarmed........  0
| | range............  0
| | special..........  135
| defensive..........  0
After re-advancing f.o.m.s and f.o.s to the desired levels, the skill tree is:
fighting.............  48
| offensive..........  95
| | melee............  134
| | | sharp..........  400
| | | blunt..........  0
| | | unarmed........  0
| | range............  0
| | special..........  150
| defensive..........  0
Stripping points from the undesired skills produces a higher overmax result for f.o.m.s and f.o.s, because the parents of those skills can be advanced further.

Vitality

Vitality is a skill tree all characters depend upon. Here's a short description of each sub-skill:

Vitality.physical.endurance (VPE): Affects your maximum hit point score (HP) together with your constitution and racial bonus.

Vitality.physical.healing (VPH): Affects how many hit points you recover each round and effectiveness of HP healing. It also affects your combat if you are in a fighting type Guild.

Vitality.mental.endurance (VME): Affects your maximum Guild point score (GP) together with your main Guild stat (intellect for magic users, wisdom for faith users etc) and racial bonus.

Vitality.mental.concentration (VMC): Affects how many Guild points you recover each round and effectiveness of GP healing. It also affects your combat heartbeat if you are in a magical Guild.

The cost of various Guild abilities steers its members in a certain direction when it comes to Vitality advancement. A Wizard might want to cast both defensive, misc, and offensive spells in a combat round, consuming large amounts of GP while a Fighter only performs his offensive strike. The Wizard therefore needs more GP than a fighter and advances VME further than the fighter. How much further only hands on experience can teach you.

One common way to advance the last sub-skill of Vitality (VPE or VME) is to advance one level, check "cost all" for max obtainable level, advance one more level, check again and so on. Max obtainable level will rise until it peaks and drops. By advancing one level at a time you will find when it just peaked.

Should you regret your advance, then know that the best solution may not be to refresh, but to ask a Psionicist to reset only that tree. A common use of this is fine tuning or altering Vitality. After finding said level one simply collects enough XP to take the rest of the advancement in one go. Be warned that resetting a tree that affects your overall level, such as magic for Wizards, will drop your level and lower your XP cap.

Stat Training

Each stat goes up to a maximum of 25. The stats and some of their effects are as follows:
  • Constitution helps determine your health (HP).
  • Dexterity affects a multitude of skills like dodging and all of covert. It also helps determine the damage and max GP in dexterous Guilds like Ninjas.
  • Strength helps determine how much you can carry and affects such skills as parry. It also plays a major role in determining damage and max GP for fighting Guilds, such as Fighters, Paladins, or Pirates.
  • Wisdom affects how efficient your search is, as well as spell effectiveness and GP for faith Guilds, such as Priests or Clerics.
  • Intelligence is important for both max GP and spell efficiency for magic and occult based Guilds like Wizards and Shamans.
The goal of permanent stat training is to reach a minimum of 18 in all important stats so that one can reach 25 with potions. Training stats uses a point pool system. Your race and Guild determine how easily you can train a particular stat. For example, a Gnomish Wizard will have a very easy time training intelligence, while an Orc Fighter will struggle to become smarter. Additionally, the higher the stat is, the more difficult training it becomes.

In your Guild, use "inquire <stat>" to see how many training points you have, and how much it would cost to train a particular stat. The minimum training cost is 2 points. If a train would take substantially more points (6, for example), you can still train it, but will receive a message indicating that doing so has greatly taxed your physical or mental (depending on the stat trained) abilities. This is known as "taxing" and is bad. In addition to using up a large number of training points, taxing also makes training other physical or mental stats more difficult.

Stat Training Advice
One can train 5 points of stats in the Newbie Guild, and 12 in one's main Guild. If you don't train in the Newbie Guild, don't worry, as the points there will carry over to your main Guild. The first 5 trains overall will never tax you, whether done in Newbie or main Guild. It is wise to use these first 5 trains to advance stats your guild or race is not very proficient with.

Stat Quests
There are currently three stat quests in play: One in Enquar, one in Mystic Keep and one that goes over three continents, but starts in Hylar. The reward for each is a permanent 1 to a chosen stat.

Stat Items
There are several stat items in play. Some give a temporary boost, while others give a boost as long as the item is worn. Examples of the former type are yohimbe bark (consumable), ring of power and ring of speed. Examples of the latter are badge of might and opal ring. Veteran players sometimes plan stat training around the use of these items.

Potions
Ebony potions are found on two different monsters and give a temporary boost to wisdom. Various NPC potion shops offer potions that may boost your stats, but the best prices and the best potions are generally found in player driven shops. Stat potions made by a skilled alchemist can add up to 7 to each stat.

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Page last modified Tue Apr 5 11:32:34 2022 by Thresh


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