A Quick Guide to Biped Adventuring
From Istaria Lexica
Bipeds are the non-Dragon races in Istaria, called Naka-duskael in the Dragon language. Although many aspects of adventuring are similar, there are significant differences between Dragons and the bipeds. Bipeds can learn several Adventuring schools, and start will all their equipment slots open. But they are weaker than Dragons and cannot ever fly.
Biped characters provide a play style very distinct from Dragons. Bipeds can join and switch between the 28 biped adventurer schools, retaining some of the advantages of each school in other ones. This allows tremendous character customization and a variety of styles of play on one character. The details of biped multiclassing are complex, so we give only a brief overview here.
Biped characters start with a full set of weapon, jewelry and armor slots, 22 in all. Dragons start with 1 scale slot, and unlock more as they grow. Customized equipment makes a larger difference in the early life of a biped than of a dragon, so many biped players will craft or have another player make custom equipment for them. If you get frustrated, stuck, or the game feels tedious, equipment can often solve the problem.
Biped-only quests come from the biped's Adventuring schools, so the quests available to your character will partly depend on their current adventure school.
Overview of Biped Adventuring
Bipeds start out as one of the Naka Duskael races:
Each race has a passive ability and an active ability unique to that race. The choice of race will not restrict the choices available for schools nor for equipment use. However, some races will make certain paths easier than others. Several of the races have corresponding Racial Towns, and the racial lore and history provides a framework for roleplay on the roleplay server.
Bipeds can initially join one of four schools Cleric, Mage, Scout, or Warrior. They can change schools or switch back and forth between them by talking with schools' trainers. The Hybrid schools Druid, Monk or Spiritist can be joined once their prerequisites are met, usually by getting to level 10 in the Cleric, Warrior or Mage schools respectively. All the other schools are Prestige schools, and require prerequisite skill levels that usually take leveling one or more of the first 7 schools to 20.
Schools fall into 3 categories, based on the magical skills they teach:
- Teaching no magic skill
- Teaching Mystic magical skill (Mystic schools)- Augmentation, Blight, Life, Nature, and/or Spirit
- Teaching Arcane magical skill (Arcane schools)- Energy, Flame, Ice, Mind, and/or Summoning
Unmagical schools are:
- Scout (SCT)
- Warrior (WAR)
- Monk (MONK)
- Berserker (BRSK)
- Crossbowman (CRSB)
- Elemental Archer (ELAR)
- Spearman (SPRM)
Mystic magical schools are:
- Cleric (CLRC)
- Spiritist (SPRT)
- Blood Mage (BLDM)
- Guardian (GRDN)
- Healer (HLR)
- Paladin (PLDN)
- Ranger (RNGR)
- Reaver (RVR)
- Shaman (SHMN)
- Spirit Disciple (SPRD)
- Storm Disciple (STMD)
Arcane magical schools are
- Mage (MAGE)
- Battle Mage (BTLM)
- Chaos Warrior (CHSW)
- Conjurer (CONJ)
- Flame Disciple (FLMD)
- Ice Disciple (ICED)
- Knight of Creation (KNOC)
- Sorcerer (SORC)
- Wizard (WIZ)
If a biped currently belongs to one of the magical schools, they can cast most of the Arcane skill spells or Mystic skill spells (if they have learned the appropriate skill for the spell), depending on whether the current school is Arcane or Mystic. Some Arcane and some Mystic spells can be cast by every school, even the non-magical ones, as long as the appropriate skill was already learned. The capacity to use magic 'out of school' gives bipeds one of their greatest advantages (but requires leveling the necessary magical schools).
Most Healing spells are an exception to this; they can only be cast by a subset of Mystic schools - Cleric, Healer, Druid,Blood Mage, Shaman, and Spiritist. Note that Paladin cannot cast most healing spells.
Every biped adventure school provides:
- x-11 points per level in each statistic
- x-11 points per level in certain skills
- enabling the use of certain classes of armor
- enabling the use of certain categories of weapons, sometimes ones they gain no skill in.
- enabling the use of certain spells, including many they gain no skill in.
- the use of school-specific abilities
- the use of certain abilities already learned in another school, but not yet learned in the current one.
Bipeds can join more than one school, and can freely switch between schools by talking with the appropriate school trainer. To learn skills outside those taught by the current school, a biped must switch to a school that does teach them.
When a biped changes schools, they keep the skills from the previous school, and the statistic gains. Skill and statistic gained from different schools are not added, instead largest increase applies. Sometimes a biped will gain a school level, but one skill will not increase because they learned more of that skill earlier, in a different school. (Likewise with statistics.) Two other things carry over from earlier schools, mastered abilities and shared abilities.
The capacity to use weapons and spells comes independently of skill in that class of weapon or spell. Schools that give skill points in a class of weapons may not be able to use all weapons requiring that skill, and schools which grant no skill points may allow use of that weapon anyway. For example, compare Maul use by a Cleric -- who gets no Two Hand Crush skill -- with that of a Sorcerer, who does. Some weapons, spells, and armor are usable by all biped schools, as long as the level and skill requirements are met. So if our Cleric or Sorcerer joins the other school, they will be able to use a Maul as Cleric. As a Sorcerer, they will have the skill to use some Augmentation and Life spells (some healing!).
There are many combinations of schools that work well together, finding them provides part of the fun of playing a biped. And sometimes frustration. Belonging to many adventure schools will raise a biped's Adventure Rating, which lowers the experience gained from combat. The biped adventurer will have to fight more difficult/higher level monsters, nearer to their adventure rating, to earn adequate experience. The advantage of learning a new school may or may not be enough to outweigh the higher rating. Customized equipment can help, as can redistributing training points. However....
A biped can join far too many adventure schools, so they can forget the unwanted ones by visiting Ethien the Tempered in Dalimond Bay. A forgotten school removes all the skills, statistics, and abilities gained from that school, leaving only skill levels, statistic levels and abilities from the remaining schools. (It will not remove spells, but may make them unusable.) [Note: Joining a prestige school can cause a big jump in adventure rating. Be prepared to visit Ethien and drop one of your other schools in order to keep your character's adventure rating tolerable.]
Bipeds follow one of 3 paths to level 100:
- Some specialize in one or two schools that become the main schools for their entire lifespan.
- Some finish with many schools, but start taking one school, or (usually) two schools that provide a good foundation to level 100.
- Some raise multiple schools in parallel, using something close to their final schools for most of the path.
Once the biped reaches level 100, a realization dawns; the big disadvantage of multiple schools disappears! With no need for experience, the problem caused by a high Adventure Rating vanishes. Faced with challenging monsters, and even more challenging Epic enemies, the biped looks for a way to get better. The obvious, learning yet another school, would give them a key ability, a better important statistic, or a handy (or critical) spell.
At that point, the plucky biped adds another school, and starts the grindy process of working their way up without combat experience. Quests become the main source of experience, especially Trophies and repeatable Town Marshall ones. Since the biped has the skills and statistics of their level 100 schools, combat is very easy. Armor, weapons and spells are still limited by level, and so are some abilities; while combat may be risk-free, it isn't always fast. Eventually, their new school's level gets high enough that monster combat starts giving experience. As the biped learns more schools to or near 100, that point comes later and later with each new school.
There are four broad tiers of biped armor. All schools can wear the least protective armor, Cloth Armor. Each more protective tier is limited to fewer schools, with only 8 schools able to wear Platemail Armor. A school that can wear a heavier armor can wear all the classes of lighter armor, so characters that can wear Scale/Plate can wear all other armors. Shields are an exception to this, Shield skill is necessary to wield a shield.
(Who can wear what)
|Armor Type||Usable By|
|Scalemail||Battle Mage, Chaos Warrior, Cleric, Crossbowman, Knight of Creation, Paladin, Reaver, Warrior|
|Ringmail||All of the above plus: Elemental Archer, Guardian, Healer, Ranger, Scout, Shaman, Spearman|
|Hide||All of the above plus: Berserker, Druid, Flame Disciple, Ice Disciple, Monk, Spirit Disciple, Storm Disciple|
|Cloth||All of the above plus: Blood Mage, Conjurer, Mage, Spiritist, Sorcerer, Wizard|
|Shields||Battle Mage, Cleric, Crossbowman, Druid, Guardian, Healer, Knight of Creation, Paladin, Ranger, Reaver, Scout, Shaman, Spearman, Warrior|
Note that all trade schools can also wear cloth armor, so the highest trade school can stand in for the current 'cloth caster' school level if it is better.
Bipeds wear 13 pieces of armor and 7 pieces of jewelry. A biped Outfitter, Armorer or Tailor can create customized armor that can boost weapon or magic skills, statistics, armor, or other defenses. A Jeweler can make similarly make customized jewelery. Armor and jewelry customization can substantially improve a biped's competence. A set of first tier armor, jewelry and weapon customized for an Adventure skill will add 50 skill points to that skill. At level 31, with Armor Use 310, a full set of third tier armor, jewelry and weapon can add 150 skill points (15 levels worth) to two skills. Third and Fourth tier equipment have two customization slots, Fifth tier armor has three. Note that 5th tier customized armor has more potential to raise skills than total Training Points, 1200 TP (400 skill levels) vs 25x10x3 armor/jewelry (750 skill points).
High Armor Use skill lets the biped character wear higher levels of armor more quickly. Higher tier armor provides both better protection and more powerful customization. Schools that do not teach a magic skill gain 10 Armor Use, except Crossbowman. Only the Guardian and Mage gain both a magical skill and Armor Use 10. Most bipeds cannot reach Armor Use 910 (Fifth tier) unless they raise a school that gains 9 or 10 Armor Use. The Dwarven race's passive ability Enhanced Armor Use provides a large enough bonus that Dwarves can bypass that limitation.
Bipeds with multiple schools will find themselves with a very full closet, especially if they follow schools from each of the armor-wearing groups above. The only advantage of heavier armors is the damage reduction soaked up by their higher Armor stat (about 1 point of damage/45 points of Armor stat). Generally, it's best to have at least one set for each of the armor tiers a biped has a school in.
How many armor sets a biped wants will depend on their set of schools, and how they progress. Leveling several schools in parallel will result in a biped spending more time in the same tiers of armor, so following that path rewards making many armor sets. Leveling one or two schools to 100 means the biped is through each tier fairly quickly, so the investment in armor will not pay off unless it gets hoarded for adding more schools later. Some bipeds limit customized skill boosts to jewelry, sticking with more generally useful statistic boosts for armor pieces. Others create 'Mystic' and 'Arcane' sets that boost the skills from those schools. Still other bipeds buy a plot or two, and build lots of closets (houses).
Biped weapon use falls into tiers of wider use similar to armors, but is also partitioned by weapon skill type. Piercing weapons require Bow, Crossbow, or One Hand Pierce skill. Slashing weapons require One Hand Slash or Two Hand Slash skill. Crushing weapons require Unarmed, One Hand Crush or Two Hand Crush skill. The only weapons that can be used by all schools are Unarmed skill weapons, the Cloth/Padded/Hide/Leather Hand Wraps.
There are a few anomalies, where a school in the 'narrow' tier cannot use weapons in the broader tiers. For example, the Spearman school can use the Long Spear and Short Spear, along with the 4 archers, Shaman, Spiritist and Warrior. However, they cannot use Dirk or Dagger, which can be used by 10 and 12 different schools respectively.
Biped spell use falls into three broad categories: Low use, Mystic spells and Arcane spells. The biped schools that train magic skills also fall into the Arcane and Mystic categories. No biped school trains both a Mystic magical skill and an Arcane one. Adventure schools that train a Mystic magical skill can use many of the spells of every Mystical magic skill. Adventure schools that train an Arcane skill can use most of the spells of every Arcane magical skill. Of course, the character has to have actually gained the required Mystical/Arcane skill from time in another school, if their current school doesn't provide it.
The Mystic skills are Augmentation,Life,Blight, Nature, and Spirit. Schools which can use most Mystic spells are Cleric, Druid, Spiritist, Blood Mage,Ranger,Healer,Shaman,Spirit Disciple,Storm Disciple,Guardian,Paladin and Reaver. The subset of schools that can use heal spells are Cleric, Healer, Blood Mage,Shaman and Spiritist.
The Arcane skills are Energy,Flame, Ice,Mind, and Summoning. Schools which can use most Arcane spells are Mage, Conjurer, Sorcerer, Wizard, Flame Disciple, Ice Disciple, Battle Mage, Chaos Warrior, and Knight of Creation.
Every magic skill except Summoning has at least one spell that can be used by all biped schools, most have 3-5. The spells that are limited to Arcane or Mystic schools tend to be more powerful or situational spells; sometimes their effects can be added by customizing a technique to a universal-use spell (e.g., Revitalize can have the Cleanse technique added to give an effect like the Purify spell.) The healing spells of Life magic are more narrowly limited, to a subset of the Mystic schools; the more combat-oriented schools like Paladin or Druid that teach Mystic skills can only use the general healing spells Revitalize/Improved Revitalize.
The universal spells are:
- Bolts, except Mind Bolt and Blood Bolt
- Flame/Ice/Energy Attack
- Wards - Spirit, Blight, Nature, Flame, Ice, Energy
- Resistances - Spirit, Blight, Nature, Flame, Ice, Energy
- Buffs - Raises and Gifts from Augmentation and Life, including Swift Feet
- Heals - Revitalize/Improved Revitalize from Life
- Debuffs - Lessen spells in Blight
- Root from Nature, Ice Shackles from Ice, and Numbing Haze from Mind
Istaria gives Spellcrafter and Scholar characters the ability to customize spells, but somewhat differently from equipment customizations. Spell customizations enhance the effects of a spell or add other effects. The customizations available vary widely from spell to spell, even within each Magic skill category. Common ones are increased range, increased damage, and critical damage. Others stun, slow, or set the enemy on fire. Multischool bipeds gain key advantages from customized spells; for example, Ice Bolt customized with Numbing will lower enemy evasion, letting melee attacks hit more reliably; Shocked technique will cause an Energy Bolt to lower enemies' attack rate. But a Berserker cannot connect with one of those spells (or use the spell at all) unless they have Ice or Energy skill from another school like Conjurer or Wizard.
Biped Adventure School Organization
Biped schools fall somewhat into four broad combat categories, and combinations of those categories with magical ability. Non-fighters, Archers, Light Melee, and Heavy Melee combat; Low, Arcane, and Mystic magic.
- Non-fighters are most limited in armor use, and have the fewest options for weapon use. They all use either Arcane or Mystic magic, and rely on crowd control, high damage, and/or keeping distance for defense. They get high skill gains in one or more of the Arcane or Mystic magic skills.
- Archers (except Crossbowman) use lighter armors, and are limited to one-handed weapons and shield. They rely on shield and keeping distance for defense (except the plate-wearing Crossbowman. They get high skill gains in Bow and/or Crossbow skills.
- Light Melee use leather armor, have a limited selection of weapons, and most rely on high evasion and dodge skill for defense. Most get good skill gains in Evasion and one weapon skill and if Arcane or Mystic, one magic skill.
- Heavy melee use Plate/Scale armor, have the broadest selection of weapons, low evasion, and rely on armor and sometimes shield for defense. They get good skill gains in weapon skills.
Low magic schools can only use universal spells, and all get Armor Use 10 except Crossbowman. Mystic schools can use most Mystic skill spells (heals excepted), but only Guardian has Armor Use 10. Arcane schools can use most Arcane skill spells, but only Mage gets Armor Use 10. Although they are heavy armor warriors, Battle Mage, Chaos Warrior, Knight of Creation, Paladin and Reaver do not have Armor Use 10.
- Low magic non-fighters exist. They're called crafters.
- Low magic archers: Scout, Elemental Archer,Crossbowman
- Low magic light melee: Berserker, Monk
- Low magic heavy melee: Spearman,Warrior
- Mystic non-fighter: Blood Mage,Spiritist -- Can use healing spells if Life skill was learned in another school.
- Mystic archer: Ranger
- Mystic light melee: Storm Disciple,Spirit Disciple
- Mystic 'healers': Healer,Druid,Shaman -- are an exception, they have better armor but poor combat skills
- Mystic heavy melee: Guardian, Paladin, Reaver. Cleric occupies a middle ground between these and the healers; best armor and good weapon selection.
- Arcane non-fighters: Mage,Conjurer,Sorcerer,Wizard
- Arcane archer: None. Perhaps the Elemental Archer was originally meant to fit here.
- Arcane light melee: Flame Disciple, Ice Disciple
- Arcane heavy melee: Battle Mage, Chaos Warrior, Knight of Creation