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Library: How to Cut Gems

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Author: jengajeff
Date:Oct 18 2020

This is a brief guide to one of the essential money-making activities for
merchants in BatMUD: gem cutting.

The Merchant Life is a Hard Life:

Before everything else, it's important to emphasize that merchants have a
different game experience than other classes. In a world of monsters and brave
heroes, merchants are normal people with desk jobs and low combat skill.
Merchants can't do most quests; instead, they earn experience and money
mining, manufacturing certain items, and providing services to other players.
A new character starting as a merchant will make less experience per hour and
advance more slowly. It's frustrating at first! Other people suggest earning a
bunch of experience as a different class, then reincarnating to come back as a
merchant with a load of safe experience to save on leveling those merchant
skills.

Why Cut Gems?

Providing merchant services to other players (plastic surgery, repairs,
featherweights) makes more money faster, and is a bright spot of social
interaction in a merchant's life, otherwise spent squatting in a tunnel and
bashing rocks with a cheap pick-axe. But there's only so many merchant things
that people need done at a given moment, and there's a bit of competition for
those jobs. By contrast, gems are always waiting there in the ground for you.

The Important Stats:
*DEX: For processing gem ore and cutting gems.
*STR: For mining more efficiently and carrying more stuff.

The Most Important Skills:

*Mining: Higher mining skills mean more efficient mining of gem ores. In
addition, it takes high mining skill to be able to see and mine all types of
gems; mining of 95% will let you see everything. 
*Gem Cutting: High gem cutting improves the value of the gems you produce and
the efficiency of your ore processing skills. It also reduces the probability
that you fumble and destroy that big chunk of gem ore you're cutting. Take gem
cutting as high as you can get it.
   -Important: This seems more successful when you're higher on EPs. I wait
between gem cutting tries to get my EPs to maximum. If you're really going for
it, run to a large healing crystal or fire between gem cutting tries to
recover EPs faster.
*Minecrafting: Mining surface deposits of ore is more efficient, but digging
mineshafts is more interesting, as you occasionally run into treasure,
high-EXP monsters a merchant can actually fight, and special bonus areas.

The Almost-as-Important Skills:

*Amalgamate: Combines the little chunks of gem ore you mined into one big one.
The higher this is, the less weight of ore gets lost in an amalgamation.
*Refining: Improves the quality of that big chunk of gem ore. You don't wanna
do gem cutting on anything less than the highest quality ore, divine. If you
can't efficiently hit divine quality ore, level up refining until you can.
*Carpentry: Use logs to reinforce mines and mineshafts.

Skills that are useful, but which don't need to be trained too high:

*Lumberjacking: Cut trees to reinforce mines and mineshafts.
*Plant Lore: Identify trees to cut down.
*MINERAL CUTTING: Cut apart large chunks of divine refined gem ore so that if
you fumble, you don't lose the whole thing. You'll end up with more little
stubs you can't cut any more out of (<2kg), but you can amalgamate those back
together with only slight loss.
*Eye of Loraen: Turn this on for a particular ore and have deposits of it
highlighted on the minimap. Use 'use eye of loraen alert on', and have it also
beep anytime you get near a deposit of that ore. More proof that merchants are
the wizards' favorite children! Train this to just 20% and you'll be able to
reliably track a single ore at a time.
*Double Mine: Sometimes get twice the ore when you use mining (but not
minecrafting).

Put these skills off:
*Law: Allows you to fill out paperwork costing 20k to increase the value of
gems you can sell in a real life week. You need high law to make this worth
your while, and you need to be able to produce signficant value of gems in a
period to even need this.

Helpful Equipment:
*Every +DEX piece of equipment you can find: DEX is critical to gem cutting to
not fumble high value gems. The 'Competing Merchants' quest involves no
fighting, but it'll get you a customizable ring that you can set to +4 DEX -
get two of these. Other cheap starting DEX equipment: Flute of the Slave's
Sigh (a single glove that gives you +2 to DEX per hand - pay 10 or 20 k),
Moonrind equipment (randomly generated equipment from Secladin - pay 10k or
less for +1 to DEX, 20K for +2 to DEX, 100k or more for +5 to DEX), Pendant of
Quickness (randomly choosen +6-+9 to DEX - pay 700k-1 million). Also, check
the carts in Arelium, Southern Cross, and Esiris for DEX equipment. Haggle if
you can, but prepare to pay for this stuff!
*Knobbed oak staff: Wield this staff and type 'raise staff' to get a complete
listing of _all_ material deposits in a given radius around you. Very helpful
when you're just looking for something to mine. Also, it highlights glass,
bone, stone, and trees - Eye of Loraen doesn't do that! The problem is, the
staff is only correct perhaps 50% of the time. Still worth it. Don't pay more
than 50k, although I suspect you can get it for less. The staff has extra
powers if you're in the party that defeats the Wildspace monster to get this,
but that's outta my league, friendo.
*A small/medium/big shiny box for storing minerals: This box stores 5-20
individual pieces of material, and it reduces their weight. Featherweight the
box, and it weighs less. If you featherweight the materials, too, it weighs
even less, but that's too much trouble. Buy a medium box off of a big sibling
merchant for 20k, or do a buncha Feldspar quests and turn in your favor for a
box. Alchemists sell these too.
*The merchant belt (A fine leather belt, or a fine dragonscale belt): This is
the belt you get from the merchant belt quests. As you complete quests, it
gives you slight bonuses to merchant skills, including gem cutting. Much more
importantly, it's very light, and it puts weightless ethereal versions of
tools into your hands whenever you need them. It's easy to get this to hold a
gem cutting chisel, but you'll have to crawl through the entire first tier of
quests to get a hammer. Go for this belt - every first tier quest gets you a
new tool, and the complete belt holds everything you'll ever need except for
glassworking tongs.
*A cheap ass hammer for mining: Any hammer will do - we've noticed no
difference between nonmagical hammers. Just pick one up off the ground in
Arelium, or pay less than 100 gold for one at the Arelium weapons shop. If
you're ambitious, get somebody to make you a weightless fire hammer for 2k to
10k. There are magical hammers you can buy offa people, but it's not a big
priority for the +1-5% mining or whatever. Go after that merchant belt first!
*(if we're REALLY going for it) Masterchef foods and pills: you can buy pills
and foods that give you pluses to stats. Expect to pay 2k per DEX pill and 1k
per DEX food (cups of yoghurt with fruit), and expect to have to buy in bulk.
You can have one pill and one food going at a time.

Helpful Spells:
*Lift of Load: Cast this on yourself and the weight you can carry goes way up.
Maybe double? Maybe more? Knowledge of metamorphosis helps here, and you want
that anyway for money is power/featherweight/etc.
*Floating Disc: Summon a little floating disc that holds stuff. Only lasts a
few minutes, but that's all you need.
*Featherweight: Got a minute waiting for your EPs to recover? Featherweight
your mineral box, your armour, your underpants. Every kilogram counts! Don't
featherweight your weapons - that'll reduce their damage.

Where To Cut Gems:
*Public Spaces: Player cities Redwall and Babylon offer public gemcutting
workbenches with small healing crystals alongside of them. 
*Esiris (aka, Vlad): Get here using the portals in the capital cities of the
continents (like the portal in the church in Arelium). No healing crystal at
the workbench, but the fire in the bar is at least as good as a large healing
crystal, especially if an AFK highbie laid down one of their weird spheres of
ascension. Run over to the bar between gem cuts to max out your EPs. Bonus:
hang out in Esiris long enough, and you can warp to another continent for
free!
*Your Own Castleroom: If you happen to have a castleroom, you could buy a
small healing crystal and one of those fancy workbenches that stores gem ores
over boot. Castlerooms and amateur/professional/etc. workbenches are
expensive, but it's nice to be able to store up a buncha gem ore and do one
massive gem cutting session. Efficiency through volume!

Which Gems to Cut:
1. Diamond is the most valuable, but you want high gem cutting and DEX to do
this without fumbling too much. If you're just starting out, go for:
2. Ruby, emerald, and sapphire: Almost as valuable! If you can't do these,
level up gem cutting some more.
3. Bloodstone, jade, and pearl: If you can't find anything else. Eh. You'll
find pearl chunks in mineshafts sometimes - maybe worth saving, as you don't
find pearl deposits around.

Where to Sell Gems:
*Shadowkeep: The capital of Rothikgen. It's worth a 5-10 minute boat ride and
a bit of fares to get over here and sell gems at ~160% of the price you'll get
for them in Arelium. 
*Your Merchant Cart: You need a merchant cart anyway for the belt quests. Put
some perfect gems in it? You can sell perfect gems of any sort to weird
artificers and wizard for 10k each.


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