From Krakiipedia, the unofficial free GemStone IV encyclopedia.
A material is the substance or substances out of which a thing is or can be made. In GemStone IV, there are numerous materials that weapons, armor, shields, and other useful objects can be crafted of that may have, and may not have real life counterparts.
Materials versus young adventurers
One can not use certain materials for weapons, shields or armor until one has reached a certain training level. For example, an adventurer would have to be at least level 8 to use a glaes weapon. Basically it comes down to dividing the (positive) AS bonus by two, then potentially rounding the result up (glaes: +15 / 2 = 7.5 -> 8). Below is a table with examples:
|Material||Added Bonus||Training Level|
Note that the bonus of combat gear is often referred to in a different manner - in multiples of 5. Thus mithril could be referred to as 1x, glaes as 3x, and a +30 (AS) item as 6x. Simply take the bonus and divide by 5 (vultite: +20 / 5 = 4x).
Also, objects can have a different bonus than might seem evident. By, for example, enchanting an item, the bonus is increased.
History of Materials in GemStone III/IV
GemStone III has at least as many different types of materials in it as exist on Earth because everything from iron and steel to oak and yew can be found there. Where it gets more interesting is in the different magical materials that exist. Originally, these materials had names taken directly from Iron Crown Enterprises' "RoleMaster" gaming products.
Until 1998, ICE had the worldwide gaming rights to the Middle-Earth world-setting created by J.R.R. Tolkien. The names that he created--mithril, eog, galvorn, and others--are therefore found throughout ICE's gaming products.
When GemStone III was written, the names of these materials were used but the properties of them were not necessarily copied over as well. For example, in "RoleMaster" the material eog has a +30 magical bonus; in GemStone III, eog was only +10.
At the end of 1995 when the ICE age came to an end, Simutronics was legally required to change all references to materials with "RoleMaster" names. Items actually in the possession of characters were allowed to retain their old material names, with the stipulation that should the item ever be handled by a GameMaster, the material would be converted to whatever the corresponding new material was called. (For example, an old "galvorn" item that a GameMaster needed to work on for some reason would be returned to the player as a "golvern" item.)