Unlife to Live, or Meet the Ghoul Next Door!
by Sierre Masterson
Hunting Unlife, or the Undead, is an activity that has recently gained popularity due to the appearance of a sect of the Order of Voln, or OOV. It is not particularly different from hunting the more mundane creatures of Kulthea, but there are some logistical hurdles with which you must deal. Having a properly blessed weapon, opening the cursed (literally) Graveyard Gate, and protecting yourself from the nastier of the Unlife magic are your foremost concerns.
When you have dealt with these chores, you must then find a Minion of the Unlife from which you can learn and profit from hunting without dying regularly. Following is some advice to help you meet these challenges and, hopefully, start you on your way fame, fortune, and power. This information will not be too useful for Lord level or higher adventurers, but by then you should have the resources to experiment with a particular creature to determine an effective hunting strategy.
Fighting the Unlife
There is more to blessing than simply crossing yourself, and saying "Bless you, broadsword. Go in peace." First, you must find a cleric with theHoly Blade spell. The simplest way to do this, is, of course, to ask. "Any Blessers?" asked in TS or thought over the net will usually do the trick. Most clerics will be more than happy to help, but politeness and respect are always appropriate. These same clerics will be the ones to resurrect you when the Unlife get the better of you.
When you have found a cleric, you will need to bring them a normal weapon. Mein, Vultite, E-bladed, edged, or any other magically enhanced blade cannot be blessed. Most importantly, a blade that has already been blessed, but hasn't worn off, cannot be blessed again. When a weapon is blessed, it is good for three swings per level of the blessing cleric. These swings must be used up before the weapon can be blessed again. For this reason, it is a good idea to have two weapons that you can easily differentiate, for example, a falchion and a broadsword, to avoid confusion. Clerics will quickly lose their patience if you always ask them to bless a blade that has already been blessed.
The Order of Voln has a Symbol of Blessing that works in a similar fashion to the Holy Blade spell. The number of swings, however, is three times the OOV rank of the member using the symbol. Getting a member to do this for you is more difficult than finding a cleric, however, because instead of using Mana which regenerates, the OOV member must use some of the Favor of Voln earned from killing the Unlife. This will slow progress within the order and is therefore avoided. This may change, however, once there are Masters, who no longer feel pressure to advance.
If you are a spellcaster, your spells will work normally on the Unlife. Clerics, in fact, have spells specifically suited for combating the Unlife. Prayer of Holding and Repel Undead both work only on the Unlife. Prayer of Holding will immobilize a creature (lowering their DB to 0), and Repel Undead will cause it to run away, or dispel it completely. Following is a list of what spell you need for each level of creature:
Prayer of Holding I1-5
Repel Undead I1-6
Prayer of Holding II5-15
Repel Undead II7-15
Prayer of Holding III16-19
Repel Undead III16-25
Major Prayer of Holding19+
Repel Undead True26+
The Graveyard Gate
The gate leading into the Graveyard (GY) is cursed. The Phantom Gatekeeper keeps constantly vigilant, closing the gate soon after it is opened. For this reason, the adventurers who explore the Graveyard hurl more mundane curses at the gate regularly. There are three ways to get past it: PUSH, CLIMB, or via magic.
Pushing the gate is the most common way to open it. To do this, though, you must have two or more people, and the more the better. These people can be inside or outside, and all need to push; don't pull. Both hands must be free, so this can be dangerous if pushing from the inside as there are Phantoms and Skeletons about, and with no weapon, you can't parry. Be careful, and ask for help from older adventurers if you need to. The more people you have pushing, with greater strength, the quicker it will open, and the shorter RT you will incur resting afterwards. If you push the gate open, it will usually take about a minute before the Phantom Gatekeeper takes notice and closes it. Be careful if you are joined to a group, that you don't type GO GATE by yourself, because you will follow the leader through, then go out again, leaving you on the original side. GO GATE again quickly as possible if this happens so as not to get stuck when the Gatekeeper closes it. On the other hand, if you are leading, wait for your group to nod or indicate they are armed and ready before going through, or some group members may still be in RT or weaponless when you go through.
Climbing the gate is dangerous. It should only be used as a last resort, and then only if you are willing to pay the consequences. The gate has sharp, jagged spikes and climbing it often leaves you in a heap at its base. Thinking over the net that you are going to attempt to climb it is wise in case you die, so your body can be found promptly. Also, if you announce this, you will often get help from a kind soul that wasn't going to the GY, but doesn't want to see you come to harm. If you do decide to climb it, make sure you then JUMP the spikes. If you climb it and then come down, you will end up on the same side you started.
Using magic to open the gate is another option. Word of Opening on the Open Essence List andNeutralize Curse on the Cleric List work. Both of these spells, however, alert the Gatekeeper faster than pushing, so be ready to go when it opens, as you have only about five seconds. These spells will not work if people are already pushing. Another magical means of entering the GY is with a Gold Ring. Set your ring in town, then enter the GY through one of the above methods, then you can ring in and out at will.
Some Unlife are straightforward critters that have no magic. Others, however, do cast spells, the most dangerous being Fear. Other spells cast by the Unlife include protection spells such as Aura and Alkar (Phantoms and Ghoul Kings, respectively). Some also cast Directed Spells (DS) such as Cold Ball and Lightning Bolt. The most dangerous spells are the Resistance Roll (RR) spells, Fear, and the innate Life Drain ability. Fear will cause you to run, or stun you, and in either case you may drop whatever is in your hands. At the extreme, Fear will cause you to run all the way back to the Gates of Kelfour's Landing. You may lose your equipment if you are alone, and dropped it prior to running. Dropping it and being stunned is even worse, as you become defenseless. In any case, never hunt a creature with Fear by yourself. If you are hunting with a group, watch for your friends being feared, and take the appropriate action. If they are stunned, you may want to drag them to safety, after getting their weapons. If they are immobilized, dragging will not work, so the best solution is to dispatch the critter before it gets your friend. If your friend runs off, it is best to stay put, as s/he most likely only ran to an adjoining room, and will be back quickly. Leaving their weapons on the ground will allow them to get them immediately on reentering the room. Don't follow them without picking up their gear, though, as the janitor is often very quick.
Life Draining occurs anytime they hit you with a natural attack (not a weapon) and you fail your Resistance Roll. Many protection spells can give you a bonus on your resistance roll. The Guardings, on the Open Essence list, including Mass Guard and the Protection spells on the Open Channeling list being the most common. Asking for G1 or light blues (Protection I) in TS will very likely get you some moderate protection. G2, G3 and deep blues are harder to come by, but also worth your while if you can trade or beg these before a hunt.
I hope these tips serve you well in your quest and don't forget to tell the Ghoul Next Door I said, "Hello!"