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Carnellan's Guide to Horror Hunting

Copyright 1997-8 All Rights Reserved David R. Henry

The Troubador Carnellan is known for his unusual straightforwardness and honesty in all situations. He also has an unusual interest in the affairs of day-to-day politics and economic matters. While other Troubadors might been seen telling tales of daring adventures and great heroes, one can usually find Carnellan rattling off dry figures of grain exchange prices from the far end of Barsaive to interested merchants.
It is this refreshing mundanity and practicality, perhaps, that has helped Carnellan survive many adventures and unusual encounters. While he may seem a boring pile of unconnected facts to most observers, he is also the Troubador who led the Dance of Rife in the ruined city of Pasquak, the instigator of the Solace of Varney, and a continuing member of the adventuring group Named The Grey Lords.
While other heroes are more concerned with the thrill of combat and the glory of victory, Carnellan has usually shied away from violence whenever possible. He is also a caring and giving soul, who hates to see pain and suffering in any creature (yes, this is the same Carnellan who performed the burial rite for a mortally injured Horror). It is perhaps for all of these reasons that Carnellan is uniquely qualified to write this treatise on the basic tactics of that most standard activity of all heroes in Barsaive -- fighting the one foe we all share alike, the Horrors.
-- Baston Yojj, Library of Throal
It should be noted that in typical T'skrang style Carnellan says in twenty pages what most Dwarfs would say in the opening paragraph. Busy adventurers who are interested in the heart of the presentation should skip down until they see a list of items, which are Carnellan's actual suggestions.
-- Merrox

In my travels across Barsaive, I have heard many questions repeated in many places. The most frequent would be "What is your Name?" To that, I answer, Carnellan; which, while not the most thrilling answer, is certainly close enough to the truth to satisfy most people. The second would be, "Where is a good inn to stay at?", about which I have numerous opinions written down in some detail (see my useful document, "On the Inns and Outs of Barsaivian Travel," available from the scribners of Bartertown for only a few coppers, and also offered at all good T'skrang merchanthouses). The third usually concerns private matters about which we need not concern ourselves here, although I will note that the Dwarven Cavalrywoman Yennis has written a most _revealing_ document which shows a dedication and an insatiable thirst for knowledge in this specialized field of Name-giver endeavor to make even my travel-boldened T'skrang blood tire with awe.

Contrary to public belief, Yennis' fascinating treatise on basic Name-giver activities is still available at the Library of Throal if you ask the right scribe to retrieve it for you. --Yojj
No, it's not. --Merrox

A frequently asked question which often brings together fractured, contradictory, and often over-emotional answers, at least in the circles I travel in, however, is "How can you possibly defeat the Horrors?" I would point out two matters here, in reverse order to their being presented: the first, that, quite obviously, defeat is not the same as "Have lying beheaded at your feet as their treasure vaults empty into your pockets," despite the claims of various Warriors of my acquaintance who would argue that Throalic grammar has been rewritten to encompass such a belief. That the world survived the Scourge with life intact should show, indeed, that the Horrors can be defeated in the simplest and most satisfying way possible -- by continuing to live, we are in an act of defiance to the very basics of Horror existance. Never is open rebellion so easy to perform! Each of us, in our own existance, is denying the power of the Horrors. Is it no wonder that they hate us so much? But that is a paper for another time.

The second matter that I alluded to above is even simpler: I am an adpet. A Troubador, to be precise, but still an adept. That means I am through no choice of anything but my birth part of a small minority of Barsaive's population. Adepts have access to powers and abilities far beyond those of other Name-givers. The reason for this unfair distribution of ability by the Universe is perhaps difficult to fathom (and the subject of my treatise "On the Inequality that Can Be Overcome By All", which has recently been bound in a fabulous grill-skin coat by the bookbinders of the Ras-Han'tol covenant and is available from them for the ridiculously fair price of 45 silvers), but the fact remains that I do move through a different level of society than most Barsaivians, and that the questions asked there are often different than those asked at a more fundamental level, such as between honest workingmen around the fields. This is a shame in my thoughts, since some of the practicality of mundane life, applied properly to the excesses of the magical path of the adept, can often come up with some surprisingly useful results.

It seems, indeed, that many adepts, once they become established in their power by achieving the middle Circles of their Discipline, become enamored of their great power and fall into the belief that their power is all that is needed to overcome or negotiate any particular set of circumstances they find themselves in. This is regrettable. The most important thing of any Name-Giver is their wits and personality; those who know how to harness those shall always find the Universe spreading out before them like a bountiful river at the peak of dawn.

Therefore, many adpets sadly fall into the belief that power is the deciding factor in any circumstance. Obviously, when the subject of Horror hunting opportunes, their only inclination towards a solution is "more power." There is, in this, some truth. Horrors are a terrifying foe. Some of them possess sufficient power to flatten any resistance, to turn friend against friend and blood against blood, to realign matter and flesh as fits their whim. Obviously, to face against a Horror when you are not of sufficient power is not a noble act of sacrifice in the face of the Passions, but a waste of good life and future economic potential. There are times, and there are Horrors, that the best response for any sane Name-Giver when found facing them is undoubtfully to take the honorable retreat.

Yet there are still situations where, when not completely outclassed by the power of the opposing Horror, Name-Givers may find some of the following hints and observations, which I have gleaned from the journals, bragging contests, and interviews of hundreds of Name-Givers and adepts over the years, of particular use. These are situations where one's native wit can aid their rightful power, and, perhaps, help banish yet another terrible foe to all life in Barsaive. That this list might add even one to such the number of Horrors banished would be repayment enough for its compiler.

Before I start the heart of this paper, a few words of note, necessitated by the grim nature of this subject. The Horrors are, of course, the greatest threat known to all in Barsaive, be they Theran or T'skrang. On one hand, one cannot do honor besides standing meekly in silent tribute to those who have selflessly sacrificed their lives, and perhaps even more, in hopeless battle against a ravenging Horror who was threatening their village or loved ones. To say that such sacrifice was wrong because the Passions moved them to do it would be a disservice to their heroism, and a slur against the great Spirits that move us all. Indeed, it is good to remember that no less an authority as the School of Shadows itself has said that if you desire to defeat the Horrors, nothing can avail you better than a strong mind and a good swordarm.

On the other fork, many Horrors gain power from the slaying of good Name-Givers, not to mention the shock and grief a Name-Giver's death causes in their family. Plus, there is the additional threat of serving the very Horror you sacrificed your life in fighting as a hideous undead construct. In such cases, it could perhaps be argued that a wiser choice in those circumstances -- which are all too regrettably common in Horror fighting -- would be to deny the Horror its additional strength by quitting the battlefield and returning, perhaps, for later vengeance.

So a choice must be made at each encounter with a Horror: can this monster be killed with what we have at hand? and, if not, will our possible deaths do more to hurt innocents nearby than if we just allow the Horror to continue on its way? Obviously, there are no correct answers to this horrible query in any circumstance. To say that the father gripping his dead wife's sword in a doomed stand against the Horror that killed his family showed faulty judgment is an insult to love, courage and honor, and the speaker of such a viewpoint should be thoroughly chastised by all right-thinking Name-Givers. To say that a beginning group of adventurers retreating to retrieve the proper, higher-Circle, authorities to deal with a Horror that can possess entire villages at will is anything but prudent and thoughtful is to deny even heroic adepts that most rare of all treasures, common sense.

It is in the hope of helping to find a balancing point between these two extremes that this document has been penned. Please, my friends, you who read this should remember that all Horrors are terrible, that all Horrors are dangerous, and that an attempt to sum up all the dread powers of these hideous creatures is beyond the ability of even the most learned of Nethermancrs. In your glory and your anger, I beg you in the bond I share with all Name-Givers to show caution and prudence in fighting the Horrors, if you find you must. And may the Passions guide your strong heart and mighty swordarm.

A LIST of Commonly Applied SOLUTIONS to the Frequently Encountered Difficulties in the Regrettable Necessity of HORROR HUNTING; as Compiled by Carnellan, the Troubador, member of The Grey Lords.

A Foreward: There is a saying among my people, the T'skrang, that "Business is what beats ignorance." Horrors, my friends, are dangerous business. Make sure you have good reason to go into such business if you must.

A Notice: Many of the suggestions on this list are not available, easily or at all, to every Name-Giver who will happen across this. Of this, I am aware. However, it is the hope of this list-keeper that the ideas here will spark the creative fires of his fellow Name-Givers, and to show how Hope can be found in many places, perhaps some that were not at first obvious.

The List:

Adepts of Particular Potency

It's always best to start with the most obvious places -- by painting the room you can find the corners, or so goes an old Dwarf saying which, in retrospect, I may just have mistranslated slightly. No matter.

Adepts are obviously the most easily accessible resource to a Horror hunter. While any adept, by virtue of their extended durability and amazing talents, is a boon in combat compared to a mundane, and thus useful in engagements against Horrors, a few Disciplines are much more suited to Horror hunting than others.

It should be obvious to the most basic Horror hunter that having Nethermancers helping your group would greatly increase your chance of survival. Not only are their Talents and spells often specifically designed with Horrors in mind, they also have many useful abilities against the Undead and Horror constructs that often accompany the fiends.

A good Wizard is worth their weight in fish; the Fifth Circle Counterspell is the first line of defense in a wise Horror-fighting plan. And many the cheerful day I have survived to see because a Counterspelled Wizard had the time and safety to construct a Doom Missile against a ravenging Horror. The magical spell of Cancel Karma is also of vital use against Horrors. Say what you will of the wits and wisdom of the other spellcasting Disciplines -- this T'skrang shall sing the praises of the Wizard.

Nearly all Horrors are beings susceptible to the magical effects of a good taunt. Both Troubadors and Swordmasters are known for their taunting, mocking abilities, often backed with magic (as are Nethermancers, for that matter). In this I will humbly promote a tactic common to the V'strimmon Arapagoi, which I first noticed during my exploration of Parlainth. They often have Troubadors working side by side with Swordmasters. The Troubadors use their magical abilities to aid other Name-Giver's social interactions while the Swordmasters begin a horrible taunting chant. The combination of the two working together is often capable of bringing even large and terrible Horrors to their knees (or other respective bodily parts). This example is symbolic with the way I see how all Horror fighting can be most effectively done -- Name-Givers using their talents (be they magical or not) to create a more effective tactical whole. Likewise, powerful Troubadors have a few Talents that are uniquely suited towards dealing with Horrors.

The Weaponsmith possesses unique talents found in almost no other Discipline that make it nicely suited to helping any Horror hunting expedition. In particular, their ability to toughen themselves against astral incursions both mental and physical is of great use to a hunting party. And their ability to find the chink in any armor of their foes, and to point them out to their friends, is of vital importance. Of course, having magically forged armor and weapons is of vital importance in Horror hunting.

As for the tragic Discipline of the Horror Stalker, it is obvious that such an adept is of profound use in fighting Horrors. It is only my distaste at seeing what is usually, in effect, a suicidal choice of Discipline that leads me to give these brave souls only a passing recommendation.

As for the other Disciplines:

--The fighting Disciplines are obviously useful in a direct manner. The Archer is also useful for its ability to hunt down Horrors after they have fled your righteous anger.

--The Scout and Thief are also good for that ability... sadly, though, many of their talents are less than useful when facing a Horror, although since many Horrors dwell in ruined or trapped lairs, they are invaluable in a supportive role.

--Illusionists are rarely useful against Horrors, although their Dampen Karma spell is useful in some small way. Unfortunately, against Horrors you more often need the full weight of reality, not the pleasures of illusion. One particular Illusionist spell can paralyze creatures from astral space, and is of great use to a Horror hunt, but in general most Horrors are far too magical to be fooled by illusions.

--Elementalists are useful in a general sort of way, since they lack the magics that make Wizards and Nethermancers such useful Horror hunters. Powerful elementals can be a useful ally against Horrors, of course.

--Likewise, Beastmasters are often best used in a supporting role against Horrors, although their Claw Shape and Frenzy abilities are useful against the greater terrors.

Organizations of Unique Knowledge

Lightbearers are a group of dedicated Name-Givers sworn to bring Barsaive back from the brink of the Scourge and to eradicating Horrors wherever they may be found. Many of the unique Lightbearer magics are of great use against Horrors, and their beliefs and sworn goals make them valuable allies to Horror hunters.

Questors are often found fighting Horrors as one of their many ways of living up to the ideals of their Passion. One obviously should never object to any sane Passion's help; and, indeed, a few of the Mad Passions have even directed their energies towards ocassional Horror hunting. Obviously, a questor is a useful being to have along with your hunting party if one is inclined to travel with you.

Some Living Legend Cults may also have unique knowledge or treasure useful in a particular Horror hunt. For instance, let's say you're going after a Horror that killed a great hero that has a Cult around him. Perhaps his Cult would have knowledge or a weapon that would help against the hero's ancient foe.

Likewise, if you know you are going up against a particular Horror, research is of vital importance. Learn its habits. Learn its favorite prey. Learn its weaknesses. Perhaps you will even find enough information to find a Pattern item of the Horror, to better enable you to defeat it. Access to good libraries, such as the Great Library of Throal, is vital to this part of Horror hunting, and treating the librarians well after their hard days of lifting paper and swilling ink is always a liberation and a joy as well. [??? --Merrox]

There is also the Grim Legion, a band of dedicated Horror hunters who are, in many cases, a strange mirror image of the Lightbearers. While many people have claimed, with good cause in my sight, that the Legion is responsible for many crimes in their enforcement of their strict anti-Horror viewpoint, having a dedicated band of Horror hunters at your back is never bad when fighting one. The Legion lacks many of the directly applied anti-Horror magics that the Lightbearers own, however.

General Tactics

Numbers are of supreme importance. Many Horrors are solitary, or at least supported only by weaker forms of Horror. The tactical advantages of numerical superiority are obvious, but there are other considerations for the wise Horror hunter.

Many Horrors have the ability to shift the damage inflicted upon them to one of their foes. This is a horrible ability (although it's difficult to tell if it's any more terrible than any other Horror power), and it is best countered (besides through the use of protective magics) with numbers. The more people you have facing the Horror, the more targets you have, to be blunt, to share the pain.

Likewise, do not rely on only one plan of attack. If you have the greatest Warrior in the world, and the Warrior will be the one to charge happily against the Horror, may the Passions bless her. But if the whole plan was "We shall just help out while the Warrior takes the brunt of the fight," then you are in trouble if the Warrior falls. What plan now, brave hearts? Even the mightiest Warrior occasionally stumbles. Against Horrors, who have the ability to adjust the nature of Fate itself, this may be happening more than you would like. So, with the practice of having great numbers, also include the practice of having more than one "great threat".

Let me define that better. In any fight, there are those who are the supporting roles, and those who are obviously the great threat against the opponent. All Horrors are easily dangerous great threats by themselves, so it behooves the Name-Givers to be equally as multiply dangerous. Do not rely only on your Swordmaster with the Horror-slaying sword as your only hope. Even one other great threat against the Horror will increase the odds that at least one of your threats will hurt the Horror. Horror hunting is no time for glory nor games; close in and kill with as much might as possible.

There are some who would claim that these tactics open too many potential innocent Name-Givers to corruption. This is possibly so. I also know that for the vast majority of Name-Givers who do not have the power to take out a Horror in single combat, a mass attack is far more useful (and effective) than just feeding a handful of Name-Givers to a terrible creature.

Other Observations

Everyone knows the importance magical treasure has played in recovering Barsaive from the Scourge. Many magical items may have powers useful in a fight against Horrors. Finding them is time well spent for the prospective Horror hunter. Magical weapons, in particular, can give special powers and abilities just not possible from Weaponsmithed weapons.

Blood charms are a detestible form of magical ingenuity, created by the Therans and perfected by the Blood Elves. This would seem to me to be ample proof of their depravity, but I must admit that they do appear to have gained some level of respect and popularity among Barsaive's population. Many blood charms have special powers useful to the Horror hunter, the Horror-fend charm being just the most obvious one.

Missile weapons offer advantages and disadvantages to the Horror fighter. Many times the presence of disease or some other evil miasma makes hand-to-hand fighting of Horrors undesirable. Ranged attacks can also take place outside the Horror's range of attack. Yet good bowmen are hard to find, and most missile weapons do less damage than a solid sword hit (the above obviously does not apply to adept Archers).

If the situation is right, a good fire-cannon volley can end many a Horror's reign of terror.

Many experienced fighters have learned much in their lives, and can often impart important tactical skill and advice to others, even in the midst of a battle. Skilled tacticians can easily turn any fight around, even against a magical foe such as a Horror.

Should you find yourself in a final battle against a terrible Horror, call out to the Passions for help. We are all aware of the many legends which speak of the Passions giving help to those who request it when fighting the loathsome Horrors; if you are to die anyway, would you rather be remembered as just another victim of another Horror, or as a great hero who the Passions came down to help in the last moments of their life and enabled them to vanquish their foe? My wish is that you never find yourself in such a situation, but if you should, may the Passions be with you in all ways.

When facing a horrible foe, there is no necessary shame in a proper retreat. It is an old Windling saying, but "He who lives to fly away shall fight again another day." Do not sacrifice yourself needlessly.

Many Horrors make mistakes when attempting to predict Name-Giver activity which is not directly related to evil, destructive actions. You can use that unfamiliarity with Name-Giver behavior to lure some Horrors into a trap.

Befriend a dragon. Have the dragon kill the Horror for you. Thank your good friend very much.

In Conclusion

Many the time I have heard adepts young and old (mainly young) sit around the innfire and bemoan the apparent imperviousness of Horrors to any form of attack. Obviously, the legends of the great Horrors who have been defeated, by every type of Name-Giver from a T'skrang child to a great hero to a mighty dragon, give lie to this observation. It is my hope that this list gives at least a partial view on how to best handle Horror fighting, in that it will at least give a view on how to best survive a fight, if not necessarily win one.

I am always interested in any other hints from brave adventurers on how to best fight Horrors. Messages can be left for me at any inn in the major cities of Barsaive; sooner or later I reach them all in my travels. If you have stories which can help your fellow Name-Givers fight the Horrors, I would be more than happy to hear of them, and to dine with you into the cool hours of the night.

Passions' blessings upon you all.

-- Carnellan

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