| This tall and powerful demon is Mara, Lord of Illusions, mighty among dreamers. He is capable of creating intricately detailed illusions, able to mislead even the minds of the mightiest and most brilliant spell-casters.
"This night the Lord of Illusion passed among you, Mara, mighty among dreamers, mighty for ill. He did come upon another who may work with the stuff of dreams in a different way. He did meet with Dharma, who may expel a dreamer from his dream. They did struggle, and Mara is no more. Why did they struggle, deathgod against illusionist? You say their ways are incomprehensible, being the ways of gods. This is not the answer."
- Roger Zelazny, "Lord of Light", 1967
"He who lives looking for pleasures only,
- The Buddha, _Dhammapada_, 1:7.
Lord Mara’s illusions are capable of misleading even the greatest spell-casters, and far surpass those of even the strongest of the rakshasas which he rules over. Those who are willing to face this danger should be ready not only to fight Mara, but also the horrors that he can dredge up from their minds.
Mara is a tough opponent, even for adventurers who've conquered the Realm of Zot. His unique spells make him challenging regardless of your preparations:
- Mislead - While affected by this spell, monsters will appear to be other monsters in glyph, name and tile. It is temporary and purely cosmetic. It is blocked by clarity, and removed by rain and potions of curing.
- Fake Mara Summon - While lesser rakshasas can summon limitless, weak shadows, Mara summons 1-2 robust and virtually identical clones of himself, but he can only maintain two such clones at a time. Fake Maras generate with full health, but cannot cast Fake Mara Summon or Summon Illusion. They disappear on their own after enough time has passed, and they are vulnerable to Abjuration.
- Summon Illusion - Mara's most dangerous spell, Summon Illusion generates a hostile clone of anything but Mara (including you) in his LOS, so long as it does not have an existing clone. When Mara clones your character, it creates a monster similar to a player ghost, except that it won't be undead (unless the character was, initially). Like the fake Maras, these clones disappear on their own after enough time has passed, and they are vulnerable to Abjuration.
When Mara clones a monster: Mara seems to draw [the monster] out of itself! (Mara clones a monster)
When Mara clones a monster from beyond your LOS: [The monster] seems to step out of itself!
When Mara clones you: There is a horrible, sudden wrenching feeling in your soul!
- The Dungeon:18-25
- The Elven Halls:3
- The Swamp:3-5
- The Snake Pit:3-5
- The Shoals:3-5
- The Spider's Nest:3-5
- The Vaults:2-8
- The Crypt
- The Hall of Blades
- The Tomb
Tips & Tricks
- Do not go berserk, either before Mara clones you or afterwards. Mara will blink away, leaving you slow and vulnerable when the berserk runs out.
- Bring fire resistance: Being shot with three Bolts of Fire (3d27) on the same turn is not fun.
- Conjurers should haste themselves before the fight so they can take down Mara very quickly. If Mara clones you, flee, wait for the ghost to vanish, and try again later.
- The real Mara does not move when he summons copies of himself. Thus, you know his position until he blinks. You even know his position if only he blinks, but if he and one of the clones blink in the same turn, you're out of luck: there is no longer any way to tell the real Mara from the fakes.
- Focus on taking out Mara, and avoid your ghost. The ghost will unsummon eventually, so flee from it once Mara is dead. If your ghost is too nasty, preventing you from killing Mara, flee them both and come back later. Next time you might get more damage in before he clones you.
- An all-too-common piece of advice one often sees about Mara is to attempt to cripple your ghost. This is in general a bad idea, mainly because while you sit there, fiddling with your equipment (e.g. wielding a bread ration, or donning gear that lowers resistances), you aren't attacking Mara. This is even worse for players attempting to weaken a melee ghost by wielding a non-weapon: you can't attack Mara until he clones you, which, given that he has six spells he can cast, may be a considerable amount of time. The general procedure for killing Mara is the same as that for any other extremely dangerous summoner (deep elf demonologists and ancient liches, for example): kill him as quickly as possible, and if he summons something you can't handle, teleport away.
- Also, as with any summoner, Abjuration is very useful. Mass Abjuration is even better, although his most threatening summon, namely the player illusion, is always singular, meaning that single-target Abjuration may be sufficient.
In Buddhism, Mara is the demon that tempted Buddha to give up his enlightenment.