|The apparition of an unfortunate adventurer.|
A player ghost is generated when your character dies, unless at Dungeon level 1 or 2, or in the Ecumenical Temple.
Undead characters don't leave ghosts (but may carry previously existing ghosts on this level). If you die on a level that already has player ghosts that were not killed, they will be added to the same ghost file, making several ghosts appear on this level later on.
The maximum number of ghosts that are saved (including the one you just generated unless you were an Undead) depend on the level depth:
- 1 for Dungeon levels 3-9, Orcish Mines level 1 or Lair level 1.
- 2 for Dungeon levels 10-15 or any other levels in the Orcish Mines or the Lair.
- 9 for any level in Pandemonium, the Abyss, the Crypt, the Tomb, the Realm of Zot or Dungeon levels 23-27.
- 1, plus 5*(L+1)% chance of a second one, plus 2.5*(L+1)% chance of another one on any other level, where L is the level depth.
Each time a player on the same server (or computer if you're playing locally) enters a level for which a ghost was saved, there's a 33% chance that this ghost (and eventual other ones it is carrying with it) will be generated in that level. The ghost file is deleted in the process, which means that it won't be generated again later, unless you die on this level without having killed the ghost(s), in which case the ghost may appear again if the level has enough space for it. For levels with multiple ghosts, the oldest ones will be deleted first, meaning that even extremely overpowered ghosts will rarely have more than one or two victims.
- When your ghost is created, its stats are defined as follow:
- Its max HP, AC and EV are equal to yours when you died.
- Its number of hit dice is equal to your experience level.
- Its cold, fire and electricity resistances are equal to yours when you died.
- It gains poison and sticky flame resistance.
- If you were able to see invisible, so does the ghost.
- Its base speed is equal to 10, minus 1 for Nagas, +2 for Felids, +3 for Centaurs and Spriggans, +2 if you were wearing boots of running. The final base speed can never be less than 6 or greater than 13. Ghosts are levitating, so it will be able to cross water or lava.
- Its damage is determined by the weapon you were wielding and your skill levels:
- If you had a weapon in hand, the base damage is equal to the weapon's base damage, increased by 4% per skill level you had for this weapon. In addition, the attacks will have the eventual weapon brand.
- If you had no weapon in hand, the base damage is 4 plus your Unarmed Combat skill, plus your experience level if you were a Troll.
- This base damage is then increased by 3.3% per Fighting skill, then increased by 0.25 times your Strength. Total damage is capped at 50.
- If you knew spells, the ghost may still be able to cast up to 6 of them. See below for the mechanics.
- Ghosts of level 7+ Draconians also have a high chance of being able to breathe Bolts of Draining (30 accuracy, 3d(2*HD) damage where HD was your experience level).
The experience level of a ghost is indicated in their description with one of the following adjectives:
|Ghost description||Experience level|
|weakling||1 to 3|
|average||4 to 6|
|experienced||7 to 10|
|powerful||11 to 15|
|mighty||16 to 21|
|great||22 to 25|
Like all monsters, ghosts have six spell slots. Specifically, the code scans the deceased character's spells (excluding any with a failure rate of more than 50%) to try to come up with a set of six that fits the following pattern, biased towards the character's most dangerous spells:
- Slot 1: A conjuration.
- Slot 2: A second conjuration, distinct from Slot 1.
- Slot 3: A summoning or self-enchantment spell.
- Slot 4: A hostile enchantment spell, or, failing that, another conjuration (can be a repeat of Slot 1 or 2).
- Slot 5: Another hostile enchantment different from Slot 4, or, failing that, a conjuration different from Slot 4 (but not necessarily Slot 1 or 2).
- Slot 6: An emergency spell. The only one available to ghosts is Blink.
The specific logic is as follows:
The ghost wants the following (mostly) direct-damage spells, in order of preference. These spells fill the first, second, and possibly fourth and fifth slots. Note that not all of the spells on this and subsequent lists are possible for players to have. Pan lords are generated using the same code to pick random spells, and they can have such spells. Also, to some extent the code is simply outdated.
Conjuration slot spells: Lehudib's Crystal Spear, Fire Storm, Ice Storm, Chain Lightning, Bolt of Draining, Agony, Lightning Bolt, Airstrike, Sticky Flame, Iskenderun's Mystic Blast, Orb of Destruction, Bolt of Magma, Throw Icicle, Bolt of Fire, Bolt of Cold, Fireball, Delayed Fireball, Venom Bolt, Iron Shot, Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, Stone Arrow, Dazzling Spray, Force Lance, Throw Flame, Throw Frost, Freeze, Pain, Sting, Shock, Sandblast, Magic Dart, Ensorcelled Hibernation, Flame Tongue, Corona
These are the spells the ghost wants for its third slot, mostly Summonings and Charms, again in order of preference.
Self-enchantment/Summoning slot spells: Summon Greater Demon, Summon Horrible Things, Summon Dragon, Haunt, Summon Hydra, Summon Demon, Demonic Horde, Haste, Silence, Iskenderun's Battlesphere, Summon Butterflies, Summon Elemental, Summon Swarm, Summon Ugly Thing, Swiftness, Summon Ice Beast, Animate Dead, Invisibility, Summon Scorpions, Call Imp, Summon Small Mammals, Malign Gateway, Controlled Blink, Blink
Hostile Enchantments Slots
These spells will be chosen for the fourth and fifth slots; if the dead character did not have any of them, the code will then try to pick a spell from the first list, possibly allowing duplicates.
Hostile enchantments: Shatter, Agony, Banishment, Freezing Cloud, Ozocubu's Refrigeration, Olgreb's Toxic Radiance, Mass Confusion, Metabolic Englaciation, Dispel Undead, Conjure Ball Lightning, Paralyse, Confuse, Mephitic Cloud, Slow, Petrify, Polymorph Other, Teleport Other, Dig, Corona
This sixth spell will be an "emergency spell". While previously this included Teleport Self and even some ancient self-healing spells, now it only includes Blink (monsters do not distinguish between the controlled and uncontrolled versions).
Tips & Tricks
Player ghosts can be extremely dangerous, often on a par with the most dangerous uniques for the dungeon depth. There are a number of strategies for dealing with them:
- First and foremost, remember that they are trapped on the level they spawn on. If you facing a ghost that seems like it might kill you, remember that you absolutely don't have to face it now. Skip it and come back to it later.
- You can examine the ghost to get its species, class, and a rough idea of its level when it died. This can give you a good impression of how dangerous it is, but be aware that this may not show everything (e.g. an average KoFi might be a little more dangerous if it was wielding a weapon of electrocution when it died).
- If you have it, Dispel Undead will make short work of ghosts, bypassing their defenses entirely. This can be particularly useful against later ghosts, who will often have much higher defenses than most monsters.
- Be careful around draconian ghosts with XL>=7: they are almost guaranteed to have a nasty bolt of draining attack.
- If you fight the ghost while you are standing on stairs, you can escape quickly at any time because the ghost cannot follow you. Just remember that it takes a little while to use stairs, so it's best to start climbing them as soon as you notice that the ghost is dealing a lot more damage to you than you are to it.
- If a ghost has <50% HP and you leave the level it's on, it will teleport away, and likely not be near the stairs when you return.
- You can check the morgue of the dead character if you wish to see exactly spells/abilities/defenses a ghost has. On local games, just search through your /morgue folder to find it; on public servers, you can usually use one of the IRC bots to find the dumplog: start by searching for deaths on the level you're on, and stop when you find the player whose ghost you are encountering.
If you are playing a local game (i.e. are not on a public server) and are encountering many of your own ghosts, there are a few steps you can take to remedy the situation:
- Play undead. They can't add to the problem, and many undead are quite capable of taking out ghosts themselves. Ghoul monks work well as ghostbusters, as do various casting vampires.
- Worshiping Kikubaaqudgha will guarantee you access to Dispel Undead at *** piety - too late for early ghosts, but great for taking out ghosts in Lair, Orc, and later branches. Necromancers will have an easier time getting the spell online.
- Ghost files are deleted if you die on any other level, though this may eventually be changed. Therefore, simply bypassing a ghost if possible (travel exclusions can be useful here) is often the best option, not just for your current character but also for future ones.
- If you are desperate or simply find ghosts unfun, deleting the bones files (stored in the /saves directory or similar) is always an option. Be aware that this is often considered cheating, particularly if it is done selectively.
In 0.17, deep dwarf player ghosts now regenerate normally.