Guides:Feral Death-Cultist Guide

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Trans-Mortal Tactics
The information on this page or section discusses tactics that can be applied if you find yourself on the wrong side after getting killed or being revivified.

Zombie Tactics
The information on this page or section discusses a zombie strategy.

Skull1 small.gif Death Cultist
If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

This is a guide to Death-Culting: fun things to do as a die-hard zombie when you get revived and want to use the assets of the breathers against them.
The focus here is on feral zombies, who belong either to no group, or to the Feral Undead.

First, be a functional zombie

The first thing to know is that you have to function as a zombie yourself. Organized death-cultist groups like RRF's Gore Corps can arrange revives among themselves, but as a feral cultist, random combat revives will be what propel you on your death-culting sprees. Since the best part of your time will be spent as a zombie, that will be how you collect your XPs. This means that you should, at the very least, have the following skills:

Feeding Groan and Ransack are also highly recommended.

By all means abstain from Brain Rot! Rot makes it impossible for you to be revived except in a lit NT, so severely diminishes your opportunities for death-culting. (Meanwhile, the effects of Flesh Rot can be easily duplicated with a flak jacket and Body Building.)

Second, learn how survivors play

Really, play a survivor, or at least a Dual Nature character. Read the survivor guides, level up, and work actively to better a suburb. It will not only broaden your perspective on the game, but also give you direct experience of survivors' strengths and weaknesses.

If you can, join or become an ally of a survivor group. And by "survivor group", I don't mean some 2 week-old random 5-man trenchie group that plans to save all of Malton by headshotting OVER 9,000! zombies ROFLMAO!!!!111oneeleven

Look instead for an established group that has been around for a while and has leaders who show some smarts in what they do. Listening to them and coming to understand what they do will massively accelerate your learning process.

I developed some of my best ideas about death-culting by playing my Dual Nature alt, becoming a trusted ally of the very smart survivor group MCM and also by witnessing the complete opposite of smartness in helping to defend Fort Creedy.

To accelerate your learning experience, check out those survivor guides below. They have been chosen for giving especially much insight into the big picture of suvivor play, and so also by deduction at the weakpoints you have to hit as a death-cultist.

Skills

Gathering experience as a zombie

Do you have the skills recommended above? No? Then get them, dammit. Even as a death-cultist you'll spend much of your time as a zombie and will gain most of your XP that way, so please, first get the skills that increase your ability to gain XP and save you AP. Because death-culting requires many skills, few of which gain you much XP, it really is a hobby for players who already have a good bit of experience.

Harman skills that help with death-culting

Which skills you get will depend on what exactly you want to do and in what kind of suburb you operate.

I prefer to start with Free Running (important early on to assemble equipment from overcaded TRPs and essential in general), Hand-to-Hand Combat (to aid both parachuting and GKing), and then Axe Combat or Knife Combat, depending on which equipment I have managed to get my grubby hands on already.

Hold back from attacking humans until you have Diagnosis! If you don't, you risk accidentally PKing, which may get you listed on the RG. See Why bother parachuting? below for the reason.

However, if you were, for example, in a fort siege, Construction and Tagging could help you do far more damage if you play it smart. So please check the fun activities mentioned below, see what intrigues you and then select the skills you need accordingly.

Harman skills that can be used by zombies

Since you are using trans-mortal tactics anyway, you might want to grab those human skills that help you to become a better zombie:

  • Diagnosis: Shows you human HP levels. It's superior to the Scent skils in that a) it works whether you are alive or undead (crucial for a death-cultist, especially in avoiding accidental PKings); and b) it costs only 100XP for a single skill, rather than 200 for two Scent skills.
  • Body Building: Increases your maximum health to 60HP instead of 50HP, both as a harman and as a zombie. The only downside is that parachuting takes 5AP more, but since you'll be spending most of the time as a zombie, that disadvantage is negligible.
  • NT Employment: Allows you to distinguish NTs from office buildings without using metagame maps. But since metagame maps can substitute for it, this skill is really more for convenience and can be obtained later on.

Inventory

You should get hold of the following three items at the first opportunity:

  • Knife (found in various places)
  • Axe (best found in fire stations)
  • Flak Jacket (best found in PDs)

These should be part of your permanent kit, and take up just 10% of your encumbrance.

Unlike survivors, you won't need DNA extractors, syringes, FAKs and toolboxes at all. That leaves you with 90% wiggle space, which you should fill up with the following items:

  • 1 or 2 handheld radios: These are most useful in areas where local groups actively use radios. However, many don't. Except in forts and malls (where radio transceivers are easily found and many clueless trenchies yell into them), harmans see little use in them. When you are in these places, set them to the local frequency to hear of break-ins, PKer and GKer reports and sightings as well as pathetic trenchie bragging; otherwise, don't bother.
  • 1 or more spray cans: The usefulness of spray cans are depends on where you are. In badly organized burbs, they can be used to give misinformation about barricade plans, to falsely label players as PKers at RPs (so they won't be revived) or just to spray nonsense for the heck of it. In well-maintained burbs, false tags tend to vanish quickly, so don't bother.
  • Guns! Guns! Guns! And ammo!: Don't be picky between different weapons: every AP spent searching is one that can't be used to wreak havoc, and guns play a smaller role in the activities of feral death-cultists than you'd expect. If you can afford to be picky, then pistols are more AP-efficient than shotguns, while shotguns beat flare guns. Actually, just about every weapon beats the flare gun. So use flares only as a fire-and-forget weapon to clear your inventory, as a weapon of opportunity against fuel-soaked targets, or to draw attention to fallen cades.

Things to do in Malton when you're alive

Parachuting

Why bother parachuting?
Some death-cultists, instead of going to the trouble of parachuting, prefer to start shooting their targets as soon as they're revived. (In fact, most organized death cults prefer it, as their numbers in the RG show.) Personally, I dislike this approach, since for a feral death-cultist, it can be highly detrimental.
The reason for this is that whenever you are alive and kill another survivor, anyone can report the incident to the Rogues Gallery. This is the PKer database that more people use than any other, and if you are cited there, a bounty may be placed on your head. Appear there often enough, and you may even be given the status 'Kill on Sight'. Many smarter survivors check the RG before they use a needle, and if they see that you have PKed in the past, they may decide not to revive you.
It's possible to reduce your bounty to zero by getting killed or by doing some bounty-hunting yourself; but even then, you will remain permanently marked in red on the UDWidget list. (Yep, once a criminal, always a criminal: that's the way DEM likes it and was what it had in mind when it invented the RG. If you don't love them already for the multi-alt policy or for DEMon's auto-scouting, then you should have your reason now.)
However, note that you only risk being reported if you kill a survivor as a survivor. If, as an infected survivor, you soften your target up until they are on their last remaining HP, then attack someone else, then die and rise and deliver the coup de grâce as a zombie, there's nothing in hell your victim can do about it so far as the RG is concerned.

Requirements:

Recommended skills and equipment:

Parachuting is one of the classic death-cult techniques, as it can be performed without skills and because it bypasses one of the survivors' greatest strengths, the barricade.

Parachuting does require that you be infected, which can easily be achieved by standing in the streets and waiting for a zombie with the right skill to bite you. Standing in the middle of a horde and explicitly requesting an infection should speed up the process.

Once you are infected and revived, just stand up, find the nearest entry point and spend your AP as a survivor doing whatever you want to do - searching, attacking survivors, GKing - while your health trickles away. Just avoid talking, as that costs AP, but not HP. If you want to communicate, then do it by broadcasting, spraypainting or newspaper-slapping, all of which do cost HP.

As soon as you run out of HP, rise as a zombie and attack the humans around you.

Free Running is useful in that it allows you to choose where to strike: it's difficult to find any way of getting into an EHB fortress except by parachuting and free running, so without this technique you'll have trouble getting hold of that trenchie you've noticed headshotting zombies in the streets.

Diagnosis shows you survivor HP levels (and therefore easy kills), while human combat skills and weapons allow you to soften up your targets before clawing them to death. The emphasis is on softening up, not on killing: read the sidebar for the reasons why death blows should be delivered only as a zombie.

Feeding Groan allows you to attract other ferals and to direct them to the barn you want to see destroyed without having to take down the cades first (the 3 or 4 ferals in front of the building might not cut it, but if you can attract all the other ferals up to 6 blocks away, they might have a better chance.)

GKing

Requirements:

  • None

Recommended skills and equipment:

When in doubt, GKing is always a good thing to do.

Most breathers are apathetic mallrats who crave green pastures and lit TRPs and tend to flee when they can't find the latter. Even the smarter ones realize that without the boost in search percentages afforded by a genny, they will have a hard time replacing such items as first-aid kits and syringes (the lifeblood of the survivor population).

Moreover, GKing is one of the most AP-efficient things to do. A cultist with full skills and a knife needs on average 10AP to destroy a genny, while a survivor can only find 1 or 2 combinations of genny and fuel per 50AP cycle (and needs to keep 30% of their encumbrance free for each set). A single death-cultist destroying three gennies per day will bind all the AP and a good bit of the inventory space of 2 or 3 survivors.

Be selective when destroying gennies. Avoid bummer barns like schools and hotels, where little useful stuff can be found. Always focus on TRPs, where survivors need gennies for efficient searching. Your order of priority should be roughly like this:

  1. NTs
  2. Malls
  3. Hospitals
  4. PDs
  5. Factories and Auto Repair Shops, where gennies and fuel are found. (These are some of the most vital buildings for harmans. But there are so many of them that disrupting all of them is tricky, to say the least.)
  6. Minor TRPs like Fire Stations and Junkyards

You should be prepared to adjust this order depending on the local context. Look, for instance, at Molebank. Note the 6 NTs: without co-operation, it would be difficult to disrupt the needle flow. However, there are only two hospitals and no mall. Those two hospitals are the only source of FAKs. Better yet, they are adjoining and so easy to take out in one run. So, if you GK in Molebank, destroy the hospital gennies first, then focus on the other TRPs.

(You should also have one eye on the TRPs in adjoining suburbs when you weigh your priorities. To stick with the example of Molebank, notice that St. Werburgh's Hospital is just over the border in West Becktown.)

Overcading entry points

Requirements:

Recommended skills and equipment:

Overcading entry points requires little effort, can potentially harm a lot of survivors and requires more AP to undo than it costs you to do it.

Most survivors like to hide behind the highest barricades possible and tend to cade to EHB whenever they have AP to spare. On the other hand, they need to get to and from the street occassionally (to revive, to travel between islands, or to headshot zombies outside while they quote Schwarzenegger). So they grudgingly leave some minor buildings like churches at VSB, but only when they can't do without them.

This weakness can be exploited by the death-cultist. Sneak into the entry point, and raise the cades above VSB. That way, people outside who want to get back inside end up stranded and become Street Treats. It takes a fully equipped survivor an average of 5AP to whittle cades down by a single level, and quite a bit less than that for you to raise them, even above VSB. So, overcading entry points tips the AP war in favour of the zombies.

This tactic works best in suburbs that either don't follow the UBP policy, or where barricade plans are ill-maintained. Well-maintained burbs have too many entry points to lock out any but the most careless survivors.

Overcading should not be attempted in red zones or in ghost towns: ruins are guaranteed entry points, and render this tactic pointless.

Especially good places to overcade are mall entry points and forts:

Malls are high-profile targets that attract organized hordes and feral packs alike, so there are usually only one or two entry points. Still better, mallrats tend to be clueless. So, tag an entry point inside and out with "EHB as per barricade plan", cade it up to HB, and see the trenchies gladly doing the rest of the work for you with the survivors' AP.
Forts are populated by trenchies even more clueless than those in malls. Complicated rules govern movement inside them. Focus on overcading the infirmary (to keep the wounded from getting treatment and to make them available as easy snacks inside the fort's walls) and on the armoury (which is the central entry point and the gathering point for the dumbest gun-mongers of all).

Piñatas!

Requirements:

Recommended skills and equipment:

So you like to parachute? And you also like to overcade? Can't decide which to try first? Why not do both at once and create a piñata!

Look for a nice, empty and overcaded building as you parachute, drop dead in it, rise and ruin it. Ta-da! A building that can neither be free-run into, nor entered from outside, but requires the survivors to crack it open from the outside with their inferior tools (a very AP-intensive task, especially if they fail to bring the piñata down to VSB and the nearest alternative entry point is far away).

If the building is inhabited, you need to kill the occupants first before ransacking. (You can't ransack while survivors are present.)

If it is too weakly caded, you need Construction and some AP to cade it above VSB before you ransack.

If it's both too lightly caded and inhabited, or if there are too many occupants, look for another building. (You could make an exception if you coordinate with PKers or other death-cultists on a timed strike specifically to make a piñata out of a particular building, as the Philosophe Knights did in the First Battle of Krinks on 22 March 2010. But as a feral or member of FU, such coordination is rarely an option.)

As it takes a bit of luck for a single feral to find a building ripe for piñata-ing, you will rarely have your pick. If you do have the luxury of choice, then the following make especially good piñatas:

  • TRPs (see GKing section for an order of importance)
  • critical links on free-running lanes (like the Ellicott building in Eastonwood, which is the only bridge between the Tryme NT and Nettleton NT on one side, and the twin factories in the south-west on the other)
  • entry points
  • dark buildings

The first three are building-types that survivors are forced to deal with swiftly, as they absolutely need them. Dark buildings can be repaired only by lighting them with a genny and fuel and so are especially costly to reclaim.

Abuse the RG: Report "PKers", collect "bounties"

Requirements:

  • none

Recommended skills and equipment:

I've already mentioned that the Rogues Gallery is your enemy, have I not? Well, it's not that bad. In the hands of a savvy death-cultist, the RG can be turned against its inventors in particular and the survivor cause in general.

The RG doesn't care whether you are pro-survivor, pro-zombie, pro-PKer, pro-whatever. The only things it cares about is whether you are a PKer (which you won't be if you follow my advice), or that someone has PKed you.

What does that mean for you? Just make a dumbwit whenever someone PKs you for your death-culting and submit it. That way, the perp is going to get a bounty and a permanent red mark, turning the RG against the very people it wanted to protect. (A cruel trick, you say? I never wanted a universal PKer list, and neither has Kevan implemented one, so I see messing with such a third-party tool as fair. People have only themselves to blame if they uncritically accept the RG as an universal authority to divide good guys from bad guys.)

Checking bounties and collecting them is the next stage in your fun. A bounty is a free ticket to PK someone, so now you can bring out the guns and PK without worrying. Just don't file the bounty on the RG: leave that to the victim. If they report being killed by you to reduce their own bounty, fine, but if they don't do it within 2 weeks, all the better. That way, their bounty doesn't diminish, and you can shoot them over and over again.

Take a lesson from bounty hunters and always give the RG link to your victim's rap-sheet in-game when you kill them in the presence of others. It saves you from being killed in turn by people mistaking you for a PKer. More then that, it camouflages your real intent and thereby furthers the zombie cause by convincing people that you are pro-survivor rather than a death-cultist. This also works in propaganda warfare: present the rap-sheet, call out the victim as DNR and its survivor group as a PKer group, and watch confusion reign as the group's actions and defences conflict with the authority of the RG.

For advanced shenanigans, goad someone you don't like onto the RG by bragging about the gennies you have destroyed. Or about how much ít will interest the horde that there are survivors in the only lit hospital in the burb. Shoot them a couple of times to make your point. The more trenchie your target is, the better it works. (It has always worked in fort sieges for me when I wanted to rejoin the horde. It not only ensures your enemy gets a bounty on his head, but also that the survivors waste AP turning me into the zombie I'd prefer to be anyway.)

Advanced shenanigans

Some short notes on more advanced death-cultist techniques:

  • Put "please revive" in your profile description. Really, a lot of survivors fall for that. (And so many survivors have a Mrh? in their zombie description that it's only fair for pro-zombies to get in on the act.)
  • Generally, have a survivor-style profile. Phrases like "Carries needles at all times and justs wants to help" or "Zombies killed: 76" make you look inconspicious.
  • Be flexible with your group tag. A dropped, blurred or fake tag rather than that of a zombie group can do wonders. Or go with a fake survivor group such as "Roftwood Rot Revivers", "Anti-Zack Strike Team" or "Miltown Militia". Just don't impersonate directly existing survivor groups: that is really bad form (and will get you listed as an imposter on their wiki pages).
  • Be familiar with the suburb map. Know where the entry points are, as you'll need them for activities like parachuting, and so that you can overcade them when desirable. Take note of the number and placement of local TRPs so that you can GK effectively.
  • Don't rely on the wiki danger reports, either for suburbs or for buildings. Some are never updated due to laziness. Some are never updated due to the attention it would attract (during Mall reclamations, for example).
  • Get useless skills like First Aid or NecroNet Access. It makes you look more inconspicuous.
  • Start with a harman class - a death date that's different from "in the early outbreaks" will distract from the fact that you are pro-zombie.
    • If you want to take this idea further, then start in the Scientist class - it will take you a while to grab all the death-cultist skills (which are mostly military or civilian), but it will look really inconspicuous as most scientist skills are purely for pro-survivor use.
  • Use radio and graffiti propaganda smartly, especially where survivors are clueless (i.e. malls, forts). Check some of the Team Ratfuck broadcasts here and here for good examples of effective death-culting propaganda.

Develop your own ideas from here on. The best tricks a death-cultist has up his sleeve are those that aren't set out on a public wiki page ...

Other recommended guides

Death-cultist play

General zombie play

Survivor Play: The Big Picture

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