Life Cultist

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Survivor Tactics
The information on this page or section discusses a survivor strategy.
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.

A life cultist is a character that plays as a zombie but works to achieve survivor ends. Typically they play by knocking the HP of other zombie characters down to the point where a single hit from a shotgun or pistol from a survivor will kill a zombie. This aids in survivor efforts to clear buildings of zombies. Life cultists also help to clean up revive points by getting information about brain rotters clogging revive points and killing them.

For short, a Life Cultist is the antithesis of a Death Cultist, who is a human that helps the zombie cause.

Known Life Cultist Groups

There have been characters acting in the above described manner for quite some time in Urban Dead. The first formally established life cultist group are the Power Rangers. As Life Cultism is a relatively obscure strategy, few groups actively employ it on a large scale. At current, there is one group in Malton dedicated to this tactic (Z.A.L.P., or Zombies for the Advancement of Living People) while other survivor groups use it as a strategy of opportunity. One example of Life Cultism as a mandated way of life is that which is employed amongst the Buttonville Unroyal Bastards.

"Zombie Anonymity" - the life cultist's friend

Zombies names and profile links are not generally shown when zombies are present or perform actions. It is assumed that this is a role-play measure, to make zombies seem a faceless horde. Most players also presume this aids zombies against survivors, because it protects them from being singled out as targets.
However, zombies don't really care about being singled out as targets (unless they're brain rotters attempting to clog revival points) - the worst it will result in is a headshot or a revive, both of which are accepted facts of zombie existence, and both of zombie tactics tend to account for as expected daily events.
What "zombie anonymity" really does is to make it harder for zombies to organize- they can't tell who their friends are. They can't even tell friends from enemies if the enemies are dead. Life Cultists can and do take tactical and strategic advantage of this fact.
What can zombies do to counter this? One thing they can do is make extensive use of their contact lists. If you know a few dozen good zombies and hang around them regularly, you won't fall in with the wrong crowd. It's silly to assume that any zombie you don't recognize as a contact is a life cultist, but the more "good zombies" you hang with, the less likely you'll be affected by this tactic.
Another thing they can do is stay on the move. If you don't try to occupy buildings for long, life cultists are not much of an issue. Staying in one place just means the life cultist doesn't have to spend AP moving around to find a target to gnaw on every day, and earns XP all that much faster.

Life Cultists and Game Balance

The "life cultist" is nothing new. An early UD wiki game suggestion deals with this basics of the life cultist tactic. Having been known and around now for more than 2 years now (as of this writing on 11 February 2007) it would seem that Life Cultists are an intended part of the game (since otherwise why would zombies be allowed to attack each other?) And indeed, they do act as a negative feedback on zombie population growth. Although dead survivor "life cultists" can not revive themselves, they can (and do) hinder zombies in their attempts to kill more survivors and prevent survivors from making revives. Whenever zombies kill a lot of survivors, they create their own worst enemies, for zombies are in fact more effective at killing zombies than humans are, when you consider they need not search for ammo or spend any AP protecting themselves with barricades or healing themselves when injured.

Life Cultist Tactics

Life cultists can help hold back the horde by injuring zombies standing outside buildings. Note that if you ever finish off a zombie standing outside, you're actually helping the horde, as he can then stand up with full health for very little AP, as he doesn't even suffer a headshot penalty. Killing a zombie inside a building is more useful, as he can then be dumped outside, but you have to leave the building before the survivors waste their AP killing you to get you out. A life cultist can also take over-barricaded entry points back down to Very strongly barricaded - they can do this a lot more efficiently than a survivor, even if the survivor is dismantling the barricades from the inside.
Another way that life cultists can help the survivor cause is by working as Loyalist Spies. They scout and gather information, such as numbers of hostile zombies in resource building or the length of the revive queue, mostly in areas too dangerous for survivors to be in, like a ruined Ghost Town or a suburb with high zombie concentration. They then report what they see to survivors, so that they can decide on a plan of action. This report can take the form of individual scout reports or be collected into a map of zombie-based scouting information. Otherwise, passing of information usually requires metagaming such as forums (since zombie language is hardly intelligible to humans in-game.) For this reason, zombies who spy for survivors are most likely part of a survivor group.
Though these are among the most basic, several other life cultists tactics including some highly organized maneuvers have been cataloged in a treatise on life culting by the group Z.A.L.P..

Controversy

Some players feel that having zombies defending survivors is dishonorable, or at least bad role-playing, as it is contrary to the spirit of traditional zombie apocalypses. If life-culting and death-culting become common enough, any group would eventually contain both zombies and survivors and use the skills of both, which could alter the perceived "zombie vs survivor" intent of Urban Dead.
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