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If you are having problems beating a particular monster in Dark Messiah, of if you want to learn a little more about the inhabitants of Ashan, check out the Monster FAQ written by Exaggeration17A. The well-written article is a great complement to the GameSpot walkthrough that was posted on the Web a couple of weeks ago. All the game's creatures are reviewed based on their type (common or boss) and nature (human, undead or demonic), and the author tells you how much of a thread they really are and how you can defeat them. Here is his strategy for the spiders, possibly the most annoying monster in the whole game:

"Since there are usually no other creatures around when you fight these spiders, I recommend ignoring the poison effect until you've used whichever tactic to kill every last spider, then heal yourself. Don't bother drinking an antidote potion when you're poisoned and other spiders are still around (you'll probably just get poisoned again), and don't bother trying to heal yourself before the poison wears off (it won't make the poison wear off any sooner)."

The second part of the FAQ, which deals with the various items and weapons you can find around Stonehelm, will be published in a couple of days.
Editors's Note: The following is an excerpt from the Enemy/Item FAQ written by Patrick "Exaggeration17A" Leahy. The original article can be found at GameFAQS.

Most of the humans you'll fight in Dark Messiah are necromancers and their allies. They're more vulnerable to fire than they are to lightning, but all attacks work about equally well on humans.

Black Guards - First appearance in the prologue. These are mercenaries hired by Arantir and the necromancers to serve as cannon fodder. Most of them carry short swords, occasionally with a shield, while others use a bow as their primary weapon. They're only really dangerous in groups... they don't dodge, block or parry much and are easy to line up for a power attack or a well-placed kick. A volley of three flame arrows or three power attack to the head from a short sword will kill them, too. Take out the archers first or force them to drop their bows if you can, then kill them in your favorite way.

Necromancers - First appearance in chapter two (also, they guys who leer at you when the main menu is displayed at startup). Necromancers are wizards that specialize in death magic, which allows them to raise zombies and even reanimate fresh corpses. You'll mostly have to worry about fire projectiles from them, though. They generally use magic as their primary form of attack and have a meathook as a backup melee weapon. Their magic is devastating at medium range so get in close to make quick work of them or take them out from a distance with your own spells or arrows.

Necromancer Trainees - First appearance in chapter eight. You might think I'm kidding, but I'm not. You'll run into servants in the necromancers' lair, at least some of which talk as though they were training to be necromancers. They have no means of attack as far as I know, but should be killed regardless (which won't be hard) so they don't alert their masters.

Stonehelm Guards - First appearance in chapter one. For the most part, they are your allies but in chapter nine, a poorly aimed spell or arrow might cause you to wind up fighting them. They're kind of like an improved version of Black Guards since they attack and defend more effectively and almost always carry shields. Refine your strategy for killing Black Guards a little if you accidentally provoke them and you should be fine.

Stonehelm Wizards - First appearance in chapter four. Again, you'll never have to fight them unless you accidentally provoke one in chapter nine. The strategy for dealing with them is the same as it is for a necromancer.

Enemies - Undead

Since necromancers are your main enemies, you'll fight a lot of dead things that they bring back to life with dark magic. They're resistant to physical damage but can still be killed by it relatively easily. They're also usually vulnerable to fire, but lightning works well too.

Zombies - First appearance in the prologue. These reanimated corpses are slow and stupid, but they hit hard and can be tough to finish off. Don't be fooled by your first encounter with one in the prologue, either. By the time you see them again (chapter six), they'll have the ability to breathe poison gas, which makes their hard hits even more dangerous. They're best dealt with at a distance, but if close combat is needed, don't stand still for too long and don't linger in the short to medium range where they tend to use their poison attack.

Ghouls - First appearance in chapter one. Unlike their zombie cousins, these creatures are quick but hit just as hard. Your biggest problems will be their tendency to attack in groups and how they don't stay still long enough to properly aim any form of attack. The best way to deal with them is when they haven't spotted you but failing that, remember that they stay close to the ground, watch their movements and aim as best as you can.

Liches - First appearance in chapter six. In case you didn't loathe necromancers enough, these undead wizards have all the abilities of a living necromancer (and use them with greater proficiency) with all the toughness of undead creatures. No matter what kind of character you're playing, there's only one strategy to go with for them: hit them with everything you have and take them down quick before the zombies they raise overwhelm you.

Vampire Knights - First appearance in chapter eight. Vampire Knights are the strongest warriors in the game. They carry shields almost as frequently as orcs do, are very alert and very good at combat. They're also one of the few enemies who avoid being lined up for an instant kill kick. Don't take risks with these guys and try to avoid fighting more than one at a time. Take them out as quick as possible with ranged attacks or block often in melee combat and use quick power attacks when they leave themselves open.

Undead Commoners - First appearance in chapter eight. They're kind of a joke by the time you encounter them, since they're only as tough as zombies (possibly weaker) and you won't be worried about those either this late in the game. Kill them quick and you won't have to worry about them when the real monsters attack.

Enemies - Demonic

In the Might and Magic universe, goblins and orcs were created by the fusion of human and demon blood, and are therefore considered demonic. The only other demonic creatures in the game are the two normal cyclopses encountered in chapters five and seven, respectively. They have a vulnerability to lightning but like humans, all attacks work pretty well on them.

Goblins - First appearance in chapter four. Fans of RPGs should already be familiar with the weak yet potentially dangerous goblin. In this game, they carry spiked clubs and usually wooden shields, and are almost never found alone. Rather than use ranged weapons, goblins will throw rocks at you, which does little damage but can add up when there are a lot of them. Therefore, don't hesitate to press the attack against a group of goblins, especially since depleting their health can literally send them running for their lives. When this happens, just start damaging the next goblin since you can always find the coward and kill him when you're finished with his friends.

Orcs - First appearance in chapter five. Orcs are an RPG standby as well. Like Black Guards, they're mostly swordsmen with a few archers thrown in, but orcs almost always carry some form of shield, hit harder and are much better at combat. Therefore, you need to be much more cautious with any orc armed with a cleaver and prepare to use stronger spells, more arrows or just block more often. Don't forget to take advantage of their vulnerability to lighting as well, if you can.

Enemies - Animal

The animals you fight in this game are almost exclusively spiders, though there is one annoying exception. Like the undead, physical attacks aren't the best option but fire will make quick work of them. Lightning is generally okay too, with the same annoying exception.

Small Spiders - First appearance in chapter three. The smaller spiders you encounter aren't much of a threat as long as you notice them, although sometimes you can literally walk on them and kill them accidentally. They will attack you and they can poison you, so it's best to kill them before they get that chance. I recommend a well-aimed kick or other melee attack. Anything else is a wasted effort.

Large Spiders - First appearance in chapter five. Here's the real threat. The main problems you encounter when fighting spiders are their numbers (another enemy that likes attacking in groups) and their poison, which continually drains your health until you're down to 5 hit points. The only plus side is that besides the poison, their attacks only do 1 or 2 points of damage. Since there are usually no other creatures around when you fight these spiders, I recommend ignoring the poison effect until you've used whichever tactic to kill every last spider, then heal yourself. Don't bother drinking an antidote potion when you're poisoned and other spiders are still around (you'll probably just get poisoned again), and don't bother trying to heal yourself before the poison wears off (it won't make the poison wear off any sooner).

Facehuggers - First appearance in chapter five. These fleshy, floating creatures that resemble octopi with big teeth and crackle with electricity are called "ugly little brutes" and "mindless vermin" in the game, and those seem like more appropriate monikers than "facehugger" to me (thanks to Hezz for supplying this official name). In any case, you'll probably grow to hate them. They can be quick and hard to hit with an attack until they're right on top of you, by which time you're taking steady damage from their teeth and electric attacks. As you might expect, lightning does nothing against them and they don't respond well to physical damage either. The only good news is, a well aimed fireball will obliterate them. It might be worth keeping some fireball scrolls in your inventory just for this purpose.

Enemies - Bosses

Cyclops - First appearance in chapter one. These 15 foot high, one eyed monsters come in two varieties: regular and undead. You'll run into three undead ones (chapters 1 and 9, and the epilogue) and two regular ones (chapters 5 and 7) but the strategy is the same for either type if you want to confront them. You only need to kill chapter one's cyclops, and you use a ballista to do it. The other three are optional, though you will generally get more skill points for killing them, and doing so will make getting through the chapter easier, too. Using the battlefield you have to your advantage is the best strategy (kicking over a statue in chapter five, cutting a log loose in chapter five and cutting a large rock loose in the epilogue) but those tricks fail, it is possible to defeat them in a more standard way. Archers and mages need to stay as far away from the cyclops as possible and shoot for the eye, the only spot where they can be damaged. Warriors need to hide behind a shield, wait for the cyclops to attack, block it and run in to attack the eye while it's at ground level. Assassins will have the most trouble since they can't be backstabbed. Use the archer's strategy if you have a bow but if you only have daggers, your only option is to use the warrior's strategy and dodge the cyclops' attacks since they can't be parried. Prepare to use a lot of healing potions though, since their attacks are hard to dodge and you might not be able to get to the eye fast enough if you dodge too far. When a cyclops takes enough damage, it will stagger and fall to its knees, leaving its eye open for a final, killing blow. Don't hesitate when this happens since it will recover if you don't finish it off. The fountain of blood pouring from its eye lets you know it's as good as dead. One last warning: stay out of the way when it's ready to fall to the ground!

Pao-Kai - First appearance in chapter five. Pao-Kais are evil dragons with lightning breath and can't be harmed by any of your normal weapons. You only run into two of them in the game, and they aren't really a challenge once you know what you need to do. In chapter five, get its attention by hitting it with a spell or arrows, then run to the passage with the portcullis and lever and close the portcullis on the dragon when it sticks its head through. In chapter nine, you'll need to run into a building and take the Pao-Kai down with the conveniently placed ballista inside. Like the cyclops, it's possible to kill them in a more standard way, or at least it is in chapter nine. The strategy should be the same as it is for the bone dragon; scroll down to the end of the bosses section to see it (thanks again to Hezz for reminding me of this fact). R

Aratrok - Appears in chapter five. Aratrok is the orc chieftan who will challenge you "blade to blade" near the end of chapter five. He's only a tougher version of the standard orc, but the nature of his challenge causes problems for everyone but the warrior. If you cast any spells, the four other orcs he enters with will attack and make the fight even harder. Said orcs also block the exit, so it'll be hard to get away from Aratrok in the room you fight him in. Either parry and counter-attack a lot with melee weapons, run in circles and shoot constantly with a bow, or prepare to use a lot of spells to win this battle.

Giant Worm - Appears in chapter seven. This is more of a really big hazard than an actual boss, since there's no way to kill it. The only way of dealing with it is running away... keep a close eye on your stamina so you aren't caught winded and unable to dodge its jaws.

Giant Spider - Appears in chapter eight. This is an optional boss, but deciding whether or not to fight it plays a big part in your decision to be good or evil. This is another boss that will pose the most problems for the assassin, since the strategy for fighting it is a lot like that of the cyclops. Either keep your distance and use ranged attacks (preferably fire-based) or use shield blocks and counter-attacks in close. Also like the cyclops, you don't want to be nearby when it's about to collapse.

Arantir - First appearance in chapter three. Arantir is the boss of the necromancers and the main villain of this game. You don't get to actually fight him until the epilogue and finale of Dark Messiah, since attacking him in chapter three results in instant death. When you do fight him, he's disappointing. Assassins can just sneak up and backstab him, warriors and mages can make quick work of him as well, and the fight is only marginally challenging for archers if you decide not to keep your distance. The real danger is the "ally" he summons....

Bone Dragon - Appears in the epilogue. The bone dragon summoned by Arantir is the real final boss of Dark Messiah. It's essentially a skeletal Pao-Kai that you can actually damage and is bound to Arantir. This fight is pretty unbalanced depending on what skills you have. If you're a melee-focused warrior or assassin, all you can do is run around, dodging its lightning breath until it comes in for melee attacks, at which point you may have to resort to leaping attacks at its tail. It's a much better situation for archers and mages who can run around and shoot it. When it takes enough damage, it will vanish and Arantir will be vulnerable to attack. Depending on how quick you are and how much damage you can deal, you should only have to make the dragon vanish two or three times before Arantir finally dies.

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