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In the roguelike game ADOM, Khelavaster is an ancient sage who was the first to notice the growing effects of corruption in his world (Ancardia). However, Khelavaster's fate was similar to Cassandra's in the Iliad: despite his persistent warnings about the coming of chaos, nobody believed him. Finally the old man got frustrated enough to try and locate the source of corruption all by himself, and if possible, to remove it. With this noble intention, he entered the fabled Caverns of Chaos - and of course no one ever saw him again.

That is, until now. In ADOM, Khelavaster can be found a few levels below the dwarven city, surrounded by Chaos warriors. He is about to die though, so if you speak to him, you'll only be able to hear his last words before the old guy snuffs it and leaves behind a rather unsatisfactory pile of junk.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. If you view Khelavaster's character description, you'll see that he's beyond any healing power, magical or otherwise. He is doomed to die, whatever you do... but isn't there something to make dying just a casual little experience, annoying but mercifully brief? Something like, say, an Amulet of Life Saving?

If you're feeling nice (or greedy for your just reward) and have such an amulet in your possession, give it to the poor guy *before* talking to him. He'll die, yes, but the AoLS will bring him back to life (I'm not certain whether it'll work if cursed, so watch out for this) and he'll be so grateful as to reward you with a heapload of good stuff, including no fewer than six of those coveted Scrolls of Chaos Resistance.

Of course, there's another reason to save Khelavaster's life... Five words: Trident of the Red Rooster.

Note: Khelavaster can only be saved in versions newer than g10.

It may be useful to know that there is no time limit on saving Khelavaster. You can spend months or years of ADOM time roaming around in the wilderness searching for an amulet of life saving, and he will still be alive when you get back.

Since amulets of life saving are extremely rare, many of my characters have experimented with alternative ways of dealing with Khelavaster. None of the alternative strategies I have tried have ever worked, and it seems that Thomas Biskup intends that all possible alternative strategies should fail. However, here are all the strategies I've tried and a few that I haven't, along with information on what happens.

Healing him (without an amulet of life saving)

  • Khelavaster appears to refuse everything you offer him that isn't an AoLS - I have tried blessed potions of extra healing, pepper petals, spenseweeds and crystals of health. The stuff he refuses will be piled up on the stairs beneath him, and you will not be able to retrieve it until you've dealt with him.
  • If you zap him with a healing spell, ADOM will tell you that he is beyond the help of your feeble healing magic.
  • Healers of level 18 or higher who attempt to use their First Aid or Healing skills on him will receive the message "Khelavaster, the dying sage, does not seem to be injured" (this bug has been reported).
  • Perhaps you could take Jharod the healer to him and see what happened. You would need to find a way to tame or pacify Jharod; as long as he is peaceful he will not leave his room, and he seems to be immune to the Calm Monster spell, making it hard to pacify him after turning him hostile and leading him around.

Moving him

If only you could move Khelavaster off the down staircase, you could explore the deeper levels of the Caverns of Chaos. You'd be practically certain to find an amulet of life saving or some way of wishing for one down there (because of the high danger level), and then you could come back and save him.

  • Khelavaster will resist any attempt to zap him with the Teleportation spell or swap places with him (not tested with the "swap places with hostile monster" special power that Monks and Beastfighters get).
  • Since the typical behaviour of stunned, confused, hostile or frightened monsters involves moving around, you might think that if you could get Khelavaster into one of these states, he would start moving around too. My experiments with this have involved zapping him with Stun Ray and Scare Monster and using Ventriloquism on him. He shrugs off stun rays, which turn him hostile but do not start him chasing after you, and he appears to be immune to Scare Monster. Apparently he does not panic when wounded either. He can be confused by Ventriloquism but won't start staggering around aimlessly.
  • Someone on rec.games.roguelike.adom once suggested that you could acquire an exceedingly wimpy pet, order it to attack Khelavaster, then swap places with it and hope that he will go after it. It seems that most pets and companions will silently ignore commands to attack him and just stand next to him. Occasionally pets will attack, but even if he is wounded he still won't move.
  • If you could tame him, you could try commanding him to move or follow you, but I don't think you can. I am aware of two ways of taming monsters in ADOM: music and giving away items. Music does not appear to tame humans, and since giving Khelavaster an amulet of life saving does not tame him, it's very unlikely that giving him anything else will.

Wishing for him

It would be nice if you could call Khelavaster back from the dead with a wish, but you can't. Wishing for "Khelavaster" silently fails, and wishing for "ancient sage" results in "Nothing happens". I've heard that wishing for "dying sage", "Khelavaster, the ancient sage", or "Khelavaster, the dying sage" will all also fail.

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