Written by Violet/Basil

General Tips

Heretic is a very difficult antagonist type that requires direct confrontation and fighting with several people. I would not recommend enabling it in your preferences if you are not comfortable with combat in this game, since a heretic who never even tries to sacrifice people is essentially not doing anything but take up an antagonist slot that could've gone to someone else!

Heretics start off fairly weak, but gain power as the round goes on and they accumulate knowledge points by tapping influences, sacrificing targets, and performing certain rituals. Their initial tools and abilities are great for surprise one-on-one melee combat, but not much else. Therefore, it is imperative that you avoid getting found out early on, as a fight against a security team is unlikely to work out in your favor. Throughout the round, you should be gaining knowledge and power to ensure that you'll be able to go loud if necessary, especially once the shuttle gets called.

To do a ritual, you need to draw a Transmutation Rune on the ground with a pen/crayon while having the Mansus Grasp active in your other hand. Place the items required for the ritual anywhere on the 3x3 circle, and then, while standing on the circle, click on the rune with an empty hand. A menu will appear allowing you to select which ritual to attempt.

Although the living heart can only hold up to four targets at a time, once you have run out of targets you can visit a rune and use Heartbeat of the Mansus to get new ones. This lets you continue to accumulate knowledge points, which can be very helpful, especially if you haven't harvested that many influences.

Two particular items are invaluable for any heretic: the Amber Focus, and the Codex Cicatrix. All heretics see the same influences, and need to compete over them if they want to have the most points. If there's only one heretic, 5 influences will spawn; for two heretics, 9, for three heretics, 12, and so on. These influences can spawn almost anywhere on the station aside from maintenance. Also, tapped influences and transmutation circles are invisible to silicons, so don't worry about the AI discovering them.

If the Amber Focus isn't helping for finding influences, it can be a good idea to use a security camera console to flick through the camera network and see if you can find any influences on cams. There's usually a security camera console in the Arrivals security post on most maps, which people rarely go to - just watch out for anyone who happens to be arriving.

There is no limit to how many runes a heretic can draw, but it's usually a good idea to avoid leaving too many around unless you're confident you're going to need it very soon. Anyone who stumbles across one might compromise your secrecy, and a detective could scan nearby objects to find incriminating fingerprints and fibers. Use the Mansus Grasp or Codex Cicatrix on a rune to remove it.

To sacrifice someone, they must be in critical condition or dead, not just stunned. If you can get your hands on a medical HUD, this can help you avoid wasting time by continuing to attack a target who's already in crit. You must use the ritual titled “Heartbeat of the Mansus.” It is always at the top of the ritual list.

Sacrificing someone takes a lot of planning and forethought. The Transmutation Rune takes a long time to draw, and you should have at least one down before you go after a target. Try to place it somewhere easily accessible from where your target is. For example, one round, my target was a scientist who was doing xenobiology on Tramstation. Because I was a roboticist, I had access to that department, so I made my rune in the science break room, disabled all the cameras from there to xenobiology, and I climbed up the stairs to attack my target on the top floor.

As soon as your target is unconscious or dead, rip off their jumpsuit so that any nosy medical staff can't see their location on the crew monitor.

The basic attributes of the Mansus Grasp include a brief knockdown (during which the victim can still crawl around a bit), 10 burn damage, and a status effect that makes their speech 100% incomprehensible for a few seconds. The other powers of the Grasp will be different depending on the path you take:
Remember that you can use the Mansus Grasp even when you've been knocked to the ground, such as by a baton or disabler.

Aside from the Mansus Grasp, your spells all require incantations to cast, meaning that if you get muted (such as through mute toxin) you will be unable to cast them... unless you have the Tongue-Tied quirk, in which case you are immune to being muted. Mimes must break their vow of silence to use spells, but the mood boost you get from being a heretic is huge enough to counterbalance the mood penalty for breaking the vow.

You'll want to make your heretic knife as soon as possible, as it is stronger than almost any melee weapon on the station, fits in your backpack, and is somewhat armor piercing. It also gains certain powers based on the abilities you buy. The easiest way to get a knife is to use wirecutters on a bedsheet and then use the resulting cloth on a glass shard to make a shiv.

Heretics can make multiple blades. The maximum number of blades you can have at once is dependent on your Path. Ash, Void, and Rust can make 2, Flesh can make 3, and Blades can make 5. It's helpful to have more than one blade in your inventory, as you can click on a blade in your hand to break it and warp to a random safe location on the station, albeit not necessarily one that's devoid of people or super far away from where you just were. You can also give blades to ghouls that you've summoned (other than shattered risen), who will be able to use them in combat. Plus, it's helpful to have a backup in case someone happens to disarm you (although bear in mind that non-heretics can't attack with heretic blades and will suffer dire consequences if they try…)

To make a Void Blade or trigger the Void ascension, you must be in an area with a temperature of 0 degrees celsius or less. On Icebox, this is as easy as just stepping outside through any of the public external airlocks. On other stations, you might want to find a room in maintenance that borders space with a 3x3 area in it and weld open a wall. Make sure to wear a firesuit and fire helmet to avoid taking pressure damage. It might be a good idea to close up the wall again once you're done to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

The Biogenerator in the public garden and hydroponics is surprisingly robust for heretics. You can put plants in it as well as a reagent container in order to grind the plants up into biomass, which you can then use to print out cloth, which you can use to make glass shivs (which count as knives), as well as monkey cubes, which you can use to make monkeys to harvest organs, skin, and bodyparts from.
Having allies as a heretic can be an enormous boon, as they make it easier to deal with crowds of people who are all trying to kill you, in addition to just causing a lot of chaos (and being a fun way of getting dead players and observers into the game). Flesh, Ash, and Void all have fairly easy access to several rituals that summon monsters and turn dead players into ghouls.

Rituals that summon monsters require having a ghost around to play as the summoned monster. They will fail otherwise. Because the Path of Flesh revolves around monster summons, I'd recommend only choosing it if there's a lot of players. However, you can also get to the monster summoning rituals from the other paths, most easily if you're doing Path of Ash or Path of Void.

Dead players who have been turned into ghouls will return to normal once their ghoul form dies, allowing them to be revived. Although there's no specific policy on this, it can be assumed this follows the normal rules of “you can't remember anything that happened while you were dead,” so you shouldn't have to worry about a former ghoul ratting you out.

Remember that your fellow humanoid crewmates can also be good sources of limbs and organs. Hitting a limb or the head enough with your heretic blade will eventually cut it off, and doing the same for the chest will cause their internal organs to spill out, as well as tails. Doing this is pretty evil though, so I'd only recommend it if you plan on using the parts to summon a monster so their player can get back into the game.

Once you've ascended, you will take 50% less brute and burn damage, regardless of path. A station-wide announcement will also be made automatically, heralding your ascension.

To ascend, you must have completed all of your objectives. Usually, you have to sacrifice 1 head of staff and 2 or 3 normal crewmembers, in addition to researching a certain amount of knowledge. The Path of Flesh also requires you to summon two monsters - ghouls do not count for this. Ascending causes you to automatically get greentext regardless of if you live or die, meaning you are free to do whatever you want with your apocalyptic, world-ending power. This is essentially a fail state for the crew, although it's still possible for you to be killed in this form.

Each ascension ritual requires there to be 3 dead bodies (4 for the Flesh ascension) on your rune, in addition to whatever other requirement your path's ascension has. These bodies have to be humanoid (no monkeys) but they don't have to be real players. You can get bodies from the morgue or turn monkeys into humans using mutadone (found in genetics). The bodies you use in the ascension ritual will be gibbed, spraying organs and body parts everywhere, some of which will likely hit you and do a very minor amount of brute damage (so don't do the ritual if you're almost in crit).

How to get items for rituals

Knife: Required for each path's initial blade ritual, and pretty much a necessity for any heretic. Get one of these as soon as possible. Also required for Carving Knife ritual.
Match: Used for Nightwatcher's Secret (Ash blade ritual). Found in matchboxes in the Space Cigs vendor. Characters with the nyctophobia quirk start with one.

Blood: Used for Principle of Hunger (Flesh blade) and Raw Ritual. Either cut yourself with something sharp, use a syringe + container to splash it on the ground, or scoop a blood puddle off the ground with a beaker and splash it on your rune.

Trash item: Used for Blacksmith's Tale (Rust blade ritual). Lots of things count as trash, but easiest is to just buy a bag of chips or raisins or a soda can from a vending machine and eat/drink it until it's all used up. Beat-up dirty trays (with the description “This is rubbish”) also count as trash.

Organs: Required by many rituals. Glass: Used for Amber Focus. Found in many places across the station, such as auxiliary tool storage, research and development, the ORM, any lathe.

Glass Shard: Used for Ashen Eyes, Void Cloak, and Carving Knife. Click on a sheet of glass and select “glass shard”, or break a window.

Fountain Pen: Used for Codex Cicatrix. Buy it from the CuraDrobe in the Curator's private quarters. Also found in command staff PDAs, calligraphy crates from cargo. Maintenance near the library/chapel (left of the mass driver) on Icebox. QM's desk/Curator's desk/Chaplain's desk on Kilo. Main security office on Meta. Curator's desk/Corporate Lounge on Delta.

Bible: Used for Codex Cicatrix. Many in the chapel. Also found in religious supplies crates from cargo.

Candle: Used for Mask of Madness and sometimes Ritual of Knowledge. Found in candle packs easily located in the chapel. Curator's private quarters and abandoned medbay room on Meta. Library and abandoned theater directly south of south-east solars on Delta.

Water Tank: Used for Priest's Ritual and Mawed Crucible. These are the big tanks of water that you can't pick up. Found in various places around the station. Look around maintenance, you'll definitely stumble upon one

Vomit: Used for Curse of Corrosion. Easiest way is to use the *spin emote until you get sick and throw up, assuming there's food in your stomach. Alternatively, get a monkey sick to its stomach in the place you want the rune to be. High-voltage power bars from the snack machines are a good, easy way of getting this to happen. Cable-cuffing the monkey is recommended to stop it from moving or attacking you.

Hatchet: Used for Curse of Paralysis. Found in the garden, NutriMax vending machine in hydroponics, botanist's lockers. Abandoned garden west of south-east solars on Icebox. Barricaded room in maint directly north of the xenobiology entrance on Meta.

Stun Baton: Used for Mask of Madness and sometimes Ritual of Knowledge. Found in security belts in the security closets in security (yeah). Could also break Beepsky for one. But why do any of that when you could just use… Gas Mask: Used for Armorer's Ritual. Found in fire closets around the station. Poppy/Harebell: Used for Imperfect Ritual and The Relentless Heartbeat, respectively. Found in the chapel. Make more by putting them in the seed generator in the garden. Lilies, spaceman's trumpets, geraniums, and fraxinellas can all be used in place of poppies.

Latex/Nitrile Gloves: Used for Shattered Ritual. Found in robotics, morgue, medical storage, security medpost/infirmary. Outside science and in virology on Tram. Abandoned kitchen and virology on Delta. Detective's office on Kilo and Delta. Genetics, cat surgeon's den north of Telecomms, and maint closet south-east of chemistry on Kilo. Virology on Meta.

Book: Used for Rusted Ritual and Ashen Ritual. Put three pieces of paper into a book binder (found in the library). Can also be found in various places around the station (not worth listing).

Camera: Used for Lionhunter's Rifle. Found in art storage and the curator's quarters or library. Bought from the Good Clean Fun vendor in the library (art storage on Kilo). There's also one in the detective's locker.

Wood: Used for Lionhunter's Rifle. Grow tower-cap mushrooms in the garden and use a hatchet on the harvested logs.

Ballistic gun: Used for Lionhunter's Rifle. There are many different options for this, with varying levels of difficulty to acquire. Ballistic ammo casing: Used for Lionhunter Rifle Ammunition. Requires three casings, spent or unspent. Foam unfortunately does not count. You can use the casings from the Lionhunter Rifle for this ritual, so it's recommended that you pick them up off the ground as you use the weapon.

Zipties: Sometimes used for Ritual of Knowledge. Found in Sec-Tech vendor, or more easily, obtained as a result of being arrested by Beepsky.

Bear Trap: Sometimes used for Ritual of Knowledge. Found in janitor's closet or made at the service lathe.

Circular Saw/Scalpel: Sometimes used for Ritual of Knowledge. Found in robotics, the surgery rooms in medbay, and the morgue. Can be made at the science and medical lathes.

Binoculars: Sometimes used for Ritual of Knowledge. Found in the detective's closet. Ordnance mass driver room on Delta, Icebox, and Meta.

Insulated Gloves: Sometimes used for Ritual of Knowledge. Found in tech storage and engineering, or bought in a goodie box from cargo for 400 credits.

Sunglasses: Sometimes used for Ritual of Knowledge. Found in security officer closets, such as the ones in the security offices across the station. Grab a sheet of metal and uranium, grind them up into separate beakers, and then put 1 to 5 units of one into the other while the beaker is on the same tile as the locker to unlock it. Be warned that there are flashes in the locker that will go off when EMPed.

Overview of heretic items

Amber Focus: Available via Amber Focus ritual that all heretics start with; requires only a pair of eyes and a sheet of glass. This is the most basic kind of focus, allowing you to cast your spells when worn in the neck slot. However, it also has a useful function in the form of the eye on the amulet blinking faster when getting close to an untapped influence, albeit only when worn. Recommended to have this on hand if you have no other focuses. Be warned that the worn sprite for this item is quite visible, although satchels help obscure it, and people don't always notice or comment on it.

Sickly Blade: The primary melee weapon of heretics. Deals 20 melee damage, has 35 armor penetration, and has a good chance to cause wounds. Can dismember and disembowel people after repeated attacks, and can be used to butcher dead monkeys, although these usually do not leave skin behind. Has a different name and appearance depending on the path you've taken, but its function is determined entirely based on which abilities you choose to learn. Be aware that you can only take one “mark” ability and one “blade” ability, but these do not have to be from the path you selected. See the general tips section above for more specific information.

Warm Eldritch Amulet: Obtained from Ashen Eyes ritual; requires a shard of glass, a pair of eyes, and a red candle. When worn, functions as a focus, and gives you thermal vision, allowing you to see living beings through walls and see better in the dark. Helps greatly with staying hidden and making plans to ambush targets.

Flask of Eldritch Essence: Obtained from Priest's Ritual; requires a water tank and a glass shard. A flask containing 50 units of eldritch potion, which heals heretics for all types of damage, and damages non-heretics for all types of damage, including brain damage. This is extremely potent as a poison, and putting it in a smoke grenade or a smoke machine can be massively deadly when used properly. Adding mute toxin to the smoke can make for a particularly nasty attack, but be warned that if you get muted you will be unable to use spells other than the Mansus Grasp until it is out of your system.

Void Cloak: Obtained from Void Cloak ritual; requires a glass shard, an outer clothing item (such as a labcoat or jacket), and any type of bedsheet. Worn on your outer clothing slot. When the hood is up, the cloak turns invisible, making it impossible for anyone to see it by examining or stripping you. When the hood is down, the cloak turns visible and functions as a focus. You can store a blade in the suit storage slot, and you can also hide up to three heretic items in the cloak itself and pull them out by clicking on the cloak, or by right clicking on it to see its inventory. Take the cloak off by clicking and dragging it into an empty hand. Good for stealth if you're worried about getting strip-searched and for catching people by surprise with your spells. It's also lightly armored (MELEE 30, BULLET 30, LASER 30, ENERGY 30, BOMB 15.)

Ominous Armor: Obtained from Armourer's Ritual; requires a built table and a gasmask. Worn on your outer clothing slot. When the hood is up, it functions as a focus. You can store a blade in the suit storage slot. Very armored; essentially halves most damage sources. Fantastic for a heretic who wants to go loud, especially when going for a security target. (MELEE 50, BULLET 50, LASER 50, ENERGY 50, BOMB 35, BIO 20, FIRE 20, ACID 20.)

Mask of Madness: Obtained from Mask of Madness ritual; requires any mask, four candles, a liver, and a stun baton/stunprod. When worn, all non-heretics who can see it will begin laughing uncontrollably, swiftly losing sanity and stamina, as well as beginning to hallucinate. This is an incredibly strong item for dealing with crowds; although it won't exactly stunlock people, it will slow them down enough to make it much easier to outmaneuver them, and will occasionally cause people to collapse from stamina loss. Also, if you force a non-heretic to wear it, they will be unable to take it off.

Carving Knife: Obtained from Carving Knife ritual; requires a knife, a glass shard, and a piece of paper. A small knife that deals 10 melee damage and 20 thrown damage, with a good chance to embed. However, its main purpose is carving runes on the ground. There are three different types of carving: alert, grasping, and mad, which each have different effects when a non-heretic walks on them. Three carvings can be active at once. The knife can also remove carvings.
Mawed Crucible: Obtained from Mawed Crucible ritual; requires a water tank and a built table. A structure which can be used to obtain special heretic potions. There are three different types of potion: crucible soul, dusk and dawn, and wounded soldier. After each use of the crucible, five bodyparts or organs must be fed to it, which will make eating noises. The crucible can be unwrenched and wrenched by using the Mansus Grasp or Codex Cicatrix on it. Lionhunter's Rifle: Obtained from Lionhunter's Rifle ritual; requires any ballistic weapon, hide from any animal, a piece of wood, and a camera. A bulky rifle that can be worn on the back. Has three shots which pass through solid objects and deal 30 damage and 30 stamina damage. When fired on a target from more than four tiles away, the projectile will do 40 damage, 60 stamina damage, add a 0.5 second knockdown, 6 second stutter, and home in on the target. However, the user will have to spend time aiming, during which they cannot move and the target will see an aiming reticle on them. The time it takes to aim increases with distance. By right-clicking, the user can scope in, allowing them to see farther, but this is hard as fuck to aim with. Needless to say, this weapon is very good with thermal vision or x-ray vision, but hard to conceal. You must use the gun in-hand twice to be able to fire it again - once to eject the casing, and once to drop the bolt. Remember to pick up the casings so you can use them to make more ammo.

Overview of heretic spells

Aside from the Mansus Grasp every heretic starts with, using heretic spells requires the heretic to be wearing one of the following focus items: Amber Focus, Warm Eldritch Amulet, Void Cloak (with hood down), and Eldritch Robes (with hood up). Heretic spells will not affect other heretics or heretic monsters (including ghouls).

Ashen Passage: 15 second cooldown. A jaunt spell, meaning it makes you dissolve into the ground and become invisible and intangible for a short period of time, allowing you to walk through solid objects. It has a very short duration, generally only allowing you to walk through one set of walls. For best results, start holding down the movement keys as soon as you activate the spell. After the spell ends, it takes 3 seconds for you to fully appear on the tile, during which people will be able to see you reforming, but unable to interact with you. If the spell ends while you're inside a wall, it will attempt to bump you back out onto the last open tile you crossed over. Be extra careful around glass tables, as if you land on one, it will break underneath you, stunning you.

Blood Siphon: 15 second cooldown. Despite what the in-game description says, this is actually a ranged spell, usable on anyone on-screen. When used on a person, it deals 20 brute damage and lowers blood volume by 20, while also healing you for 20 brute damage and restoring your blood volume by 20. For each wound you have, there is also a 50% chance of transferring that wound to the target. Overall, this is a good option for keeping you on your feet, although it doesn't help with burn damage.

Void Phase: 30 second cooldown. A targeted blink spell with a range of 3 - 9 tiles away. When used, teleports you near the targeted tile and creates a 3x3 black pulse around you, dealing 40 brute damage to every non-heretic in the blast radius. When you use it, make sure to click on a tile or object, not a mob - if you click on a mob, it won't damage that mob for whatever reason (there's a specific check for this in the code and I have no idea why it works that way.) Note that the teleport isn't perfectly accurate, and you will usually teleport to a tile adjacent to the one you're clicked on. This is one of the strongest heretic spells, and can be devastating when used against a group of people.

Aggressive Spread: 30 second cooldown. Randomly rusts floors and walls within a range of 3 tiles away from the user. The chance of a floor or wall being rusted decreases the farther away the tile is from the user. Already rusted walls will be destroyed. This is pretty good when combined with Leeching Walk, which makes you regenerate while standing on top of rusted tiles. It's also pretty good for breaking into areas, although it's not stealthy at all other than not leaving fingerprints. Wooden tiles cannot be rusted.

Nightwatcher's Rebirth: 60 second cooldown. On use, extinguishes you and deals 20 burn damage to every living burning player within a range of 7 tiles, healing you by 10 of each damage type (including stamina) for every player affected. If a burning player is in critical condition, this spell will instantly kill them, making this a powerful option for dealing with groups if you have a reliable way of setting people on fire, such as the Fiery Blade ability or a flamethrower.

Cleave: 35 second cooldown. Range of 9 tiles. Deals 20 burn damage to the target and applies a critical slash wound to a random body part. Also affects anyone within 1 tile of the target. Does not affect people who have anti-magic. The lingering damage caused by bleeding can be very effective in slowing down targets. Pairs well with blood siphon.

Void Pull: 40 second cooldown. AOE spell that pulls everyone within a 7 tile radius closer to you by 3 tiles. If they're within 3 tiles away from you, this stuns them for .5 seconds and knocks them down for 3 seconds. If they're within 1 tile away from you, this also deals 30 brute damage to them. A pretty good option for disarming groups of people, or knocking someone down so you can use the Mansus Grasp on them. Using Void Pull and then Void Phase is a good way of quickly getting away from people.

Furious Steel: 30 second cooldown. Summons an orbital ring of three knives around the user. These knives don't deal contact damage, but will completely block any attack, ranged or melee, once per knife. Additionally, you can click on anything on screen with an empty hand in order to throw one of these knives, dealing 25 brute damage and completely piercing armor, with a high chance of causing wounds as well. This is a very powerful spell that has both an offensive and defensive function, giving it great versatility. You can click on the spell again to dispel it, and each knife that hasn't been used up yet will reduce the cooldown by 10 seconds.

Entropic Plume: 30 second cooldown. Creates a cool-looking green plume that travels in a cone up to 5 tiles away from you in the direction you cast it in. Rusts every floor and wall it hits. Non-heretics will become enraged, attacking random non-heretics/non-monsters in sight for 10 seconds. Additionally, this poisons affected targets with eldritch potion (which gradually deals all types of damage as well as brain damage) and blinds them. The amount of poison increases the closer the target is to the caster, and the duration of blindness increases the farther the target is away from the caster.

Superb ghouls and goblins (monsters)

Various heretic rituals allow you to summon monsters or turn dead players into ghouls. Summoning a monster will poll all ghosts asking if they want to play as the monster. Ghouls will be controlled by the player whose dead body you're using.

Raw Prophet: Summoned with Raw Ritual. Requires eyes, a left arm, and a pool of blood. Raw Prophets are good scouts, able to spy on the crew and communicate information via long-range telepathic networks. They also have a hilarious walk animation. Max health is 65. Deals 5-10 melee damage, plus 5 if the mob it's attacking is the same as the last mob it attacked. Flesh Stalker: Summoned with Lonely Ritual. Requires a tail, stomach, tongue, pen, and a piece of paper. A decently fast shapeshifter with thermal vision, and quite a fearsome and sneaky combatant. Max health is 150. Deals 15-20 melee damage while in its true form. Rust Walker: Summoned with Rusted Ritual. Requires a vomit pool, a head, and a book. Has meson vision and regenerates when on top of rusted tiles. More situationally useful than the other monsters; if the heretic has Leeching Walk or other rust powers, it's a very helpful support unit. Especially strong for ascended Rust heretics. Makes a horrifying noise when it moves around. Max health is 75. Deals 15-20 melee damage. Ash Man: Summoned with Ashen Ritual. Requires a pile of ash, a head, and a book. Has meson vision. Max health is 75. Deals 15-20 melee damage. Maid in the Mirror: Summed with Maid in the Mirror. Requires five sheets of titanium, armor, a flash, and lungs. A ghostly-looking figure with x-ray vision, able to travel through the world incorporeally through reflective surfaces such as windows and mirrors. Not as physically powerful as the other monsters, but its ability allows it to go virtually anywhere on the station completely unseen and ambush targets. Max health is 80. Deals 12-16 melee damage. Examining it will damage the Maid in the Mirror for 10% of its max health, but each person can only do this once every 10 seconds.