I turned to the endless sea of misty water beyond the edge of the cliff. Whatever tiny little island we are on is clearly miles away from any civilization. There is nothing here, just bleakness and mist. Upon my questioning, a spirit appeared and gestured to a white gate just a short distance away. I looked towards it, and could see that it was glowing with an earthly, natural light. Familiar, like the sun, but painless to peer into. As I did, the formless entity spoke to me.
"There is the gateway to your world. Where you came from. There is the place that you have called home for all of your known life. That is not where you are now."
It then motioned afar, to a green gate which formless shapes swirled upwards into its own stream of light.
"There is the gateway to our world. Where you are meant to go."
I turned to the spirit. I was confused, lost for words. After some thought, I am able to surmise that I must be dead. It appears that my soul has been separated from my body and now I've found myself here.
"Why?" I questioned the creature with a pang of fear in my voice. It did not respond. Silently, I stared at it in confusion. without an answer, I was looking between the two gates. I had a choice, but the spirit had told me to go through the green gate. Why was I presented with such a pointless dilemma?
It was then that the spirit finally spoke, in its usual cold and uncaring way, "It is the way of things. Know the consequences of your choice."
I thought about what it had said for a moment, and then, pensively walked towards the green gate, stopping in front of it. The spirit waited with eternal patience. I then extended my hand, slowly, glancing towards the creature one more time, before shoving my hand through the swirls of green.
Part Two - The Realm of the Dead and What Happens When I Die?
As you may have guessed, The Realm of the Dead is an actual area which you are able to access while playing on Last Light. Actually, it's a set of many areas, all interconnected in their own ways. While largely the Realm of the Dead is almost a direct mirror of The World of the Living, there are some differences. Familiar places seem to bring back a sense of deja-vu, but also seem incredibly surreal... and... different.
When you die/are killed in the game world, this area in the screenshot is where you are brought to. You have two choices; the white gate leads directly back in game. This is the Gateway to Life. The green gate leads into the Realm of the Dead, The Gateway to Death. No matter which choice you pick, it is not final.
However, there is a catch. Let me elaborate.
Passing Through the Veil
The act of passing through The Veil is called Deadwalking. This is simply when moving through "the barrier" we talked about before. You may see this term when you are coming across other lore for Last Light, so keep it in mind. When you Deadwalk, it is includes either passing through the veil in either direction, Life to Death or Death to Life; it doesn't matter. Deadwalking will drain your character's Soul Vitality, which is the strength of his or her soul. The lower your character's Soul Vitality, the weaker your character will be in either realm
. This weakness is depicted with stat penalties which only go away when Soul Vitality increases.
Soul Vitality is a finite resource, so they say, in that it can run low and eventually run out. Your character begins at 100% Soul Vitality and each time you Deadwalk it drains down by a portion. The portion is dependent on things such as character level and items/feats that might give bonuses/penalties, as well as other factors that may be more area-specific.
Achieving a Soul Vitality of 0 is somewhat difficult to do in our game world. However, it isn't impossible. It is effectively a "permanent death", your soul is too weak to exist any longer and dissipates. You want to try and avoid this. It is not usually something that you yourself can inflict upon your character, it is a combination of many different factors. The most likely culprit is many repeated deaths over a short period of time with no effort to restore the vitality you lost. For characters that are able to Deadwalk on a whim, this can also be very dangerous; try to avoid overdoing it.
Restoring Soul Vitality is actually fairly easy, and there are a handful of ways to do so.
- Epic Level Clerics can restore Soul Vitality if they invest in the ability to do so. More on this later.
- Many relic items can have effects on your Soul Vitality. Some improve it, others hinder it, some can restore Soul Vitality by expending a charge (so you might run the risk of destroying the item) but those are some examples.
- Souls. This is a big one. Souls are actually something you can "farm", in that you can actually withdraw a soul from certain creatures that you kill in the game world, and these creatures can exist in either the Realm of the Dead, or in the World of the Living. Some spells or items can also help you extract Souls. You can get them with other means as well, such as Soul Trading, which allows you to actually BUY souls, with either experience points or even gold. You can then even trade these souls with your fellow players. Your fellow characters can even extract pieces of their soul to give to you, which costs them Soul Vitality, but hey, Jolly Cooperation!
- Other methods may be added over time, such as craftable items.
So there you have it, it's actually not difficult to restore your Soul Vitality. In certain cases, it can be costly or time consuming (and you have the power to choose).
The Gateway to Life
Upon entering this gateway, you immediately are respawned into the world of the living. Again, Deadwalking costs you Soul Vitality, so when you take this method, your Vitality will drain a little more. This leaves you weakened and closer to ultimate destruction if you don't try to restore your Vitality through the means mentioned above.
The Gateway will take you to a Headstone. No, not necessarily a literal headstone, a Headstone. Headstones are places where Life and Death touch. Headstones usually stand out as they are typically found in areas where there is a lot of constant mist/fog. Spirits are more active in these places, and areas like these are often unusually serene and peaceful, with a surreal feeling to them.
The Headstone your character will wake up in is random unless you've visited a Headstone in the past, in which case it will take you to the Headstone that you've bound yourself to.
The Gateway to Death
This gateway, on the other hand, takes you deeper in to the Realm of the Dead. Once you do, you have several areas you can explore, but you do not
gain experience while in them. This is because the realm of the dead is a place of forgetfulness, and any memories you keep from Deadwalking are usually hazy and confusing. Thus, characters who die, while they may eventually return to the world of the living, don't often come back stronger without other factors influencing it.
Creatures in the Realm of the Dead do not drop loot, but many of them have a chance of dropping a usable Soul. You can keep this when you Deadwalk to the other side or you can consume it immediately. Consuming a soul gives you a portion of Soul Vitality back based on the size/power of the soul.
Since the Realm of the Dead is actually explorable, you are able to roleplay here as well. You can find Headstones n the Realm of the Dead that will take you back to the World of the Living. Headstones are linked together, so you might find a cemetery in the Realm of the Dead that links back to a cemetery that looks quite similar in the World of the Living. How strange!