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The ghul is a base djinni, a thing of fear, of trickery and shadow, dwelling in the deep places of the world. When it scents human flesh, it digs through the sand to the world above to snare the unwary traveller.

Harvesters, also and more commonly known as Ghouls (alternatively spelled Ghûl), are the main enemies encountered in Amnesia: Rebirth and Amnesia: The Bunker, attacking the games' respective protagonists, Tasi Trianon and Henri Clément, at any chance they get. These creatures were once human but were transformed into monstrosities, being created in the otherworldly dimension in which Empress Tihana presides.

Description[]

Appearance[]

Ghoul cutout

A typical ancient Harvester

Harvesters, especially those created centuries ago, somewhat resemble corpses, although they are still alive when transformed and are durable to many kinds of damage. They grow to around twice the size of an average human, but have an unnaturally slender figure which makes it easy for them to crawl through the tight tunnels they burrow. Bulging veins cover most of their bodies, seeming spreading from the eyes in the early stages of the transformation, but reach down to the entire body in time.

Their skin appears to weaken and become susceptible to wounds and cuts, especially in the extremities. Thus, they typically have exposed muscle and sinew on their hands and arms, and lower legs and feet. Although the exposed flesh does little to diminish their strength. Ghouls' teeth grow unnaturally sharp and are uneven, ripping through their lips and cheeks to create a maw. Their bite-marks apparently resemble the those of other carnivores enough that their attacks are frequently mistaken for animal attacks (such as a lion, jackal, or hyena).

Over a longer period of time, possibly over decades or even centuries, their soft tissues start to deteriorate, such as their lips and the cartilage from their ears and nose.

Regeneration and Durability[]

Harvesters, despite their generally lanky, emaciated state, are incredibly durable and strong. Their potent regenerative abilities can heal them from damage that would maim or even kill a normal human being. The still-transforming Tasi Trianon is able to survive long falls, rib-breaking injuries, and an underground river. While other ghouls (such as Augustin Lambert) can survive and regenerate from gunshots, grenades, gas, burns, and being run through.

How those still in the transformational stages, or how much overall damage they can take before dying is unclear.[1] However, it appears the Shadow can put an end to their misery.

Personality and Behavior[]

Ghouls are sadistic, erratic, and strong, able to break metal bars and walls to reach their prey. Ghouls have animalistic, predatory personalities, stalking and attacking any human that comes their way. In the earlier stages of corruption one is able to demonstrate their human personality in a mix of anger, hunger, fear and despair as it was demonstrated by Leon De Vries, Yasmin Chabani, and Hank Mitchell.

Despite actively hunting and having a sadistic nature to humans and animals, when it comes to their own kind, ghouls are surprisingly social. They appear to nest together in large colonies and even work together when dealing with superior numbers of humans. It even appears that they play pranks on each other. However, ghouls still wrestling with the transformation have fatally attacked other ghouls in their emotional and erratic state, seen by how Hank and Tasi both killed Malick Tamboura and Dr. Anton Metzier respectively in transformative episodes, despite the fact both men were also Harvesters (although in the latent stage of the transformation).

Intelligence[]

Compared to the Gatherers from The Dark Descent or the Manpigs from A Machine for Pigs, Ghouls have higher intelligence and cognitive function. They can sense the player when they throw objects from the opposite direction. Additionally, the former companions of Tasi who turn into Ghouls are still able to recognize her, speak coherently, and consciously blame her for their condition.

Purpose[]

The "task" of the Harvester is to extract pain and suffering from humans, which they then deposit into devices that ultimately procure Vitae. They were under the service of Empress Tihana and her alchemists, and served the Otherworlder civilization for vitae they desired for maintaining the civilization, as well as Tihana's health and immortality.

They seem to be trained by overseers (such as Kharangi) in The Hunting Grounds before they started their service.[2][3] They seem to need a stalking time of more than "30 idar" for accumulation of enough vitae in the victims.[2]

It is possible that with the introduction of the torture chambers and automation of the vitae extraction process, Harvesters became somewhat obsolete for torture, and instead likely served to capture vessels and serve in other roles for the Empire, such as for warfare and construction.

Origins and Presence[]

Origins and the Transformation Catalyst[]

Hologram image Ghoul

The Otherworlder glyph which represented Harvesters.

It is unknown how and when Otherworlders purposely created and began using Harvesters, but it almost certain that they have been employed ever since humanity came into existence.

It is not clear how the alchemists invented/discovered the transformation liquid; however, it was stated in a Q&A by the creative lead of both Amnesia: Rebirth and Amnesia: The Bunker, Fredrik Olsson, that the typical substance used by the alchemists was purposely concentrated and had a certain chemistry so that a uniform and standard type of transformation would result, whereas the substance seen in Amnesia: The Bunker came from a rift, possibly being naturally occurring, whereupon it mixed with Earth's natural substances and changed the Harvester liquid.[4]

The liquid itself has a similar consistency to water, but is described as having a sweet, crisp taste, almost to the point of revulsion.[5] Other than humans the liquid is able to transform rats into Harvester-like versions of themselves, suggesting at least mammals are susceptible to transformation.

Some possible inspirations for the transformative liquid can be found in Greek and other Indo-European mythologies.[6] Nectar, paired with ambrosia, is the food/drink of the Greek gods.[6] It was described as a sweet liquid, one that when humans partook, it restored health and conferred immortality, making them "unkillable."[6]

Range[]

Ghouls have at least one domain on Earth where they are heavily concentrated, that being a portion of the Algerian desert where the Otherworlders developed a strong presence. There is a large concentration of nesting sites at the Tomb of Tin Hinan and in the surrounding/connected complexes, such as the Hunting Grounds, the Catacombs, and the Chamber of Pillars. They also spread to the nearby network of caves in the surrounding area. In 1929, they colonized the nearby Al-Mamaru Fort and its cistern complex, due to the disturbance caused by excavation efforts of the French garrison.

There was also a transformative fountain in northern France as well as a gladiatorial arena. However, it appears that there were no active ghouls in the area as of 1916.

Transformation Process[]

Latent Stage[]

Transformation-step1

Hank experiencing the first symptom of the transformation

The transformation begins almost immediately after a subject drinks the transformative liquid. The first effects are the potent regenerative abilities, which take effect almost immediately and can return someone on the brink of death to full health in mere minutes, as seen by James Henry Mitchell’s near immediate recovery from his mortal injury. Other immediate effects are a loss of certain physiological needs, such as thirst and normal hunger; for example, Tasi described feeling revulsion towards drinking some water while in the fort, despite the fact she should have been thirsty. While in this latent stage, the subjects have no visible differences from other human beings in appearance, and otherwise have few differences from them apart from what was listed above.

However, despite the immediate regenerative capabilities, it appears that latent-stage Harvesters are not immune to immediately-fatal damage like their more corrupted brethren.[1] For example, Malick Tamboura was killed by Hank during a scuffle, and despite being in the latent stage did not regenerate over the next few days before Tasi finds his corpse.[1] Furthermore, the substantially-transformed Leon De Vries speculates on whether or not Tasi's transformation has progressed enough to make killing her impossible as he hunts her.[1]

Corruption Stage[]

As time wears on, the more invasive symptoms of the Harvester transformation begin to effect the subject. The most prominent of which are black veins that creep into the skin around the eyes and into the eyes themselves, slightly obscuring the victim's vision and growing with the individual's negative emotional states–namely fear, anguish, and pain. In this stage, the subject’s physical appearance and temperament is still relatively human, but the corruption begins to take hold.

Should a subject experience enough fear or anger, the black veins begin to try and overtake a subject’s conscious mind. A subject can slow the process by resisting, but eventually the veins will overtake them and cause transformative episodes, which are characterized by black-outs along with generalized short term amnesia. As these episodes occur, the physical transformation grows more and more pronounced, going from hardly noticeable to unmistakable. Subjects become unnaturally slender which makes it easy for them to crawl through the tight tunnels Harvesters usually burrow. Bulging veins cover most of their bodies, seeming spreading from the eyes in the early stages of the transformation, but reach down to the entire body.

Their skin show exposed flesh in its most prevalent body parts such as the mouth, upper arms, and calves to feet. Subjects teeth grow unnaturally sharp and are uneven, ripping through their lips and cheeks to create a maw. Their bite-marks apparently resemble the those of other carnivores enough that their attacks are frequently mistaken for animal attacks, such as hyenas.

Final Stage[]

An increasing "hunger" follows that is never satisfied by killing or eating, and this hunger and the loss of one’s sense of self and humanity eventually makes the subject uncontrollable, at which point the mental transformation is virtually complete. However, Harvesters still can have instances of reminiscence on what and who they once were, although this is very rare and only occurs for strong memories.

The physical transformation appears to take place over the same amount of time as the mental transformation, as the subject goes from looking like an ordinary human to the final stage. It includes the aforementioned growth of black veins throughout the body, a loss of body hair, a loss of melanin in both skin and irises (the latter of which eventually turn red or black), an uneven growth of teeth that permanently rip open the subject's lips and cheeks, and a massive loss of body fat combined together with a massive growth in overall size and height.

Length[]

The transformation process appears to be an extremely volatile and variable process, differing for each subject depending on their experiences and personalities. Depending on the factors, the transformation can be slowed or hastened by a matter of days, if not weeks.

It appears that experiencing feelings of intense fear or incurring injuries hastens the transformation process, as seen by how various people further transform whenever they incur injuries or succumbs to fear. An example of a hastened transformation via injury is seen by how quickly Hank Mitchell succumbed when he drank the transformation liquid. Mitchell was severely wounded and was essentially on death's door at the time of exposure, he began having transformative episodes very soon after, most probably within an hour. An example of a hastened transformation as a result of extreme fear is Leon De Vries' experience, he found himself inside the dark Hunting Grounds and was surrounded by other Harvesters, succumbing to fear and his already existing anger frequently. Of the five living expedition members who drank the Harvester liquid, both Mitchell and De Vries are by far the furthest along in their transformations.

However, there are also ways to slow down the transformation process. One way is for a subject to keep their head clear and try and clear their mind or think about something else, for example Tasi Trianon is able to maintain her sense of self and lower her fear and anger level by talking to herself, imagining she is talking to her as of then unborn child. Additionally, one other the subject to avoid darkness and remain in the light, which is another method Tasi employs to retain her sanity. It appears taking drugs like Laudanum, which can calm a person, also help slow the transformation, which is seen in Tasi's experience, but more notably with Dr. Anton Metzier and Yasmin Chabani, both of whom managed to reach help at the village of Aman Tesemt, where Dr. Metzier had the necessary laudanum for himself and Yasmin. While Hank and Leon are nearing their transformation's completion, Yasmin is still of a human size even when she loses control and slaughters the village, and Metzier is remarkably still in the latent stage.

In Augustin Lambert’s transformation with the altered liquid, the transformation took around nine days before he finally lost his mind.[4] He had transformation episodes during nights and each time he became to his senses during daytimes, he didn't remember what he had done the night before.

Presence in Rebirth[]

After the crash of the Cassandra, a contingent of the expedition is contacted by the Empress at the oasis, the members that followed her were: Tasi Trianon, Hank Mitchell, Dr. Anton Metzier, Yasmin Chabani, Leon De Vries, and Malick Tamboura. She offers them aid, but only if Tasi stays and gives up up her unborn child. When Tasi refused, the Empress says she cannot to save them but offers them aid nonetheless, telling them to drink water from the fountain inside her tower, which she claims will heal them and sustain them in the unforgiving Algerian desert. The water heals Hank's mortal injury, leaving them astonished, and so they all drink from the fountain as well. Thus, all six unknowingly become Harvesters. They do not realize their grim future and the properties of the water, soon inflicting them with the ravages of the transformation. Darkness lingers and grows on their eyes, fear and anger arise, and a sense of humanity slowly degrades—this transformation is evident by Leon’s notes and Tasi’s drawings of Hank. The Ghouls encountered out through Tasi's journey are evidence of the Other World’s use of humans, whom they used to satisfy their vitae needs.

Presence in The Bunker[]

Apart from some physical differences, the nature of Augustin Lambert’s transformation into and behavior as Beast is near identical to that of a Harvester. And the catalyst for his transformation, drinking an Otherworldy liquid, was almost identical to how the Cassandra crew were turned into Harvesters.

Once Henri Clément reaches the Roman Tunnels, ghostly silhouettes of Ghouls can be seen walking about. These encounters are purely aesthetic, and cannot be interacted with in any way. The apparitions, in turn, show no reaction to Henri.

Notable victims[]

Amnesia "the Bunker"[]

Amnesia "Rebirth"[]

Notable Ghouls[]

Gameplay Information[]

Encounters[]

Following the first encounter within the Fortress, areas where Ghouls are often found can be identified by one of several things. Firstly, the presence of a lot of gore and muck in the general area, followed by a room that is typically dimly lit. Secondly, one can see the presence of holes in the wall, which Ghouls use to get to multiple places in the map to get a jump on the player. Lastly, one can readily identify if a Ghoul encounter is about to happen by the presence of glowing, greenish-white fungi-like plants in the area, just right before a Ghoul encounter will be triggered, such as the Cistern and the Chamber of Pillars.

Ghouls, both hostile and non-hostile, appear in the following locations of Amnesia: Rebirth:

  • The Cave (visual)
  • The Fortress (first hostile encounter)
    • The first ghoul encounter will only appear after reaching the radio room. All the encounters where he appears before then are purely visual, such as him closing the door within the cannon room and him crawling through the windows in the hallways. When Tasi loses contact with the doctor, that is when the ghoul will smash the previously barricaded door leading to the quartermasters room wide open. The ghoul will start to chase the player once Tasi reached a door blocked by a few bags of millet, forcing Tasi to run through the hall and out through the quartermaster's front door. When the player returns to the Fortress in order to obtain saltpeter, the Ghoul will stay around the quartermaster's room until provoked.
  • The Cistern
    • This ghoul will first be encountered once the player opens a crank wheel which opens a door into a dimly lit room, where an ominous greenish-white light emits from down another hallway. When the player walks halfway down the corridor towards the light, the Ghoul will emerge from a hole in the left wall. The only way to bypass him is to hide behind the tables and wooden walls until it passes into another wall on the other side of the room.
    • The second ghoul encounter will happen once the player opens a second wheel crank. Upon entering, the rooms within are filled with large amounts of gore and is very dimly lit. The ghoul will only appear once the player comes close to the greenish-white light, emerging from a hole on the right side of stairway walls. The best way to bypass this ghoul is to simply wrap around the room and then either sneak down the staircase or run down. Once downstairs, another group of rooms filled with gore can be seen. You can either sneak again through the rooms or simply run right into the vents to escape the ghoul.
    • During the chase scene through the sewers, Tasi will encounter the Ghoul multiple times during the player's escape.
  • The Chamber of Pillars (optional)
    • This ghoul is only encountered if the player decides to enter the doorway located within the right side of the pillars. This room is fairly linear but has a room which loops around the hallway. The ghoul will spawn if Tasi decides to go down the hall towards a dead end where the body of one of the excavation team can be found.
  • The Hunting Grounds (including Leon De Vries)
    • A subatntially-transformed Leon De Vries, will spawn once the player moves down a long corridor which leads to a dead end. When Tasi turns around, Leon will attack the player but this is scripted and a short cutscene will play. After Leon drops Tasi, the player will be hunted through the maze until Tasi can reach the door and lock it.
    • A second Ghoul can be seen torturing Richard Fairchild in one of the rooms locked from the outside by a door. When the player opens it, the Ghoul will make its way behind Richard towards a room where he appears to be eating a corpse. Tasi can easily sneak towards the door and lock the Ghoul inside, allowing the player to rescue Richard before he betrays them.
  • The Catacombs
    • The catacombs will have the largest number of Ghoul encounters within the game.
    • The first Ghoul can be heard up ahead after crawling through the tunnels, but it won't see the player unless provoked.
    • The player will encounter its second Ghoul after entering a room with another glowing white light. The Ghoul will be sleeping, so the player has the choice of either sneaking through him or taking a door which leads to a room on the right. There will be multiple rooms and door within this chamber, which will lead either to dead ends or rooms filled with more ghouls. The only way through is by following the glowing lights towards a hallway.
    • A third Ghoul will be blocking the path onward. Sneaking through him will always cause it to wake up, so instead the player can try to open a hole blocked by wood on the left side of the doorway. However, upon clearing the debris, the small hole collapses and the Ghouls will wake up. The player has the choice to silently backtrack through the rooms in order to lose the Ghouls or distract it by throwing objects through a hole located on the opposite side of the collapsed hole, making the ghouls investigate and giving you a chance to sneak through.
    • After taking a breather in one of the Roman rooms, when the player opens a locked door, Tasi will encounter a whole nest of Ghouls. Fortunately, most of them are asleep and the encounters here are scripted. Sneak through the sleeping Ghoul, making sure to try to keep your distance. Wait when you see one of the Ghouls crawling up a pillar, and then continue on until another Ghouls begins to get up and look around. Take a few steps back and wait until the Ghoul opens a door which leads to your escape.
    • After crawling through another tunnel, a Ghoul will jump down and break the table right in front of you before slowly makings it way to the next room with the statue where it sits next to another Ghoul.
    • The chase scene will involve multiple Ghouls bursting through vents or doors.
  • The Portal Chamber (after returning from The Catacombs)
    • A ghoul will run towards Tasi after she finishes turning the second elevated crank wheel. Fortunately, if the player jumps out of the stairs in time, the Ghoul will be killed by the shadow instead.
  • The Lower Factory (non-hostile, visual)
  • The Town (Yasmin Chabani, Anton Metzier)
  • The Tower (Hank Mitchell, Anton Metzier)
  • The Throne Room (Anton Metzier)

Ghouls appear in the following locations of Amnesia: The Bunker:


Behavior[]

Ghouls act similarly to many enemies in previous games. Typically, they walk around a certain area for sometime, but unlike previous enemies, can sense where the player generally is by sniffing their "fear."

Strategy[]

Similarly to how staring at monsters drops sanity in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, staring at Ghouls will induce fear. According to Tasi, these enemies can sense her fear. This is implied by the inhaling, sniffing sounds of Ghouls that can be heard if the player is close enough. With these senses, they are able to follow the player, even if they have never seen or heard the player. These characteristics make Ghouls more dangerous than Gatherers and the Manpigs. Therefore, they should not be taken lightly and the player needs to be cautious about the surroundings.

It is best to keep an open ear for their periodic growls and footsteps for when they roam. Always study your surroundings, scout them with caution and have a plan to hide whenever you get spotted, lose them in the process as well to ensure you're completely safe. Never look at them especially when hiding, increasing fear will make it easier for them to find you.

Trivia and Speculation[]

  • Ghouls might have been the basis for Alexander to create Gatherers.[speculation] Their purpose is the same (harvesting Vitae from the victims) and their transformations are very similar (drinking a "contaminated" liquid).
  • It is unclear whether the transformation is always inevitable, as Tasi Trianon can appear differently in the Paris ending depending on how far her transformation has progressed.
  • The fountain in Back Hall possibly contain the liquid required for the Ghoul transformation.[speculation] Since Alexander gave "wine" to Wilhelm and his men, which transformed them into Gatherers, fountain is likely to contain an improvised transformation liquid (Alexander may very well brought the liquid from here). Since Daniel doesn't drink the fountain's liquid during Amnesia: The Dark Descent, so nothing happens to him. This is why there is no definitive conclusion about the contents of this fountain's liquid (whether it contains the transformation liquid).

Gallery[]

Video[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dialogue (Rebirth) – Leon: "Maybe it’s already too late. Or maybe I could end it… but why should I? You brought us to this. You made us this. I won’t let it on be easy on you… I can smell the taint in you… I can see the change your eyes… It won’t take long now. Then we’ll be the same… Together, hey, Tasi. How does that sound? We can play happy families till the world fucking ends!"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hunting Note (Rebirth)
  3. Cylinder: Hunting Grounds (Rebirth)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Amnesia: The Bunker | Developer Q&A - PART 2." Youtube, Frictional Games, Accessed 12 June 2024, Uploaded 11 June 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBTzhJpC9Ig
  5. Lambert's Journal – Part 1 (The Bunker)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Ambrosia." Accessed 19 November 2023. Last revised 5 October 2023. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrosia.

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