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Between a variety of magical, blessed, and silvered weapons we have enough ways of killing it. The problem is that upon killing it we must dispel it or it will just come back. The party has a ranger and someone who can use open essence lists. If there is something that one of those two can do, what level do they have to be to do it? If they cant do anything, then more generally how does one go about dispelling a wight?

Update 1: Through the course of play, the true answer to this question should make itself known (for better or worse) within the next 1-2 months. I will check back then and figure out who had the correct answer.

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I cannot claim that this is a definitive rules based answer since I mislaid my MERP rules many, many years ago.

However, when I played in a MERP session at a convention in the 1980s the way to permanently destroy the Barrow Wight was to select a single treasure for each player and leave the rest in a pile. This is sort of consistent with what Tom Bombadil described in the book (The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 8 Fog on the Barrow-Downs):

... Tom went up to the mound, and looked through the treasures. Most of these he made into a pile that glistened and sparkled on the grass. He bade them lie there 'free to all finders, birds, beasts, Elves or Men, and all kindly creatures'; for so the spell of the mound should be broken and scattered and no Wight ever come back to it.

Note that this implies that it will prevent another Wight from claiming the mound; not that it will prevent the original one from reforming but I suppose that's close enough.

Naturally, being greedy little sods we noticed that one of us had some Boots of Speed or some such and he ran off to Minas Tirith, flogged the treasure for cash and met up with the others to split the loot. We won first prize for completing the scenario but came dead last for role playing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was under the impression that taking a single item was the precausion to take to avoid being cursed, not to dispelling. As to the passage from the book, we really need to dispell the existing wight not prevent a new one from arriving. \$\endgroup\$ – Soldier of Vol Aug 15 '16 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ If "no wight ever come back to it" is the effect, then that would prevent both reforming, returning, and any latter claimants. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Aug 15 '16 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good in-world answer. Although Tom Bombadil is a special case and whatever he does should be taken with a pinch of salt. He could well be Ilúvatar so might have sudo access to the world to fix things… \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Aug 16 '16 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ The entry for Wights in the MERP book pretty much agrees with Dale/Tom B's answer to the Wight problem here; "The only way to permanantly kill a Wight is to kill it physically, open the grave it inhabits, and spread the graves contents out for all passersby to take and thus scatter. If this is not done, the grave will quickly be reinhabited by another similar Wight." \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Aug 17 '16 at 0:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank all of you guys for rallying around this question, it is so hard to get good MERP advice nowadays. I will check back after the wight fight, or sooner if possible, and select ( or post if necessary) whatever the correct answer is. \$\endgroup\$ – Soldier of Vol Aug 17 '16 at 2:52
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The MERP book agrees with Dale M where it specifies on the Wight entry how to destroy a Barrow Wight permanently.

The only way to permanently kill a Wight is to kill it physically, open the grave it inhabits, and spread the graves contents out for all passersby to take and thus scatter. If this is not done, the grave will quickly be reinhabited by another similar Wight.

This is the base answer from the book as far as ICE is concerned. Of course there may be changes in your own game to confirm to canon as noted by Sardarthrion by your GM so it may be well worth finding a Sage or Loremaster to confirm the above information (and/or find it out IC as well!)

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What follows is an in-game explanation with a heavy dose of speculation on my part. However, most of that speculation is not just mine… In short, you cannot permanently destroy a wraith created using any Rings of Power as long as the One Ring exists.

The Barrow Wights are undead wraiths/spirits called forth by the Witch King of Angmar. We know that the first of the Nazgul was a powerful sorcerer as was show by him casting spells (like the ones to break the games of Minas Tirith) and breaking Frodo's sword with but a gesture. Now, it is no stretch to imagine that Sauron might have passed some necromantic knowledge to his servitor. In addition, assume that the Witch King was using his ring of power to extend his abilities. Thus, the barrow wights were created using, in part, the power of the rings. Thus, nothing can break those spells until the One Ring gets destroyed. At least, that is how I see things. You might disagree and that is fine since there is no clear explanation from Tolkien.

However, you can dispel a wraith for a time: just like the Nazgul were. Eventually, the wraith will re-form in a weaker state and start growing in power. The more "forcefully" the wraith is destroyed, the longer before it can re-shape and weaker it is once it does so.

A note on Tom Bombadil: He is a wild card in the books, a nod to many different things not really explained (source) and might even be Ilúvatar. As such, anything that Tom does needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

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