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TF2’s 2010 halloween update: Notes on the Headless Horseless Horsemann

With the recent update to TF2, a new map, cp_manor_event, is in rotation. And with it, a new and oddball feature: NPC enemies.

The enemy is the Headless Horseless Horsemann, somtiems abbreviated “HHH”, reputed to be the ghost of Silas Mann from the series’ unfolding backstory. Here are some quick facts I learned from painful experience that I wish I had known several hours ago:


  • The Horsemann will respawn at a random interval between 7 and 9 minutes.
  • He will not appear unless there are at least 10 people (not bots)  present on a server.
  • He appears on whatever control-point BLU currently needs to capture.
  • Instead of spawning during map set-up time, the Horsemann will spawn immediately when set-up ends.


  • The Horsemann chases one person who is designated “IT” (with a  skull-and-crossbones icon above their head.)
  • He will still kill anyone who gets too close into his way as he chases.
  • The person who is “IT” can melee-strike an enemy to transfer the “IT” status (and the attention of the Horsemann) to them instead.
  • The Horsemann will destroy sentries and dispensers to get at his target, and cloaking cannot hide you.
  • When the person who is “IT” dies,  gets too far away, or enters a spawn room, or is otherwise impossible to reach, the Horsemann will re-target to the nearest player.
  • If he can’t find anyone remotely nearby to chase, it travels back to the CP it spawned on.


  • The Horsemann will occasionally go “boo” and inflict the “scared” status effect, much like the ghost of Zephreniah Mann in koth_harvest_event.
  • He only has a melee attack, but if he hits you, you’re going to die unless ubered or using some other invulnerability mechanism.
  • His initial health amount is at least 3000, and can be higher by an additional 200 for each player. (Presumably each player beyond the required 10, but I’m not sure.)
  • He generally runs at scout-speed (400u/s), although clever movement and vertical jumps can help a lot to gain breathing room, since he follows fairly mundane paths through the level and does not jump certain gaps.
  • He is not targeted by sentries of either team.
  • He cannot be stunned with the Sandman, Jarate’d, or doused with Mad Milk.
  • Backstabs appear to do no extra damage than other knife strikes.


  • “Sleepy Hollownd” is easy to get by just doing a lot of damage to the HHH, regardless of how he finally dies.
  • “Gored” appears to be only possible by striking the low-health Horsemann with a melee weapon. You will definitely get it if yours is the final strike that finishes him off, but there are reports you can get it as one of the last few living people to melee him before he dies.
  • By the time the Horsemann displays his “dying” animation, it’s too late, so don’t bother hanging back and only hitting him as he convulses and explodes.
  • Upon getting the “Gored” achievement, you will also get a one-time drop of craftable haunted scrap metal.
  • Since you cannot get the achievement or the haunted-metal twice, if you have already gotten the “Owned” achievement the best thing you can do for your friends is to be “IT” and lure the Horsemann around. At the very least, don’t attack him if you think he might be near death.

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