Review: Pathfinder Horror Adventures, Part VII

Today we’re picking up with the section on haunts, still in the chapter on horror rules. This has been a fair dense chapter, full of things to look over and think about the use of, but we’ve almost hit the end of it. After this, we’ve got the rules for madness, and then we’ll be off to the next chapter.

We get elements of haunts up front, essentially offering haunt templates. An elusive haunt, for example, can manifest some distance from its source, and can only be harmed at the actual source location. The biggest modification on offer is a +2 to the haunt’s CR, which make some pretty effective haunts for the adjustment.

Haunt variations come next; dimensional instabilities are first, as a kind of haunt that manifests where the barriers between the planes are thin and effects from one side can slip through to the other. Maddening influence is a form of haunt where the corruption of things from the outer darkness lingers, eroding the sanity and reality of the world. Magical scars are just that – places where the very fabric of the world has been scarred by powerful – or botched – magic; these make a nice side effect for ritual magic that goes awry. The last variant haunt is the psychic version, caused by the emotional and mental trauma of those originally present; they can form without any need for the spiritual remnants that form typical haunts.

We get a set of new haunts, as well. With CRs that range from Bloody Hands at 1/4 CR to a CR 20 Twisted Wish, there are haunts to use as both direct inserts and as examples to build your own from. There low-CR ones are relatively modest and mundane in nature, but the higher you go in CR the more horrific they get – the Eternal Pyre is particularly nasty, as it complements the witchfire monster that serves as the destruction trigger for the haunt.

Madness is next, split into lesser and greater forms; the descriptions of the stat blocks sugget that they’re effectively treating madness as a disease in mechanical terms. They come with saves, onset times, and effects; recovering from madness is a long-term affair, however. Every week on uninterrupted rest allows a Will save against the DC of the madness; success lowers DC of the next check by half the victim’s Charisma modifier. Having help with this allows half the help’s Intelligence or Wisdom to be added to the amount the DC lowers. The madness persists until the DC has been reduced to 0. Given that the lowest save DC is 14, it pretty much promises to take a character out of action for a month for even the least form of madness. Of course, they can always keep trying to adventure while suffering the effects.

That wraps up the chapter on horror rules! Next time, we’ll be entering the next chapter, finally. Hopefully it won’t be quite as dense, while still being just as useful in game terms.

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Review: Pathfinder Horror Adventures, Part VII

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