There is definitely something you can do, you have just not figured out what it is yet.
OOC, I know exactly what's going on. However, I consider this the worst mechanic in Pathfinder, the solution to which is completely nonintuitive, and will happily go to a TPK before using meta-knowledge to defeat it.
Also, by RAW, positive energy only damages a haunt during the surprise round, not during the entire duration of the haunt. Read here:
On the surprise round in which a haunt manifests, positive energy applied to the haunt (via channeled energy, cure spells, and the like) can damage the haunt's hit points (a haunt never gains a Will save to lessen the damage done by such effects, and attacks that require a successful attack roll to work must strike AC 10 in order to affect the haunt and not merely the physical structure it inhabits). Unless the haunt has an unusual weakness, no other form of attack can reduce its hit points.
This is only one reason why haunts stink. If your PC has positive energy and if you make your notice check, then you might be able to roll high enough to stop it; all players without positive energy might as well go watch TV in the next room while the party's in a haunt-infested area because nothing your PC can do will matter.
Some haunts are persistent, and their immediate effects continue beyond the surprise round into actual full rounds. Persistent haunts continue to trigger their haunt effects once per round on their initiative rank until destroyed or they no longer have a target.
If a haunt is not neutralized in the surprise round, by RAW, there is no way to stop it other than the targeted PC's death or meeting the destruction conditions, which usually require investigation and further encounters. Note that a haunt reduced to 0 hp by positive energy is neutralized, not destroyed. Positive energy applied after the surprise round cannot stop the effects of a persistent haunt.
In addition, as I said, the means to neutralize a haunt are not at all intuitive. Nuri is being attacked by an animated scarf and is seeing visions of Aldern strangling her: What about this situation would make her think that channeling positive energy will make it better? Note, particularly, that channeling energy to heal herself won't affect the haunt (even if we ignore that the only chance to damage its hp with positive energy was during the surprise round), just like channeling energy to heal the party won't harm zombies or shadows: The positive energy has to be applied to the haunt so the only intuitive way to figure out that positive energy works -- "I'm going to die; better heal myself. Hey! The haunt stopped" -- is nonexistent.
In my opinion, haunts are a way to compel the PCs to use healing resources so they won't have them later, while shoving backstory down their throats. I quit a game of Carrion Crown because I find the mechanic so distasteful. I hate haunts worse than I hate swarms, and I hate swarms a lot.
I see what you mean about the RAW. So I think we will make a tweak that should allow it to be more fun for everyone.
First, Channel Energy can hurt a haunt in any round not just the surprise round. IMO the line Joana quoted just means it is possible to destroy the haunt with positive energy before it manifest completely avoiding it altogether.
Second, from this point on I am going to consider haunts to have a quasi-incorporeal status. For characters who recognize the hunts manifestation they can use magic spells and magic weapons against the haunt for half damage. Force spells and effects will do damage normally. For characters who are not seeing the full manifestation magic spells and weapons can still effect the haunt but only at 1/4 damage while the Force spells and effects only half damage.
I think this will prevent the only Channel Energy character can do anything about it. This will make the haunts a more interesting encounter and still allow for them to be frightening role play encounters as well as action encounters.
Honestly I assumed the positive energy used in any round wold effect them so thats why I have kept the round going. I will make some adjustments to reflect that everyone else is having some effect on it as well.
Look for a post to reflect that soon.
In addition, as I said, the means to neutralize a haunt are not at all intuitive. Nuri is being attacked by an animated scarf and is seeing visions of Aldern strangling her: What about this situation would make her think that channeling positive energy will make it better?
I see what you mean, but let me counter. She is a skilled cleric with +9 religion knowledge. I don't think it is a stretch to think clerics are aware of hauntings in old houses and crypts. I also think it would be a logical conclusion for a cleric to try positive energy in the presence of such a negative energy event.
If you think it's necessary I could set a DC and you can make a knowledge roll to see if she recognizes the event as a haunt as compared to thinking it is some kind of animated creature or other type of magical phenomenon. But since I have used ghostly and unworldly in the descriptions I think is fair to say she could and possible would try positive energy at least.
She is a skilled cleric with +9 religion knowledge. I don't think it is a stretch to think clerics are aware of hauntings in old houses and crypts.
Then she should have known it immediately instead of stumbling around cluelessly for two rounds. At this point, I'm not comfortable with her "suddenly realizing" what it is at this late date. I can't roleplay that level of inconsistency.
|Roakkad "Tames The Skies"|
I think a gated spoiler would have been good at the start of the fight. I'm not big on PC's needing to "actively" think of what they may already know. More work for the GM though, that is true.
Coming back into action now but haven't been especially keen to leap into this scene...
I was just trying to add to the suspense of the scene by not just giving the answer to you under a static roll. This part of the AP is supposed to play up on the horror and I think it provides a lot of opportunity for role-play. Perhaps that won't translate well to the PBP format. I hope the HouseRule for haunts will make it more action based and more fun for everyone. I think I might cut some of the hunts out of it to streamline and move us along.
Glad to see you back AK, I will roll an INT for you and add you back into the action this round.
But I (if not my PC) already knew the answer. You can either add to the suspense by disallowing metaknowledge, or you can assume that a PC who can ID a ghoul can similarly ID a haunt. Both are valid ways to approach the mechanic. What you can't do is both in the same setting. Haunts are either terrifying and inexplicable or just another thing you kill by channeling energy.
Part of what I don't like about them is that they don't "fit" with the rest of the world. They always seem borrowed from a more low-magic setting and forced awkwardly into a high-fantasy world where PCs can identify anything from a dragon to a ghost to an angel to a demon to a horrific aberration from beyond the stars themselves ... but haunts, for some reason, are opaque.