#30 Haunts for Ships and Shores (PFRPG) PDF (based on
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"These dead men tell a tale..."
Ghost ships and abandoned coastal villages fill a bard’s songbook, bringing tales of reaving pirates, brutal slavers, plagues and pure mystery. The flotsam and jetsam of those lost and broken lives leaves its psychic imprint on the surrounding world, creating the terrible haunts found on empty ships and deserted piers.
Do your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game heroes have the stomach to delve into these forlorn locales? Can they unravel the key to ending the Star-Cursed Sky and return safely to port? Will they learn what must be done to stop the Deep Ones’ Rise while fending off a ghostly boarding? Do they have what it takes to bring about the destruction of the Bloody Tide?
Additionally, these 30 haunts weave through the tale of Greycliff’s corruption and the rise of Bellfall, telling of the Fog Reavers’ savagery and their final fate—providing the bare, scavenger-gnawed bones of dark maritime adventure with challenges for parties from levels 1st to 12th. Bring the terror of the past to the present of your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game with #30 Haunts for Ships and Shores!
Author: T.H. Gulliver
Cover Art: Arthur Rackham
Haunts can be fun (especially for the GM!), and they are particularly enjoyable when there are good reasons for each haunt to be precisely where it is... even more if they are tied in to the plot of your adventure. This work contains a collection of haunts built specifically around a sea-faring theme, and are well worth considering if your adventure includes sea travel or even a trip to the seaside.
It opens with flavour text, a letter from a librarian to his friend explaining about a collection of notes on haunts that he has compiled. This leads in to several stories which will lend themselves readily to being tales that the characters might hear - from a minstrel in a tavern, or when they get intrigued and start trying to find out what is behind a given ghost story for themselves... perhaps after they have encountered a haunt and want to know more about it.
Next comes some explanatory material about haunts themselves: general concepts and the underlying game mechanics). If you have not used haunts before, this should set you on the right path, enabling you both to design your own haunts customised to suit your plot and then to run them to effect once the game begins. This leads into details of fully-developed haunts, all ready to drop into your adventure as appropriate. You might need to change the odd name or bit of history to make them fit, but these are basically ready to run as is.
The haunts range from the merely annoying to quite dangerous ones, and there are some interesting ones designed to weaken seafaring characters so that they are more vulnerable to the hostile environment afloat - perhaps to be brought into play as a storm approaches...
Finally, an appendix presents Piers Veilborn, the librarian mentioned at the beginning. He's quite an interesting fellow and you may well wish him to feature as an NPC - there are several roles he could play as advisor or even patron.
This is a neat little collection and, provided you like the spooky and have an adventure involving the sea, ought to prove very useful for ideas if not for haunts you can incorporate into the scenario directly. Moreover, if you want a spooky sea-story, you can weave a plot from the backstory and as many of the haunts as you want: they all fit together quite nicely and it ought to be straightforward to write an adventure around this framework, something with a piractical theme, perhaps?
The Cover, title, OGL, and 2 advertisements equal 5 pages.
Introduction (2 pages): The in-character introduction plus several stories of haunts are all very well written.
Understanding Haunts (one and 1/2 pages): This section mentions the source book (PFRPG GameMastery Guide) for the haunts rules but also gives explanations of the terms used in the haunt descriptions so Game Masters who don’t have that tome can still run these haunts. Next is Rite’s own personal stamp on haunt rules which includes notes on persistent haunts, common haunts, minor haunts, and associated haunts.
Mutinous Manifestations and others (6 and 1/2 pages): What follows is a detailed listing of different haunts all themed for ships and shores (as the title suggests). There is a large range of difficulties from CR1 to CR12 haunts. Some of these haunts are specifically related to the stories of haunts in the introduction. They are not organized in any particular fashion, however, which makes it slightly more difficult to locate a particular haunt. Also the pdf I have did not have bookmarks. That aside, the listings of haunts are varied, interesting and particularly useful. The haunts are listed in a format consistent with the haunt rules in PFRPG’s GameMastery Guide and includes not only detailed effects, but also notes on the destruction of each haunt. There are also associated haunts that can be used to create short adventure scenarios or brief segways into terror for the players.
Appendix (2 pages): Lastly is an interesting individual NPC who is a divine channeler, from the Secrets of Divine Channeling book by Rite Publishing. But you do not have to have purchased this book to use the NPC as his special abilities are detailed in full. His background lists Rite Publishing’s setting of Questhaven, but it should be a simple matter to alter that to suit any Game Master’s campaign setting. In keeping with the theme of this book, his abilities are particularly useful against haunts.
Conclusion: The quality of this book is excellent. I located only a single minor editing error, an added word in the last paragraph of the Greycliff’s Grief story in the introduction. The layout is a two column format as in all of Rite Publishing’s #30 series. The art consists of black and white theme appropriate images. There are not many but this work does not need a large number of pictures.
The haunts in this book could be used simply for spice on extended (and otherwise boring) sea voyages to whole adventures that could arise out of them. The writing is compelling and entertaining and an enjoyable read, whether I use all of the haunts in this book or not. This is the kind of product I love, that which makes my imagination soar and gives me tools to use to make the experience for my players a thrilling and compelling one.
I give this a rating of 4.5 stars but only due to the fact that the haunts were not organized in any particular fashion, (with the exception of associated haunts listed together). Nor was there a table of contents or bookmarks on the pdf. If later editions of the pdf do contain these features then I would up this rating to a full five stars.
Edit: It was pointed out to me that I could turn on the bookmarks that did exist. I have since done so. Bookmarks make this tool even more useful. As stated above: this deserves a full five stars.
This pdf is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of ads, leaving 12 pages for the haunts.
This pdf kicks off with an IC-introduction to the haunts and some nice background, a definite plus in atmosphere over the last installment of the series. 1.5 pages explain how to use the haunts as well as that some may be tied together or used stand-alone. These so-called associated haunts, introduced in the last installment of the series, are a good proof that RiP is listening to its fans and provide what we ask.
-Star-Cursed Sky (CR 11)
-Mutiny's Shadow (CR 10)
-Grumbling and Grief (CR 7)
-The Sound of Munity (CR 6)
The Sea Devil's Attack
-Drunk Crew (CR 6)
-The Deep One Rises (can be tied to Drunk Crew) (CR 11)
Blood in the Water:
-Common Cry Haunt (CR 2)
-Common Drowned Man (can be tied to Common Cry Haunt) (CR 2)
-Feeding Frenzy (can be tied to Common Drowned Man) (CR 8)
-Blasphemer’s Bell (CR 1)
-Bloody Tide (can be tied to Blasphemer’s Bell) (CR 5)
-Wrath of the Wrecked (Can be tied to Bloody Tide) (CR 11)
-Flooded Hold (CR 12)
Stormy Weather Haunts:
-Common Biting Wind (CR 6)
-Head Strong Wave (Can be tied to Common Biting Wind) (CR 6)
-Hungary Sea Haunt (Can be tied to head Strong Wave) (CR 4)
-Raging Squall (Can be tied to Hungary Sea Haunt) (CR 8)
-Dreaming of a Watery Grave (CR 9)
-Driving Sleet (CR 4)
-Exhausted Crew (CR 8)
-Fog Reavers Rock (CR 6)
-Jaws that Bite (CR 8)
-Past Sin (CR 3)
-Sailing Blind (CR 5)
-Shadowy Tentacles (CR 8)
-The Hailstorm (CR 6)
-The Hunger (CR 10)
-The Northern Lights (CR 11)
-Worms and Maggots (CR 3)
-X Marks the Spot (CR 1)
The pdf also features a new NPC, Pers Veilbron, the writer of the IC-introduction. The NPC takes up 2 pages and uses the channeler class from "Secrets of Divine Channeling". All rules to use him without the book are provided, though.
Editing and layout adhere to the RiP-two-column standard and are of the usual high quality. I didn't notice any typos or glitches. The mostly B/w-artwork is nice and I love the cover. I also really enjoy how the book uses some haunts from "30 Haunts for Houses" to expand some of the associated haunts, providing even more content. The IC-introduction to the content and stories of the haunts make it extremely easy for the DM to use them in his/her campaign. I even claim that it is easily possible to make an adventure out of the haunts contained herein. The content is plain awesome and e.g. "X marks the Spot", a haunted table that draws maps on the flesh of deceased people, is just so iconic I immediately wanted to implement it. Not all of them are as awesome, but there is no filler in this book. What's my final verdict, then? I don't have ANY complains whatsoever, this book is a great progression from the already excellent last haunt book and I hope to see more of them in the future. In combination with the low price point, I practically have to rate this 5 stars - an excellent purchase for just about any DM out there.
This product is 17 pages long. It starts with a cover and credits. (2 pages)
IC Introduction (2 pages)
The next part is a introduction told from Pers Veilborn's point of view. It is a very interesting IC introduction. After the later to his friend it talks about 3 haunts form a IC point of view.
Understanding Haunts (1 ½ pages)
This part talks about what haunts are, how they work, how to use them etc.
Haunts (6 ½ pages)
Next it gets into the 30 haunts, some are or can be connected while others are always stand alone.
Mutiny's Shadow (can be tied to Star Cursed Sky)
Grumbling and Grief (can be tied to Mutiny's Shadow)
The Sound of Munity (can be tied to Grumbling and Grief)
The Deep One Rises (can be tied to Drunk Crew)
Common Cry Haunt
Common Drowned Man (can be tied to Common Cry Haunt)
Feeding Frenzy (can be tied to Common Drowned Man)
Blasphemer’s Bell – This is the first haunt I had a problem with, I like the haunt but it makes no effort to explain why the bell is allowed to stay, when apparently most blame the bell for the problems.
Bloody Tide (can be tied to Blasphemer’s Bell)
Wrath of the Wrecked (Can be tied to Bloody Tide)
Flooded Hold (list haunts from 30 House Haunts book it can be combined with)
Common Biting Wind
Head Strong Wave (Can be tied to Common Biting Wind) There is a white space gab in the text. I am not sure if it was suppose to be a new paragraph or what, It is a minor issue but noticeable.
Hungary Sea Haunt (Can be tied to head Strong Wave)
Raging Squall (Can be tied to Hungary Sea Haunt)
Dreaming of a Watery Grave
Fog Reavers Rock
Jaws that Bite
The Northern Lights
Worms and Maggots
X Marks the Spot
Pers Veilborn (2 pages)
This is the NPC that gave the IC introduction, this is also the same NPC from 30 Haunts for Houses, though he has gained a few levels since then. It has a complete stat block for the NPC.
It ends with a OGL and 2 pages of ads (3 pages)
Closing thoughts. I like this one better than the previous haunts. I thought they was better done and it was nice that they was laid out to be used on their own or how to use them in chains of haunts. I didn't feel any of the haunts was to strong or to weak. My only two critics I already mentioned. Most of the haunts make sense and give a bit of fluff on how they came about, I would have liked about a paragraph more fluff on each, some more than that. But all and all they was well done. So what's my rating? Well it does have a couple of minor errors so I am giving it a 4.5 star rating.