Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

More Haunting fun... or not.


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Qadira ***

"It's a Haunt?! Run!"

I've seen this advice a lot lately on other haunt threads, and I'm wanting to address something.

What do you do if it isn't a Haunt? I mean let's consider some PFS examples. I'll use First Steps part 1, as it's often the first scenario any PC (and maybe player) will see in PFS.

A job for the Paracountess:

Party enters the Paracountesses bedroom, and look around. Judge says, "Roll Init. - roll Perception - you see a steel box "move seemingly of it's own accord"... and the PCs run from the room. Wow - great impression they made on the Paracountess.

Warehouse:

Brake in, and begin to search. You locate the crate, but wait...
Judge says: "Roll Init. - roll Perception - you hear movement in the shadows behind you, the sqeaking of floorboards and perhaps something vaguely rat like..." PCs jump thru the hole into the harbor to excape the Haunt....

Basement room of puzzles:

examine the puzzle -
Rogue player: "I move up to the wicker basket"
"Roll Init. - roll Perception - you see some movement amoung the linen rags in the basket"... and the Rogue runs to beat on the door, the Cleric channels energy, the wizard cuts loose with a [i]disrupt undead[/] and the fighter says "we are so screwed".

did I get the reactions correct?

Haunts should be creepy. The way they work now they don't have time for that. Players are dead often before they know what's happening.


If no one has Knowledge: religion or rolls low, then yeah... Sure. Panic ensues.

Qadira ***

fizzboy wrote:
If no one has Knowledge: religion or rolls low, then yeah... Sure. Panic ensues.

the panic is there because there is NO haunt. My question is, if you need to run from Haunts ("best defense is run away"), when do you run? At the first sign of anything you don't recognize?

.
anyway, just wondering... why do you think Kn: religion tells you about haunts?

I've heard this from many judges - heck, I've done this myself, but I am not seeing anywhere where this is discribed. And the reason I did it was because the players should get SOME way to tell what is hitting them.

If it is a creature, an undead creature, than Kn: religion would be the correct one.

If it's a spell, and the effects it generates tend to be spell like effects, then wouldn't it be Kn: Arcane?

If a Haunt is a Trap - and most judges consider it trap like (and some even call it a Trap, though an "undetectable trap that can't be disarmed") then it might be Kn: Dungeoneering or Kn: Engineering or something else.

I could even see saying it is a Kn: History or Kn: Local roll to learn the history of the Haunt.

edited: expanded answer

Cheliax

nosig wrote:
fizzboy wrote:
If no one has Knowledge: religion or rolls low, then yeah... Sure. Panic ensues.

the panic is there because there is NO haunt. My question is, if you need to run from Haunts ("best defense is run away"), when do you run? At the first sign of anything you don't recognize?

.
anyway, just wondering... why do you think Kn: religion tells you about haunts?

I've heard this from many judges - heck, I've done this myself, but I am not seeing anywhere where this is discribed. And the reason I did it was because the players should get SOME way to tell what is hitting them.

If it is a creature, an undead creature, than Kn: religion would be the correct one.

If it's a spell, and the effects it generates tend to be spell like effects, then wouldn't it be Kn: Arcane?

If a Haunt is a Trap - and most judges consider it trap like (and some even call it a Trap, though an "undetectable trap that can't be disarmed") then it might be Kn: Dungeoneering or Kn: Engineering or something else.

I could even see saying it is a Kn: History or Kn: Local roll to learn the history of the Haunt.

edited: expanded answer

All good points.

I'd really like to see someone quote the whole paragraph, the page number, and the exact title of the source material for Knowledge: Religion check to identify haunts. I'd really, really like to see someone do that.

Qadira ***

as I said above about the Knowledge religion check, "I've heard this from many judges - heck, I've done this myself, but I am not seeing anywhere where this is discribed. And the reason I did it was because the players should get SOME way to tell what is hitting them."
I will say that I made it DC 15+CR due to Haunts being "Rare" - though I mentioned it on the board, and someone responded that plainly I had not played many PFS games as Haunts were NOT rare. Perhaps the DC should be 5+CR (common monster) - that would mean for CRs less than 6 it would be DC 10 or less and a PC could make the check untrained! wow!

Qadira ***

But this thread should be about Haunts that aren't...

Does anyone else know any encounters that could look like a Haunt, and get the PCs to react as if they are encountering a Haunt, but are actually something else entirely?

Grand Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This thread. I'm running away from it and yet its not a haunt.

Cheliax

nosig wrote:

But this thread should be about Haunts that aren't...

Does anyone else know any encounters that could look like a Haunt, and get the PCs to react as if they are encountering a Haunt, but are actually something else entirely?

I can think of no such case... Mainly cause such a situation does not start out with the GM stating, 'I'm sorry guys, They threw in another haunt.'

However, I could stand to hear a few of the stories of characters reacting to haunts that weren't.

Osirion ***

nosig wrote:

But this thread should be about Haunts that aren't...

Does anyone else know any encounters that could look like a Haunt, and get the PCs to react as if they are encountering a Haunt, but are actually something else entirely?

Of the encounters currently existing in pathfinder scenarios and modules? I can't think of any that could be mistaken as a haunt. The closest I can think of is magical creatures that are kind of hauntish, but not enough to be taken for one.

For example, in Godsmouth Heresy

Spoiler:
there's a room where the writing jumps off the walls and attacks the party. If the party is expecting a haunt, they might see it as one, but otherwise it's just a magical trap to them.

For creating future non-haunt events, it could be done in the right situations when tied to a haunt. Like having a haunt happen, then shortly afterwards have a canyon or crack in the cave wall that wind literally wails through. With enough set-up, you could get a "Sweet Sarenrae, it's a haunt! Run!" event happening.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Part of it becomes the situation involved. I've only gotten to play in 3 scenarios with haunts in them, and in all 3 cases it was already a spooky place: a haunted mansion, a ruined castle, an ancient and forgotten temple - and when the haunt began to manifest, even without the know (religion), when I've made my perception, it's been noticably eeiry: The wind begins to howl, the temperature quickly drops, a ghostly moan echoes, translucent figures begin to dance, etc. So for the most part, determining between a haunt and an encounter has been relatively easy when you have a descriptive GM.

Having GM'd a 4th scenario with a haunt in it (Temple), I can see where that one is more muted than others in its manifestation. I've described it as

Spoiler:
all the cutlery begins to rattle
which usually spooks players a bit.

It would be interesting to see an Illusionist who tries to make a house seem haunted just to try and spook the players into running away ... Since that's becoming the strategy

Silver Crusade *** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Helsinki

I've run haunts many times, and it's almost always been a tense, spooky encounter. There is the perception check (which someone usually makes) to notice the haunt, and that can be used to create a lot of tension (for example the knife moving on its own in Temple).

The weak point, like the OP said, is that metagamers tend to run for it when initiative is rolled without immediate reason, which is not something that happens often without a haunt. Invisible opponents and ambushes might be a valid reason to have players roll initiative early.

***** Venture-Captain, Wisconsin—Madison aka Mat Black

nosig wrote:

"It's a Haunt?! Run!"

I've seen this advice a lot lately on other haunt threads, and I'm wanting to address something.

What do you do if it isn't a Haunt? I mean let's consider some PFS examples. I'll use First Steps part 1, as it's often the first scenario any PC (and maybe player) will see in PFS.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

did I get the reactions correct?

Haunts should be creepy. The way they work now they don't have time for that. Players are dead often before they know what's happening.

the point of this thread has me completely baffled. if players are assuming a haunt every time they have to make a perception check and/or initiative check, then there's a problem with their assumptions, not haunts.

and in the first case you mentioned, it might mean that they aren't paying attention

Spoiler:
since Zarta clearly states that one of her servants is misbehaving and the PCs will have to get the box away from it.

honestly, if they want to run from encounters, haunts or otherwise, let them. they'll find pretty quick that they'll have a pretty low success rate for scenarios.

Cheliax

Matthew Starch wrote:

the point of this thread has me completely baffled. if players are assuming a haunt every time they have to make a perception check and/or initiative check, then there's a problem with their assumptions, not haunts.

and in the first case you mentioned, it might mean that they aren't paying attention ** spoiler omitted **

honestly, if they want to run from encounters, haunts or otherwise, let them. they'll find pretty quick that they'll have a pretty low success rate for scenarios.

I think the point of the thread is: What effect are haunts having on non-haunt encounters, specifically the ones that start with no clearly defined enemy (like haunts do)? Are there any non-haunt encounters being mistaken for haunts? How did they happen and what did the players do?

IE: A knife on a table bouncing around can be caused by an invisible monster like an imp manipulating it, a hidden character with mage hand or thread, an illusion being concentrated on, or a fly having a dancing knife. Any of these could have made the knife appear to be haunted... did they? Are there any such encounters?

Even more interesting is what inspiration could be drawn from such questioning. I foresee Mystery, Inc. style adventure coming soon, prepare to pepper it with "Jinkies!", "Jeepers!", and "My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!" Er, maybe not the last one... Maybe.

Osirion ***

thrikreed wrote:
I foresee Mystery, Inc. style adventure coming soon, prepare to pepper it with "Jinkies!", "Jeepers!", and "My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!" Er, maybe not the last one... Maybe.

"Magical darkness! I can't see with magical darkness!" =P

*

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree that Haunts, in general, tend to be implemented fairly poorly in PFS scenarios - the exception to this is Haunting of Hinojai, which I feel is actually quite excellent in this regard. The haunts in the Carrion Crown AP are also quite good. However, when your average haunt consists of 'you hear something strange' and then 'you take massive damage because you weren't paranoid enough', it raises a couple eyebrows.

My reasoning for this is that we're playing Pathfinder, not Call of Cthulhu. Both are great games in their own right, but in Pathfinder the PCs are supposed to be documenting strange sounds or appearances, not running away because they fear being blasted with Ice Storm, possessed to jump off a cliff, or even CDG themselves.

The best haunts are ones that players can puzzle through; they have a solution, one which puts the haunt to rest or at least makes it dormant so they can proceed. I have seen very little of this in PFS, and in my experience haunts tend to be more of a one-shot-wonder which hurts the PCs a LOT if they don't run or otherwise have a way to avoid the haunt. This is unfortunate, because the best part of a haunt is finding out why it exists, which can't be done when the game hugely incentivizes running or channeling positive before the haunt can go off, and thus never gives the players a chance to figure it out.

Silver Crusade **

In my experience, the players don't like haunts. There is just no good way to get rid of one before it acts, and it is something that only a very limited subset of players can deal with. In addition, the rules are a bit confusing, and every scenario seems to have its haunt act differently. Honestly, I'd be fine if I didn't really see haunts anymore in PFS unless they get a massive rules update or clarification.

*

Sean H wrote:

I agree that Haunts, in general, tend to be implemented fairly poorly in PFS scenarios - the exception to this is Haunting of Hinojai, which I feel is actually quite excellent in this regard. The haunts in the Carrion Crown AP are also quite good. However, when your average haunt consists of 'you hear something strange' and then 'you take massive damage because you weren't paranoid enough', it raises a couple eyebrows.

My reasoning for this is that we're playing Pathfinder, not Call of Cthulhu. Both are great games in their own right, but in Pathfinder the PCs are supposed to be documenting strange sounds or appearances, not running away because they fear being blasted with Ice Storm, possessed to jump off a cliff, or even CDG themselves.

The best haunts are ones that players can puzzle through; they have a solution, one which puts the haunt to rest or at least makes it dormant so they can proceed. I have seen very little of this in PFS, and in my experience haunts tend to be more of a one-shot-wonder which hurts the PCs a LOT if they don't run or otherwise have a way to avoid the haunt. This is unfortunate, because the best part of a haunt is finding out why it exists, which can't be done when the game hugely incentivizes running or channeling positive before the haunt can go off, and thus never gives the players a chance to figure it out.

Yes! My thoughts exactly!

In the future I would like to see more persistent haunts. Persistent haunts give the players time to figure out what is going on.

Andoran ***

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Modules Subscriber
nosig wrote:

But this thread should be about Haunts that aren't...

Does anyone else know any encounters that could look like a Haunt, and get the PCs to react as if they are encountering a Haunt, but are actually something else entirely?

Yes, I know of such an encounter, but I have never seen anyone think it was a haunt, yet.

Spoiler:
The Citadel of Flame has a sorcerer with several scrolls in a hidden room casting spells out into several surrounding rooms, and if no one makes the Perception check to notice the view slots, it can seem a bit ... haunted.

Of course, on the other side, the scenario is so old, no one thinks about haunts because they hadn't seen any use at that time, yet.

Qadira ***

kinevon wrote:
nosig wrote:

But this thread should be about Haunts that aren't...

Does anyone else know any encounters that could look like a Haunt, and get the PCs to react as if they are encountering a Haunt, but are actually something else entirely?

Yes, I know of such an encounter, but I have never seen anyone think it was a haunt, yet.

** spoiler omitted **

That's on my list of scenarios to run for some Newbies... I'll see how many of them channel/disrupt undead/splash holyH2O around.

Osirion ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Topher Hays

I think on of the most under utilized items in all of PFS play is the Haunt Siphon. I know if I was a scouting rogue or the like I would have one out in my hand.

Qadira ***

Topher Hays wrote:
I think on of the most under utilized items in all of PFS play is the Haunt Siphon. I know if I was a scouting rogue or the like I would have one out in my hand.

wow... where is this from and is it legal for PFS?!!

I've got several PCs that need one (or more).

Shadow Lodge *

It's legal for PFS. You still need to have them in hand during the haunt surprise round.

Qadira ***

Serum wrote:
It's legal for PFS. You still need to have them in hand during the haunt surprise round.

yeah, I figured that. No way is most judges going to let you put one of these things in a wrist shieth. But I'll give up the in hand MW tool Perception on my scouts just to have a possible action to use against haunts - and I can tell I'll be burning off one or two of these each game (for those times when it just MIGHT be a haunt, but isn't).

what source is it from, so I can buy a copy now?

Osirion ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Topher Hays

It's out of the Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone it is also a bit more useful than just haunts....

If you read this Link

James Jacobs wrote:
As for haunt siphons... they inflict 3d6 points of positive energy damage. They ABSOLUTELY would work against any sort of undead. In fact, they're in there partially becasue the last few boss monsters are pretty tough, and having a touch attack that deals 3d6 damage even to incorporeal foes is a way to even the fight up a bit.

Osirion ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Topher Hays

As far as putting them in a wrist shieth I not sure why any judge wouldn't let you, its only a 1 pound glass vial cased in cold iron.

Qadira ***

wow... not sure if I would want to try to use it against another undead - I think most judges would nix it and put me on their suspect list if I tried to use it. Even with a board ruling from JJ on it.

printing a copy of Pathfinder Adventure Path #43 I can likely do. Printing a board post? nay, I'll pass.

Now I need to see how to order an Adventure path on line... this will be my first.

OH! and thanks guys!

Osirion ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Topher Hays

It't possible its in the new equipment guide, I got my copy at Gencon but havent had time to look in it yet from all the playing and then driving home and working today.

Grand Lodge ****

nosig wrote:
wow... not sure if I would want to try to use it against another undead - I think most judges would nix it and put me on their suspect list if I tried to use it. Even with a board ruling from JJ on it.

That's why there are rules, judges aren't there to ruin your day and put you on a suspect list for using a neat piece of equipment out of the legal book you purchased.

Qadira ***

sveden wrote:
nosig wrote:
wow... not sure if I would want to try to use it against another undead - I think most judges would nix it and put me on their suspect list if I tried to use it. Even with a board ruling from JJ on it.
That's why there are rules, judges aren't there to ruin your day and put you on a suspect list for using a neat piece of equipment out of the legal book you purchased.

so are you saying that:

A) a board post from James Jacobs is enough to allow this piece of equipment to "...inflict 3d6 points of positive energy damage...." vs. any undead and that "... They ABSOLUTELY would work against any sort of undead."

OR

B) that Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone would allow them to only be used vs. Haunts (as the rules only list the effects on Haunts).

OR

C) something else?

side note: the fact that most judges would nix it would not "ruin my day", it just means that I would not even use this this way at a PFS table, for if 1/3 or more of the judges feel it wouldn't work, why waste everyones time trying to do it? No reason for me to cause the judge to worry that I may be "trying to pull something". I don't want to be a problem for my judge - I just want to have fun playing, and I have more fun when the judge is having fun too.

Grand Lodge ****

I'm saying that your attitude towards GMs is adversarial and it should not be.

Qadira ***

sveden wrote:
I'm saying that your attitude towards GMs is adversarial and it should not be.

??? wha ???

wow.
Different worlds I guess.
as anyone who has played with me can tell you, I am if anything NOT adversarial. in my post above I said:

"not sure if I would want to try to use it against another undead - I think most judges would nix it and put me on their suspect list if I tried to use it. Even with a board ruling from JJ on it."

I was saying that even though JJ said it was legal, I would not use this as there is a CHANCE that some judges would not like it. I'm NOT taking someones advice, because there is a chance that some judges might view it as adversarial - and I don't want that.

Our game often has two types of players (both judges and players are "players").

A) Confrontational - us against them, player vs. everyone else.
B) Conspiratorial - all of us together, player & judge playing together.

I'm very much a B player (both as a Judge and as a Player). I love to conspire with the judge (or the other players) to make the game fun. If I see something that is fun, I don't keep it to myself. I love to share cute rule gimmicks with the judge, and try NEVER to have a confrontation with my fellow players (the judge is one of those). I'm all about conflict avoidance... so I have not idea why you think this is adversarial. Perhaps you are reading something that is not there? Do you think the game is adversaial?

Grand Lodge ****

nosig wrote:
wow... not sure if I would want to try to use it against another undead - I think most judges would nix it and put me on their suspect list if I tried to use it. Even with a board ruling from JJ on it.

Your words above. The judge WOULD be against me and the judge WOULD put me on a suspect list.

That's adversarial. The judge is against me. The judge will then watch me.

Qadira ***

sveden wrote:
nosig wrote:
wow... not sure if I would want to try to use it against another undead - I think most judges would nix it and put me on their suspect list if I tried to use it. Even with a board ruling from JJ on it.

Your words above. The judge WOULD be against me and the judge WOULD put me on a suspect list.

That's adversarial. The judge is against me. The judge will then watch me.

.

"I think most judges would nix it"
is different from
"The judge is against me." ...
at least it is for me.

"put me on their suspect list"
is ALMOST
"The judge will then watch me."

on the other hand
"...your attitude towards GMs..." is not what you say it is. Sorry?

Shadow Lodge *

/shrug

The other guy who helped make the item replied five posts later and said that it probably wouldn't work unless you had a GM who decided it could.

Qadira ***

Thanks Serum! guess I should have paid more attention rest of the post, not just the parts by James Jacob.

But it does seem to work for Haunts then (n PFS)? I'll double check Additional Resources and pick up a copy of the item (so I can use it with my PCs). Anyone know if it's in the new equipment guide? I have a copy on order, but the local store ran out... sigh.

Osirion ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Topher Hays

I did not see it listed in my copy of ultimate equipment last night as I reviewed it. So I would pick up the adventure path. It's the first in the carrion crown series and the adventure is really fun, I had a great time running it for my home group.

Qadira ***

Topher Hays wrote:
I did not see it listed in my copy of ultimate equipment last night as I reviewed it. So I would pick up the adventure path. It's the first in the carrion crown series and the adventure is really fun, I had a great time running it for my home group.

Thanks Topher!

Osirion ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Topher Hays

Np anything to help a fellow Game Niter :P

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Society® / Pathfinder Society GM Discussion / More Haunting fun... or not. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.