Pathfinder Chronicles: Classic Horrors Revisited (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Chronicles: Classic Horrors Revisited (PFRPG)
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Things from Beyond the Grave

Born of myth, legend, and even modern film and literature, monsters such as the mummy, vampire, werewolf, and zombie are the stuff of nightmares—and frequent foes of heroic adventurers! Along with flesh golems, gargoyles, ghosts, ghouls, hags, and the mysterious derro, these ten monsters are staples of horror fiction and the bane of countless would-be heroes.

This 64-page book explores the origin of these creatures (in both the game world and real-world history), as well as their creation, habitat, society, motivations, and role in a campaign. Each creature also includes information on new and deadly creature variants, such as nosferatu vampires, corpse chill mummies, gemstone gargoyles, host corpse zombies, and phantasmagoric ghosts. What’s more, each chapter provides several new and notable examples of each creature, as well as a fully statted and ready-to-run sample monster, whether it’s a flesh golem barbarian, a derro magister, a ghoul necromancer, a hag water-witch, or a lycanthrope-hunting werewolf.

Whether your campaign is a standard fantasy monster hunt, a gothic romance, or an exercise in terror, Classic Horrors Revisited provides both historical insight and fresh new spins on these traditional icons of fear!

by James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, and F. Wesley Schneider

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-202-9

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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Fantastic Writing

5/5

The idea behind Classic Horrors Revisited is to take ten classic "horror" monsters from D&D's past and expand and update them for Pathfinder. This is the sort of book that could be a bit "blah" in lesser hands, but Paizo put their A-list writing talent on the project: James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, and Wes Scheider. The result is a really good book that adds depth and detail to these monsters while sticking fairly closely to the common understanding of how they operate. In other words, this book isn't a crazy-cool re-imagining of the monsters, but a well-written, cohesive elaboration.

Classic Horrors Revisited is a 64-page, full colour book. I would label the interior artwork as "okay". Better than most other companies', but not as good as Paizo has done in other books. The interior front cover lists books and films that can serve as inspiration for using each of the monsters, while the interior back cover is a reprint of the front cover art (which is a bit too-obviously Dracula to interest me).

The ten monsters covered are: Derro, Flesh Golems, Gargoyles, Ghosts, Ghouls, Hags, Mummies, Vampires, "Walking Dead" (zombies and skeletons), and Werewolves. Each monster receives six pages of coverage, and each entry is broken down into a "flavour" page (a half-page illustration and a half-page in-universe bit of prose), a couple of pages of overview and ecology/society, a few paragraphs on their role in a campaign (which I really liked), a paragraph on two or three known monsters of that kind in Golarion, and then a named NPC example with full stat block and picture. Most monster entries also contain at least a little rules-option "crunch," such as variants, new feats, etc. Here's a little more info about each of the entries:

1. Derro: I really love the Pathfinder approach to Derro--they are creepy, malevolent, and almost alien abductors of people on the surface so that they can perform strange experiments and then return them with no or fragmented memory of what happened. This book introduces four new Derro weapons (Aklys, Crystal Chakram, Fauchard, and Injection Spear) and a new poison (Cytillesh Extract). The sample is Evehxa, a derro magister (enclave leader) and 6th-level sorcerer.

2. Flesh Golem: This will sound stupid, but I never really made the connection between flesh golems and Frankenstein's monster before reading this book! The section has a good discussion of different types of flesh golems, and the writing and world lore is superb. Rules are provided for awakened (sentient) flesh golems, as well as for electrified and unholy variants. The sample is the Beast of Lepidstadt, an awakened flesh golem that haunts Ustalav (written up with 6 levels of barbarian).

3. Gargoyle: I've never found anything particularly interesting about gargoyles in the past, but this book has changed my mind. It's made them scary! Their love of sadism and perverse games gives them an interesting role as capable of inflicting both physical and mental pain. Six variant gargoyles are discussed (arctic, forest, gemstone, obsidian, sandstone, and waterspout), making them useful in far more than just urban environments. The sample is "Ajekrith, the Nightwing Snatcher", a gargoyle with 4 levels of rogue who preys on lone wanderers in Magnimar's Underbridge District.

4. Ghost: There's an insightful discussion here about the differences between ghosts and other undead: not only are they usually bound to a fixed location, but they exist for a particular purpose. I've panned the artwork in this book, but the picture on page 22 of a ghost carrying its own head is fantastic. This entry provides new abilities for ghosts depending on why they're materializing; it's a great way to better tie a ghost's powers to its story, and I highly recommend using it. The sample ghost is Maven Mosslight, a ghost with 9 levels of sorcerer who seeks her lost love in the Boarwood in Galt.

5. Ghouls: I've been running an adventure path that happens to features ghouls quite prominently in one chapter, so I've had a lot of time to think about them. This entry offers some surprisingly deep insights into them. And, I managed to incorporate the symptoms of ghoul fever into the game when a PC got infected. So . . . bonus! This entry includes rules for making ghouls of larger and smaller races, as well as specific mention of what happens if other creatures (like lycanthropes or fire giants) get transformed. Three new feats are added for ghouls, but they have *really* high prerequisites and only exceptional ghouls would be able to qualify. Still, I like them in the abstract: one gives a ghoul bonuses for eating brains, one allows ghouls to pass as humans (and ghasts to suppress their stench), and one gives a ghoul a burrow speed. The sample ghoul is Ehrimun, a 14th level necromancer exiled from the ghoul city of Nemret Noktoria.

6. Hags: I've never really used these in a game, but the entry does provide a useful discussion of the relationship between the three most common types of hags (Annis, green, and sea hags) as well as night hags. There's some discussion of the powers that hag covens (as opposed to individual hags) could possess. The sample is Ulla Jarnrygg, a formidable hag with 9 levels of sorcerer and ice giant ancestry.

7. Mummies: There's an excellent discussion here of the role of mummies in a campaign: as (un)living transmitters and reminders of the game world's history. Mummies are often focussed on recreating the society and time period from when they died, and this allows GMs to incorporate otherwise dry historical information as an important part of a story arc. The entry gives four different ways to re-flavour mummy rot, and the sample mummy is very cool: Shielseis, Queen of Asps in Osirion. The artwork for her is great.

8. Vampires: I'm one of those annoying people who think vampires have been overused in pop culture, and frankly there wasn't anything in this entry that I found new or exciting. The entry offers five new variant vampire abilities, including everything from changing into a swarm to being able to survive longer in daylight. The sample vampire is Audbrey Aldamori, a pretend "aristocratic fop" who travels the Inner Sea feasting on those of noble blood.

9. Walking Dead: We're talking zombies and skeletons here, and Pathfinder sticks with the traditional concept of them being mindless, low-level threats. The artwork in this entry is pretty bad. There's 13 variants, however, which really spice things up. Throw some "Exploding Skeletons" or "Gasburst Zombies" at your players and watch them recoil in surprise! The sample is a "Gillamoor Plague Zombie", which (unlike all the other samples in the book) is not a named NPC.

10. Werewolves: This entry has a good, clear summary of what it means to be a werewolf in Pathfinder (different forms, means of transmission, etc.). I was intrigued by a passing mention of good werewolves inspired by the dead god Curchanus. The sample NPC is Ruxandra Katranjiev, a werewolf with levels in ranger who is also a cleric of the goddess Jezelda and wants to purge the Varisian town of Wolf's Ear of all non-werewolf lycanthropes.

Classic Horrors Revisited is an older book (2009), and some of the monsters here have also been revisited in more recent Pathfinder products (such as ghouls and vampires in the Monster Codex and derro in the Inner Sea Monster Codex). That being said, there's great value for the money here if a GM is hoping to gain better understanding of these monsters and to add more depth to running them in a storyline. Bestiaries can give a basic stat block, but usually don't have room for much description, making books like this one quite useful. As I said at the beginning, the writing is top-notch even if the artwork is of varying quality. I'd definitely recommend this one for a GM who is interested in any of the monsters covered.


Things that go bump in the night

5/5

These books are brilliant. They give you the flavour that you wish they could fit into the one page creature descriptions which you just know they cannot.

Buy these books, as I have never struck a bad one yet :)


Bring the Horror! Classic Horrors Revisited!

4/5

This is a great suppliment made to spark the fevered imagination of the most Jaded DM back to sadistic life! Check out my full review: Classic Horrors Revisited


Paizo brings the Horrors home

5/5

I love horror, and I love pulp fantasy, so it's no surprise that I love this. It's a great collection of classic monsters, from immortals like vampires and werewolves through their lesser-known cousins like the ghoul and the hag, to newcomers like the derro and the flesh golem.

The monsters are brought to (un)life in classic style, and the NPC critters are very well done and nicely illustrated as well. There are new feats and tips to individualize any monsters of your own creation as well. This book is worth every penny I paid for it.


Even More Horrifying

5/5

A solid product packed with suggestions on how to add a new twist on a number of gothic monsters. Tons of hooks and ideas to help spark a GM's imagination.

Absolutely worth picking up if you're planning on running a horror themed adventure, and are looking for something a little different to terrify your players with.


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Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Magathus wrote:
Demiurge 1138 wrote:

Hot female succubi. The art was reused from one of the modules.

Would you happen to remember which module offhand?

D3, The Demon Within


Woah! After seeing the new art, I'm inclined to call this "Classic Covers Revisited". Well played :).

Dark Archive

He looks a bit like Strahad(sp) from Ravenloft.... of course that might be on purpose.... or cause he looked like classic Dracula in the first place.

Scarab Sages

New cover = nice!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Aberzombie wrote:
New cover = nice!

Shoulda had Aberzombie as one of the "Classic Horrors"... just sayin' :)

Scarab Sages

flash_cxxi wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
New cover = nice!
Shoulda had Aberzombie as one of the "Classic Horrors"... just sayin' :)

True! I think I at least rate a sidebar...

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Magathus wrote:
Demiurge 1138 wrote:

Hot female succubi. The art was reused from one of the modules.

Would you happen to remember which module offhand?

D3: The Demon Within

Dark Archive

Dark_Mistress wrote:
He looks a bit like Strahad(sp) from Ravenloft.... of course that might be on purpose.... or cause he looked like classic Dracula in the first place.

I think it's a tribute to classic pictures of *both* Strahd and Dracula. :)

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Asgetrion wrote:
I think it's a tribute to classic pictures of *both* Strahd and Dracula. :)

And Edward Cullen?

Contributor

yoda8myhead wrote:
And Edward Cullen?

Only on the limited edition foil cover.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
He looks a bit like Strahad(sp) from Ravenloft.... of course that might be on purpose.... or cause he looked like classic Dracula in the first place.

You Mean This?.

Dark Archive

Dragnmoon wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
He looks a bit like Strahad(sp) from Ravenloft.... of course that might be on purpose.... or cause he looked like classic Dracula in the first place.

You Mean This?.

Yep that was the image I was thinking of.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Asgetrion wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
He looks a bit like Strahad(sp) from Ravenloft.... of course that might be on purpose.... or cause he looked like classic Dracula in the first place.
I think it's a tribute to classic pictures of *both* Strahd and Dracula. :)

This.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
David Schwartz wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
And Edward Cullen?
Only on the limited edition foil cover.

!!!Don't tease me!!!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

DitheringFool wrote:
David Schwartz wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
And Edward Cullen?
Only on the limited edition foil cover.
!!!Don't tease me!!!

OK.

Dark Archive

yoda8myhead wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
I think it's a tribute to classic pictures of *both* Strahd and Dracula. :)
And Edward Cullen?

Nasty, evil Yoda... you just had to ruin the mood on this thread, didn't you? ;P

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
DitheringFool wrote:
David Schwartz wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
And Edward Cullen?
Only on the limited edition foil cover.
!!!Don't tease me!!!
OK.

yeah...uh...ok...I meant about there being a limited edition with a foil cover...not the vampire who thought this spell combo was a good idea: permanency and glitter

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Well, a foil cover would sorta be glittery, right?


January??

I thought Zombies were supposed to get closer to you when you looked away?

Scarab Sages

Dark Psion wrote:

January??

I thought Zombies were supposed to get closer to you when you looked away?

moves closer to Dark Psion when he's not looking


I love how Pathfinder Bestiary makes vampire spawn a variant wight with a few extra abilities rather than wasting a whole stat block on the things when they were always variant wights anyway.

I do hope that Classic Horrors Revisited will go into more details about the creation of Vampire Spawn and why and when a vampire might elect to make someone into a vampire spawn rather than a full-fledged vampire.

In 3.5e it wasn't really a vampire's choice, it was automatically determined by the means of attack and the HD of the victim, so I'd like to see more information that supports the change. (You could of course say the vampire still had the choice of means of attack in 3.5e.)

Pathfinder Reference Document wrote:

Vampire Spawn

A vampire can elect to create a vampire spawn instead of a full-fledged vampire when she uses her create spawn ability on a humanoid creature only. This decision must be made as a free action whenever a vampire slays an appropriate creature by using blood drain or energy drain. A vampire spawn's statistics are identical to those of a wight, save for the following changes.

* It gains the blood drain and dominate vampire special attacks.
* It gains channel resistance +2, DR 5/silver, resist cold and energy 10, fast healing 2, and the vampire qualities listed above (gaseous form, shadowless, and spider climb).
* A vampire spawn gains all of the standard vampire weaknesses.
* A vampire spawn is CR 4.

I've just been reading some more in Dungeon Denizens Revisited recently and I really love the Revisited series.


Dark Psion wrote:

January??

I thought Zombies were supposed to get closer to you when you looked away?

That's only if they have Bend the Land ability.

Disappointed to see it is January too. Wasn't it originally November or am I going crazy?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Wolf Munroe wrote:
Dark Psion wrote:

January??

I thought Zombies were supposed to get closer to you when you looked away?

That's only if they have Bend the Land ability.

Disappointed to see it is January too. Wasn't it originally November or am I going crazy?

It was indeed originally November. Pretty much ALL of our non-rulebook books slipped a month or two due to us having to shift gears for a month or two to deal with rulebooks.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
It was indeed originally November. Pretty much ALL of our non-rulebook books slipped a month or two due to us having to shift gears for a month or two to deal with rulebooks.

I'm disappointed because I really want this one as soon as possible, but given that you've got the choice of Fast or Good, I'll take Good and be glad that Paizo's got more pride in its products than some companies and takes the time necessary to do the job right instead of shoving stuff out the door before it's ready.


On the subject of mummies something that may prove interesting for an additional real world read is National Geographic's November or December 09 (don't remember which as I don't have a copy in front of me at the moment) article on animal and meat mummies. Apparently the ancient Egyptians mummified a lot of different things - meat as a meal for the deceased while waiting to get to the afterlife; and a variety of animals including one that caused my eyes to bug a little bit when I saw it -elephants. That would be a HELL of a lot of natron to fully dessicate an elephant. Also everything from scarabs and lizards to lions and crocodiles.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I was about to ask about why it's not in my november bundle, but you answered. ;-)

The mummy thing sounds cool, and sounds like things like mummy dragons are more 'reasonable'


Vic Wertz wrote:
DitheringFool wrote:
David Schwartz wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
And Edward Cullen?
Only on the limited edition foil cover.
!!!Don't tease me!!!
OK.

You're my hero, Vic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So according to the Product Schedule, the release date for this has been moved up to December? Man I hope that's the case. I'd love to get my hands on this thing ASAP.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It started in November, slipped to December, then apparently slipped again to January, and now it's back to December. I'm glad of that.

Maybe someone tied a bungee cord to it when they pushed the release back and we got lucky with the rebound.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Paul Ryan wrote:

It started in November, slipped to December, then apparently slipped again to January, and now it's back to December. I'm glad of that.

Maybe someone tied a bungee cord to it when they pushed the release back and we got lucky with the rebound.

This is a good example of why it's so hard to predict ship dates when you print overseas. Until the finished products arrive in our warehouse, we can only guess.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
This is a good example of why it's so hard to predict ship dates when you print overseas. Until the finished products arrive in our warehouse, we can only guess.

The fact that you do your best to give us your guess and keep it updated as your estimates change is greatly appreciated.


I like the brief descriptions you give the sample characters. Pity it had to be pushed back to January though. I'll be going to something called 'Further Confusion' in January and was hoping to take this book in particular along to see if I could turn anyone on to Paizo/Pathfinder; I've already made a few converts.

But as others have said, better 'late and good' than 'fast and bad'.

Dark Archive

Eric Hinkle wrote:

I like the brief descriptions you give the sample characters. Pity it had to be pushed back to January though. I'll be going to something called 'Further Confusion' in January and was hoping to take this book in particular along to see if I could turn anyone on to Paizo/Pathfinder; I've already made a few converts.

But as others have said, better 'late and good' than 'fast and bad'.

Furry! *glom* I thought I was all alone on these boards!


Mikhaila Burnett wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:

I like the brief descriptions you give the sample characters. Pity it had to be pushed back to January though. I'll be going to something called 'Further Confusion' in January and was hoping to take this book in particular along to see if I could turn anyone on to Paizo/Pathfinder; I've already made a few converts.

But as others have said, better 'late and good' than 'fast and bad'.

Furry! *glom* I thought I was all alone on these boards!

I think there's a few of us around. Now we have to start a thread so we can make our insanely overpowered 'furry' races because Paizo is unfairly ignoring us*. XD

* -- Just kidding.

Dark Archive

Eric Hinkle wrote:


I think there's a few of us around. Now we have to start a thread so we can make our insanely overpowered 'furry' races because Paizo is unfairly ignoring us*. XD

* -- Just kidding.

Heh, I started an 'alt lifestyle'-ish thread wherein I mentioned that I was a Furry. Of all the things I am that don't bother people, Furry seems to rub people's fur the wrong way. (ba-dum-dish)

Yeah, I think that I'll be starting a furry thread sometime just to see how many of us there are.

Maybe I'll run into you at FC, though I've completely missed it the last few years because of one reason or another.


And now it looks like it's back to January again. This book is such a tease.

Paizo Employee CEO

Wolf Munroe wrote:
And now it looks like it's back to January again. This book is such a tease.

It's at the printer, but won't be arriving until the very end of December, which will make it a January release.

-Lisa


Lisa Stevens wrote:
Wolf Munroe wrote:
And now it looks like it's back to January again. This book is such a tease.

It's at the printer, but won't be arriving until the very end of December, which will make it a January release.

-Lisa

I know it's just being coy and playing hard to get.

Thanks for the reply. I was really just being silly. I am really looking forward to this one but it bats its long eyelashes at me and runs away.


I sincerely hope the print batch is nice and big so Amazon will get it's copies earlier than the expected so I can get mine in January (I got an Amazon gift card for Xmas so I bought this and the Devil book which has already shipped from Delaware and I live in Philly with free all you can eat two day shipping with Amazon; I'm praying to get it Monday) at some point. I'm not going to use everything in here but I see enough here that I know I will use that I want this ASAP.


Mikhaila Burnett wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:


I think there's a few of us around. Now we have to start a thread so we can make our insanely overpowered 'furry' races because Paizo is unfairly ignoring us*. XD

* -- Just kidding.

Heh, I started an 'alt lifestyle'-ish thread wherein I mentioned that I was a Furry. Of all the things I am that don't bother people, Furry seems to rub people's fur the wrong way. (ba-dum-dish)

Yeah, I think that I'll be starting a furry thread sometime just to see how many of us there are.

Maybe I'll run into you at FC, though I've completely missed it the last few years because of one reason or another.

This is one of a few things that I am really looking at for something I am going be running at AC this year and probably Fur Fright as well. Call it a convention AP inspired heavily by Lovecraft on a furry Pathfinder world.


I never thought I'd say this but I REALLY want this module! I love dark Gothic adventures!!


It's finally out! Yay!

I know what I'll be using my Paizo New Year's coupon on!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
johnofthewired wrote:
I never thought I'd say this but I REALLY want this module! I love dark Gothic adventures!!

It isn't a module. Anything in the Chronicles line is a source book.

Edit: You can find Paizo's modules here.


You really should shoot for a Halloween time release.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well time once again for me to ask the question of if these have started to ship yet?

Dark Archive

Kevin Mack wrote:
Well time once again for me to ask the question of if these have started to ship yet?

I got a email about several books about to ship last week. Normally i get that a week before they actually ship. I am 90% sure this one was on that list. So likely it will ship late this week or early next, depending of course on how you have yours set to ship.

Just my guess.

Paizo Employee CEO

Kevin Mack wrote:
Well time once again for me to ask the question of if these have started to ship yet?

Nope. One of the subscription products for January was supposed to be here last week and is running late. Once it arrives, we will start shipping out. Stupid late delivery. :(

-Lisa

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Never mind just got an email saying that the order has been held up by customs for a week (Ironically the same thing seemed to happen at about the exact same time last year if memory serves me)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Well time once again for me to ask the question of if these have started to ship yet?

Nope. One of the subscription products for January was supposed to be here last week and is running late. Once it arrives, we will start shipping out. Stupid late delivery. :(

-Lisa

Uh does that mean the other items are available to be shipped? If so would it be possible to have them shipped separately? (I don't mind having to pay a little extra to get them.)

Paizo Employee CEO

darth_borehd wrote:
You really should shoot for a Halloween time release.

We did shoot for a Halloween release. Does that happen on January 25th? ;>

At least we are in time for Halloween 2010!

-Lisa

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