Pathfinder Chronicles: Classic Horrors Revisited (PFRPG)

4.80/5 (based on 9 ratings)
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

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Solid, but lacks daring

4/5

Classic Horrors Revisited does not disappoint by any stretch. The usual Paizo values of sound mechanics, style and art are all there. So it's a good monster book.

Still, four stars is generous, while three would have been miserly. What's not to like? Well, although each monster revisit is interesting and well-rounded, it lacks the genuinely new. The mummy and gargoyles come closest to a new take on the old monsters I enjoyed with the Goblins and Ogres in Classic Monsters, but mostly the authors stay close to the classical interpretation of the monsters (or, in the case of the Derro, the Paizo-established one).

The sidebars explaining the sources of horror for each creature are insightful, and elevate this from three to four star status.


Classic Indeed

5/5

I'm not in the mood to write a full-fledged review of this book, but for now, let me say that I do not love this book. I crazy-love it. It has a place of honor on my bedside table next to Carrion Hill.

This is a deep resource, richly steeped in the source materials. It's beautifully illustrated. The only two imperfections I see in it are the Derro feats that weren't included (no problem--available here online for free) and the hag illustrations (funny, but not the direction I would have gone).




Another Job Well Done

5/5

I have really enjoyed reading and looking through this latest in the "revisited" series of books for Paizo's Pathfinder Chronicles line. I especially enjoyed the variant abilities, the sample monsters, and the opening from Ailson Kindler (a sort of female Van Helsing I gather).

I would recommend this to any Fantasy RPG gamer, not just a Pathfinder player or v.3.5 player. This is great stuff.


Another Win!

5/5

Ok, ok, I know that much of this has been retread a million zillion times. Ok, ok, I know it's a collection of related monsters. But this is Paizo's treatment. And they have never disappointed me with their 'revisited' collections, and this is no exception. Beautiful art, incredible writing and solid mechanics. Bravo!


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Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Asgetrion wrote:
... the more I hear about ... variant campire abilities, the more excited I grow as I'm waiting for my copy to arrive!

I know it was a typo ... but ....

CAMPIRE!!!

I'd say definitely every single vampire from Underworld, for example, was actually a "campire". :-)


Doug OBrien wrote:
Now, maybe I missed it in my initial flip-through, but I would have liked a bit more ecology and a note on where these creatures fit into Golarion. Again, I may find more to adders this upon a closer look.

Are we still talking about the derro specifically, or are you talking in general about the rest of the creatures in the book? If you're talking about derro, they live in warrens under several of Golarion's cities. Specifically...

Spoiler:
they are know to have dwellings beneath Korvosa in Varisia(see PF#7 Edge of Anarchy) and Corentyn in Taldor (see Cities of Golarion). I think there is also a reference to a derro enclave beneath one of the major Chelaxian cities, possibly Egorian, but I am not sure off hand about the details or where I saw them.
Paizo Employee Creative Director

Seldriss wrote:

In the Gargoyles chapter, four armed gargoyles are mentioned, but they are not in the variants section.

Are these stated somewhere, in another supplement ?

Four-armed gargoyles are statted up in the Tome of Horrors. But if you want to just give a normal gargoyle two extra claw attacks... that works as well.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

"Into the Darklands" has a bit more information about derros, specifically more information about where they live in Golarion. We didn't reprint that in "Classic Horrors" because we wanted to include more about derro society and all that; there just wasn't room, and since that info already existed in print it was an easy choice. (Also, we try to focus less on Golarion and more on the monsters in this line of books anyway.)


James Jacobs wrote:
"Into the Darklands" has a bit more information about derros, specifically more information about where they live in Golarion. We didn't reprint that in "Classic Horrors" because we wanted to include more about derro society and all that; there just wasn't room, and since that info already existed in print it was an easy choice. (Also, we try to focus less on Golarion and more on the monsters in this line of books anyway.)

I completely understand the constraints from both a thematic and page-count perspective.

Thank you, and also Davelozzi, for a point in the right direction for the desired info! =)

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Seldriss wrote:

In the Gargoyles chapter, four armed gargoyles are mentioned, but they are not in the variants section.

Are these stated somewhere, in another supplement ?
Four-armed gargoyles are statted up in the Tome of Horrors. But if you want to just give a normal gargoyle two extra claw attacks... that works as well.

This reminds me... I wonder if Bestiary 2 will have rules/template for building four-armed creatures?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Asgetrion wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Seldriss wrote:

In the Gargoyles chapter, four armed gargoyles are mentioned, but they are not in the variants section.

Are these stated somewhere, in another supplement ?
Four-armed gargoyles are statted up in the Tome of Horrors. But if you want to just give a normal gargoyle two extra claw attacks... that works as well.
This reminds me... I wonder if Bestiary 2 will have rules/template for building four-armed creatures?

Probably not.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Seldriss wrote:

In the Gargoyles chapter, four armed gargoyles are mentioned, but they are not in the variants section.

Are these stated somewhere, in another supplement ?
Four-armed gargoyles are statted up in the Tome of Horrors. But if you want to just give a normal gargoyle two extra claw attacks... that works as well.
This reminds me... I wonder if Bestiary 2 will have rules/template for building four-armed creatures?
Probably not.

Awwww.... James, don't you know we want to have our four-armed fiendish gnomes in PF RPG? ;P

Dark Archive

gbonehead wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
... the more I hear about ... variant campire abilities, the more excited I grow as I'm waiting for my copy to arrive!

I know it was a typo ... but ....

CAMPIRE!!!

I'd say definitely every single vampire from Underworld, for example, was actually a "campire". :-)

C'mon, don't tell me you haven't heard of Chelish Campires? They are partially fiery creatures (relatives to Realmsian Vampyres) who materialize in campfires, leaping out to surprise hapless travelers! ;P

Dark Archive

Aberzombie wrote:
I really enjoyed this book. Kudos to the writers.

Isn't this like a porn mag for you? ;P

Liberty's Edge

mine.....all....mine......


hehe anyone notice that we can now put the Doctor on Golarion...the weeping angels feature as a variant gargoyle


A very good read and some interesting mythological variants of popular monsters. The only thing that seemed off was the challenge rating for the Gillamoor Plague Zombie which seemed kind of low in comparison to other challenge rating one monsters.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

ntin wrote:
A very good read and some interesting mythological variants of popular monsters. The only thing that seemed off was the challenge rating for the Gillamoor Plague Zombie which seemed kind of low in comparison to other challenge rating one monsters.

By the rules, the Gillamoor plague zombie would be CR 1 (CR 1/2 for normal plague zombie, +1 CR for relentless, +0 CR for brain-eating), keeping in mind that it loses the standard zombie DR/slashing.

Its stats do fit more for a CR 2 creature however, especially with all of its extra added abilities.

That said, I think one of these wouldn't be too hard for a group of 1st-level adventurers to take on, if you wanted to leave them at CR 1.

Sovereign Court

As I'll soon be playing a Whispering Way alchemist, and really loved Clasic Horrors Revisited, I came up with the following discovery:

Ungents of Animation: You can spend 25 gp per Hit Die on a concoction to create undead as per the spell animate dead, save that you can only create alchemical zombies (Clasic Horrors Revisited 54). An alchemist must be at least 8th level before selecting this discovery.

Think this works?


I just saw on the blog that this book is nominated for an ENnie but it's up against the Pathfinder Bestiary.

I'm pretty sure the Bestiary will beat it out since it's a core book and everyone loves it but Classic Horrors Revisited is my favorite book in the Chronicles line and I hope it wins anyway!

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Remember to vote for Pathfinder Chronicles: Classic Horrors Revisited for Best Monster/Adversary!

And don't forget to vote for Mark Green for 2011 ENnies Judge!

-Mark
My judge profile

Contributor

Lamashan Dalastonor wrote:

As I'll soon be playing a Whispering Way alchemist, and really loved Clasic Horrors Revisited, I came up with the following discovery:

Ungents of Animation: You can spend 25 gp per Hit Die on a concoction to create undead as per the spell animate dead, save that you can only create alchemical zombies (Clasic Horrors Revisited 54). An alchemist must be at least 8th level before selecting this discovery.

Think this works?

Yeah, that's cool. Just put a level 7 requirement on the discovery and you're golden.


Vigil wrote:

So is Rob a big Dr. Who fan?

I only ask because the "Blind Angels" in the gargoyle chapter is very reminiscent of "Blink" from season three of the new show.

Not that that is a bad thing. In fact, it's good. It's very good.

I'm glad I'm not the only Doctor Who fan to have noticed this! =:-o

Cheers, JohnH / Wanda


After having read this superb book, I have a question pertaining to the Harlot Queen...

In Classic Horrors Revisited, she is described as a mummy, right?

But I thought that in the Campaign Setting hardcover, she is described as a lich?

Which (if either) is correct?? :-/

Cheers, JohnH / Wanda

Contributor

It is unclear which is correct. She's been depicted as a mummy, but there's no reason why she couldn't have been mummified, and then had her soul put into a phylactery, which would make her a lich.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
It is unclear which is correct. She's been depicted as a mummy, but there's no reason why she couldn't have been mummified, and then had her soul put into a phylactery, which would make her a lich.

And why not both?

Contributor

Agreed. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

A more exact answer, though, is that Arazni the Harlot Queen is a lich. Has been since Pathfinder #2, so that's got squatter's rights. (That, and she's a lich, and depicted as such, in the upcoming World Guide: The Inner Sea.)


James Jacobs wrote:
A more exact answer, though, is that Arazni the Harlot Queen is a lich. Has been since Pathfinder #2, so that's got squatter's rights. (That, and she's a lich, and depicted as such, in the upcoming World Guide: The Inner Sea.)

And here I thought the official word would be, "Nobody's survived to report back with any greater degree of accuracy. . ." ;-D

Thanks and Cheers, JohnH / Wanda


James Jacobs wrote:
A more exact answer, though, is that Arazni the Harlot Queen is a lich. Has been since Pathfinder #2, so that's got squatter's rights. (That, and she's a lich, and depicted as such, in the upcoming World Guide: The Inner Sea.)

And, if you don't believe dear, sweet James, just stop by Mechitar for dinner one night and see for yourself!

Scarab Sages

Just wanted in jump in here to talk about James' Derro entry. This is absolutely phenomenal, and completely redefined how I thought about a relatively minor classic monster.

Bravo, sir!

I will seriously begin considering how to incorporate these little beasts into my own campaign, and hope that we'll see more of them in the future. This one hits all the right buttons for me, and I think it's one of the strongest designs I've encountered from Paizo, which is saying something.

While we're on the subject, I was completely unaware of the Shaver Mystery, and would love to pick up a book on the subject. However, most of what's listed on Amazon looks like it has a high probability of being second-rate. Does anyone have suggestions on research material?

Finally, my only disappointment was in the "Hags" section. While I loved what was written, I was disappointed by how little was said on the subject of Night Hags. Can we hope to see more about them in the future?

Oh, and in a final note, I wanted to say that I appreciated the subtle reference to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Mound" on p. 5, one of his most under-appreciated masterpieces. "Blue-litten catacombs", indeed.


weirmonken wrote:

Just wanted in jump in here to talk about James' Derro entry. This is absolutely phenomenal, and completely redefined how I thought about a relatively minor classic monster.

Bravo, sir!

While we're on the subject, I was completely unaware of the Shaver Mystery, and would love to pick up a book on the subject. However, most of what's listed on Amazon looks like it has a high probability of being second-rate. Does anyone have suggestions on research material?

The only two books that deal with it that I can recommend would be Walter Kafton-Minkel's Subterranean Worlds, a sympathetic yet very skeptical overview, and Lost Continents and the Hollow Earth by Adventures Unlimited Press, which is written by true believers. I'd go for SW myself, as it also goes into detail about other hollow earth/underworld legends and myths besides the derro, like the serpent people, prehistoric monsters, and (of course) UFOs.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

weirmonken wrote:

Just wanted in jump in here to talk about James' Derro entry. This is absolutely phenomenal, and completely redefined how I thought about a relatively minor classic monster.

Bravo, sir!

I will seriously begin considering how to incorporate these little beasts into my own campaign, and hope that we'll see more of them in the future. This one hits all the right buttons for me, and I think it's one of the strongest designs I've encountered from Paizo, which is saying something.

While we're on the subject, I was completely unaware of the Shaver Mystery, and would love to pick up a book on the subject. However, most of what's listed on Amazon looks like it has a high probability of being second-rate. Does anyone have suggestions on research material?

Finally, my only disappointment was in the "Hags" section. While I loved what was written, I was disappointed by how little was said on the subject of Night Hags. Can we hope to see more about them in the future?

Oh, and in a final note, I wanted to say that I appreciated the subtle reference to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Mound" on p. 5, one of his most under-appreciated masterpieces. "Blue-litten catacombs", indeed.

You should check out "Into the Darklands," then, since "The Mound" was one of the BIGGEST influences on that book as I was writing it—that's why Golarion has a tripartite darklands, after all, because of how the underworld was set up in "The Mound." It's also the first book where we talk about derro, and it has some more (not much, but a little) info about them and their cities.

Scarab Sages

James Jacobs wrote:
You should check out "Into the Darklands," then, since "The Mound" was one of the BIGGEST influences on that book as I was writing it—that's why Golarion has a tripartite darklands, after all, because of how the underworld was set up in "The Mound." It's also the first book where we talk about derro, and it has some more (not much, but a little) info about them and their cities.

Thanks for the suggestion. I actually picked up "Into the Darklands" at the same time as Classic Horrors Revised, but haven't had a chance to sit down with it yet. I'll certainly make time, though!


I know it was mentioned further up, but I've been reading some of the Pathfinder settings books that I've only glanced at previously. I was very pleased to see the Weeping Angels as a gargoyle variant.


So, can someone give me a bit of info on what werewolves get in this book? I really liked White Wolf's Ravenloft books how they let you change up your werewolves and such, so I was wondering if this book does similar, or what?

I plan on buying it either way, but if someone can sell me on the werewolf info, it will move up on my priority list heh.


Rob McCreary wrote:
ntin wrote:
A very good read and some interesting mythological variants of popular monsters. The only thing that seemed off was the challenge rating for the Gillamoor Plague Zombie which seemed kind of low in comparison to other challenge rating one monsters.

By the rules, the Gillamoor plague zombie would be CR 1 (CR 1/2 for normal plague zombie, +1 CR for relentless, +0 CR for brain-eating), keeping in mind that it loses the standard zombie DR/slashing.

Its stats do fit more for a CR 2 creature however, especially with all of its extra added abilities.

That said, I think one of these wouldn't be too hard for a group of 1st-level adventurers to take on, if you wanted to leave them at CR 1.

The Apocalypse Zombie that appears in Carrion Crown's bestiary section (sorry, can't remember which volume) is identical to the Gillamoor Plague Zombie except it lost its Grab ability. I think the lose of Grab is an accidental omission since Grab is granted by one of its listed zombie upgrades. It's listed at CR 2.


Concerning the Queen of Asps, the sample mummy in Classic Horrors Revisited, how are her stats generated? When comparing her to the standard mummy from the Bestiary, she's way better. Her STR score is the same, but everything else is higher. At first I thought maybe she had the Advanced Simple Template, but that would take up her STR too.


John Mangrum wrote:
Wolf Munroe wrote:
I suspect the nosferatu of Denizens of Darkness(D&D3.0) and Denizens of Dread(D&D3.5) go the way they do to put them apart from the Nosferatu clan of Vampire: The Masquerade, which were more like Count Orlok and Barlow in appearance.

Actually, the real answer was pretty mundane; those nosferatu were a "grandfathered" element from second edition.

2E Ravenloft included a number of variant monsters which, although nicely atmospheric, were essentially identical to the "standard" monsters they replaced. (In 2E, the mechanical difference between a fire elemental and a pyre elemental, or a treant and an evil treant: none.)

The 2E nosferatu was one of these variants. Once the fluff is pushed aside, the 2E Ravenloft nosferatu is nothing more than a Monster Manual vampire without the energy drain ability. These nosferatu were tied into the RL setting (including at least one darklord), and thus I felt they should be preserved somehow, but for 3E purposes this was a distinction so minor it barely warranted a sidebar mention, much less a full monster entry.

To make bringing nosferatu into 3E worthwhile, they needed to become much more distinctive, and thus came the decision to model 3E nosferatu on the classic "Byronic" vampire that predominated before (and in way culminated in) Dracula.

Actual Nosferatu-inspired nosferatu didn't exist in 2E Ravenloft, but I've always liked the monstrous nature of actual vampire folklore, so the vrykolaka variant was created to stand alongside the "beautiful" nosferatu.

Thanks for this reply. Not sure how I missed this before. Interesting read, caused me to pull out my copy of Denizens of Dread and reread some of it.

And in keeping this on topic for a product discussion...

Classic Horrors Revisited is still one of my favorite Pathfinder Chronicles/Pathfinder Campaign Setting books, right along with Rule of Fear.

After rereading parts of this thread, I need to make sure my own Apocalypse Zombies have the Grab ability I pointed out the ones in the Carrion Crown volume were missing up-thread.

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