Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

4.60/5 (based on 32 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Chapter 1: "Haunting of Harrowstone"
by Michael Kortes

When Harrowstone Prison burned to the ground, prisoners, guards, and a host of vicious madmen met a terrifying end. In the years since, the nearby town of Ravengro has shunned the fire-scarred ruins, telling tales of unquiet spirits that wander abandoned cellblocks. But when a mysterious evil disturbs Harrowstone’s tenuous spiritual balance, a ghostly prison riot commences that threatens to consume the nearby village in madness and flames. Can the adventurers discover the secrets of Harrowstone and quell a rebellion of the dead? Or will they be the spirit-prison’s next inmates?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Carrion Crown Adventure Path and includes:
  • “The Haunting of Harrowstone,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Michael Kortes
  • A tour of Ravengro, village of mystery and suspicion, by Michael Kortes
  • Expanded rules for creating and running horrific haunts, by Brandon Hodge
  • An ancient revenge is reborn in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by F. Wesley Schneider
  • Six new monsters, by Adam Daigle and Patrick Renie

Each monthly full-color softcover 96-page Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-308-8

The Haunting of Harrowstone is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (561 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Bad encounters

1/5

A creature with 10 hardness and a creature with permanent invisibility, both with negligible accuracy and damage to be fought at second level are bad encounter design.


Spooky Goodness

5/5

I loved running this part of the adventure, the setting of Harrowstone is perfect with a eerie Luigi's Mansion vibe throughout Book 1.


Haunting of Harrowstone: How to do it.

5/5

It is a great adventure. So do the extra work to do it right.

The Trust system doesn't work well. So just fix it. Don't subtract a point every day. Find other reasons to give away trust points. Like defeating a random encounter, be seen coming back from the prison with injuries, making acts of good faith in town, etc.

The time limit on the blood written names I too much time. Because its soo much time it does not provide the urgency it was meant to and I fear the point is often lost. Have a letter be written every night. This gives 9 days. Skip a night if they stop Gibs or whoever replaces him.

Haunts: Make sure you really understand how these work. To learn how to destroy the haunts have the players make two checks. One for Knowledge religion and one for Knowledge Local at DC 15s. Maybe higher for more powerful haunts. Remember you can make untrained knowledge checks if you have access to a library (like the professors). Give a bonus to these checks if the characters have communicated with the haunt via linguistics.

Somebody on this thread made their own cards for the results of these knowledge checks. They are great, use them.
Also a company called Legendary Games made a bunch of 3rd party extra material for this. They call it Gothic Adventure Path Plug ins but it is designed specifically for this Adventure Path. Great stuff there.


Good atmosphere but no trust points

4/5

The premise is simple. The PCs are old friends of professor Lorrimor, a researcher of dark magic. When they get word of the professor's death, they can't but attend to the good professor's funeral in Ravengro, a small little town in a remote location. His daughter Kendra is the only living relative and she hosts the party, with whom the characters will become well acquainted during these grieving days.

In the professor's will, he asks our heroes to deliver his most valuable books to the university of Lepidstadt but wait! this can wait for a month. During the month that the characters are stuck in Ravengro, they have the chance to read the old man's research journal and start investigating why and how their old friend died. It is during that investigation that they learn the grim history of the town's old jailhouse and the spirits that haunt it.

I find the logic of the story a bit flimsy. A friend of mine dies and he wants me to stay in town for a whole month? Who seriously expects a complete stranger (as good a friend as he can be) to drop his or her whole life and babysit his daughter for a month before embarking in a perilous journey just for old times' sake? If your players are moderately normal, they'll try to sneak out of the small town to start the mission straight away.

What I find most baffling is that the author felt the need to create a point reward system to encourage talking to the locals and establishing ties with the town. This comes off as weird because 1) The adventure does not take place interacting with locals (except perhaps the adventure hook, the daughter of the dead professor) and there's not a lot of downtime to allow this and 2) There aren't enough encounters to gather those 'trust' points.

Faced with a point system that forces the players to fail, what's the worst thing that could happen anyway? The punishments range from surcharges in shop prices to negative diplomacy bonuses to being chased by an angry mob (in the very worst case). Not too terrible as long as the score is positive. You have to wonder why they bothered creating such a system. I didn't like it much.

Most of the module is a great dungeon with a creepy horror mood looking for some ghosts and unraveling the backstory of the whole place. Really good, except for the glitches outlined above,

My rating: 4 stars. It’s a good adventure with a lot of character and atmosphere. Some minor things detract from it: a faulty trust point mechanic that needs to be fixed and pointless events that distract from the mission without adding anything in return.

Read my whole review here


Great Time at PFS Event

5/5

A bit of a challenge to prepare, since the Pathfinder Society starts the sanctioned event at the middle of the Adventure Path. With that said, the scenarios are challenging and fun for everyone in the party. There is a good blend of various creatures, haunts and other undead to allow everyone to find a role at the table. The mechanics are not overtly complicated and are easy to run.

The storyline is intriguing and you will want as much time as possible to explore the Harrowstone prison grounds as well as interact in the town of Ravengro to build the suspense. Seven hours passed by quickly, but good times nonetheless.


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Dark Archive

gbonehead wrote:
Lanx wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Damn, it's still likely going to be a few weeks before my copy arrives at my FLGS... :(

I want spoilers from subscribers, or else I'm sending my imp squad to steal everyone's underwear!

So now, what can I say ... as Dark_Mistress has mentioned, it is quite pinkish ... very pretty ...
Um ... you are talking about the AP, right?

That too. ;p

Vic - Ah ok I was just guessing how it would work.

Asg - there is other than the adventure, fiction, bestiary as always. 14 new haunts(roughly I just quickly counted them) and a section on the town this adventure takes place in.


Odd, i have recently subscribed (last week) and have received no e-mail notification yet. Should I break out a brown paper bag to start hyperventilating into or is there some process I'm unaware of?

Just in case i will get the bag out and have it near me.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lanx wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Damn, it's still likely going to be a few weeks before my copy arrives at my FLGS... :(

I want spoilers from subscribers, or else I'm sending my imp squad to steal everyone's underwear!

So now, what can I say ... as Dark_Mistress has mentioned, it is quite pinkish ... very pretty ...

You're wearing pink underwear, Lanx? :O Must resist... must resist... AARGH, I gotta have it!

My faithful imps, daddy has a mission for you!

Dark Archive

Aaron Scott 139 wrote:

Odd, i have recently subscribed (last week) and have received no e-mail notification yet. Should I break out a brown paper bag to start hyperventilating into or is there some process I'm unaware of?

Just in case i will get the bag out and have it near me.

Not yet, it seems to take about 3-4 days from when the first orders start and the last ones go out. I know I have had to wait 3 days before mine was done after people had started to get theirs. With you just subscribing there is likely a good chance you will be at the very back of the line. :(

If you don't get a email by Friday then I would contact customer service and check on it.

Dark Archive

Asgetrion wrote:
Lanx wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Damn, it's still likely going to be a few weeks before my copy arrives at my FLGS... :(

I want spoilers from subscribers, or else I'm sending my imp squad to steal everyone's underwear!

So now, what can I say ... as Dark_Mistress has mentioned, it is quite pinkish ... very pretty ...

You're wearing pink underwear, Lanx? :O Must resist... must resist... AARGH, I gotta have it!

My faithful imps, daddy has a mission for you!

Tis true, I bought him a pair of pink lacey thong panties. They might even be in your size Asg. :)


Dark_Mistress wrote:
Aaron Scott 139 wrote:

Odd, i have recently subscribed (last week) and have received no e-mail notification yet. Should I break out a brown paper bag to start hyperventilating into or is there some process I'm unaware of?

Just in case i will get the bag out and have it near me.

Not yet, it seems to take about 3-4 days from when the first orders start and the last ones go out. I know I have had to wait 3 days before mine was done after people had started to get theirs. With you just subscribing there is likely a good chance you will be at the very back of the line. :(

If you don't get a email by Friday then I would contact customer service and check on it.

Ok, cool, thanks. I figured there might be some kind of process to it but this is my first subscription to an adventure path.

Dark Archive

Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Aaron Scott 139 wrote:

Odd, i have recently subscribed (last week) and have received no e-mail notification yet. Should I break out a brown paper bag to start hyperventilating into or is there some process I'm unaware of?

Just in case i will get the bag out and have it near me.

Not yet, it seems to take about 3-4 days from when the first orders start and the last ones go out. I know I have had to wait 3 days before mine was done after people had started to get theirs. With you just subscribing there is likely a good chance you will be at the very back of the line. :(

If you don't get a email by Friday then I would contact customer service and check on it.

Ok, cool, thanks. I figured there might be some kind of process to it but this is my first subscription to an adventure path.

You're Welcome.

Just as a FYI. They are done in lots. By that I mean everyone that ordered the AP would be done in one lot. Everyone that order the AP and Inner Sea Campaign setting would be another lot etc. Then they start with the biggest lot and do all them, then move onto the second biggest lot etc. Till they are done. So if you order extra stuff it tends to push your order back in line. I am guessing that first time subscribers very likely might end up at the end too, but that is me guessing.

On a side note everything I have been saying is just my educated guesses by experience, first hand and seeing other peoples posts. So don't take anything I say as fact. :)


Lanx wrote:
I got my shipment email, and I am now flipping through the pages of the PDF.

It's not fair I tell ya. Us demiliches are better than you robot people. I am going to have to contact customer service about this.

PS:We are also better than non-robot people.


I have question pertaining to Changelings.

Question:
The changeling shows racial modifiers of -2 Con, +2 Wis, +2 Cha.

The thing that confuses me is the "write up" of the default changeling having stats of Str 10, Dex 9, Con 12, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 13.

This would seem to imply that the modifiers were intended to be -2 Dex, +2 Int, + 2 Cha, or am I reading too much into the stats?

Thanks for any response.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

And I have a question about the Haunts article.

Question:
Did the article originally include Haunts for CR 15+ and they were just cut for space, or were they never written? I was just wondering if it might be saved for a later book, or a blog post, or what outlet we might see for them, if any at all.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Got the PDF this afternoon, and on behalf of horror RPG fans, thank you guys!

That sounds cool as hell (way of speak) and I'll surely adapt this adventure to my Ravenloft campaign (it will probably be set in Darkon).

The backstory of this prison is very, very, creepy!

Joël

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber

I just downloaded it and did a quick flip through. I must say Sarah and the art department hit out of the park with this one. Excellent art work, very creepy. I love the page colors.


I'm in the process of reading through but I can say that this is one of the best AP books written so far. It isn't as straightforward as I expected, but I'm really enjoying way too many of these details. Please, keep this up.

Spoiler:

The keys. Oh, god. The keys.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

heh... Yeah. I'm pretty proud of the keys—one of those Jacobs Personal Touches, if you will.
Mwa ha ha.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kvantum wrote:

And I have a question about the Haunts article.

** spoiler omitted **

There were indeed more haunts in the turnover. What their fate might eventually be... we can't yet say.


The PDF looks great. Some really nice art. Looking forward to the read.
After a quick flip through I noticed no pregen characters. Is this intentional or did they not make it into the PDF (or just my PDF)?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dan Albee wrote:

The PDF looks great. Some really nice art. Looking forward to the read.

After a quick flip through I noticed no pregen characters. Is this intentional or did they not make it into the PDF (or just my PDF)?

Permanent change from here on out for all Pathfinder AP volumes. 2 extra pages of source material vs. the same cut-down biographies and stat blocks that most people never really use.

(The Iconics will still be appearing in sets of 4 for the artwork - this cycle it's Feiya the Witch, Merisiel, Seelah, and Seoni.)


All female iconics for Carrion Crown? That's so awesome.

Dark Archive

Wolf Munroe wrote:
All female iconics for Carrion Crown? That's so awesome.

In the adventure it was just them. In some of the support sections there was more of the iconics. If I recall James said the plan was for a all female iconic group for this AP before the iconic's got fired. :)

I have visions of Lem playing on street corners and panhandling now.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:

Damn, it's still likely going to be a few weeks before my copy arrives at my FLGS... :(

I want spoilers from subscribers, or else I'm sending my imp squad to steal everyone's underwear!

Not sure how much your FFLGS (Friendly Finnish Local Gaming Store) has to add due to shipping and stuff, but I've started subscribing from Paizo (using a sock-puppet account for reasons that are long, complicated, and too boring to go into here) rather than buying them from Swedish providers since it's cheaper this way.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Wolf Munroe wrote:
All female iconics for Carrion Crown? That's so awesome.

In the adventure it was just them. In some of the support sections there was more of the iconics. If I recall James said the plan was for a all female iconic group for this AP before the iconic's got fired. :)

I have visions of Lem playing on street corners and panhandling now.

If you look at previous cycles, there's always different Iconics for the support articles than the adventures themselves. It's not just new for Carrion Crown.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
First who is the artist of the art on page 6? I absolutely love that art.

I'm 90% sure that's Craig Spearing. And yes, it's an amazing piece. The artwork in general bodes well for the rest of the adventure path, I think.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just got my PDF, and it looks amazing. The artwork is all very good (a definitive improvement compared to Serpent's Skull) and the page layout is very fitting to the gothic/horror theme.
Great work, paizo!

Dark Archive

Kajehase wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Damn, it's still likely going to be a few weeks before my copy arrives at my FLGS... :(

I want spoilers from subscribers, or else I'm sending my imp squad to steal everyone's underwear!

Not sure how much your FFLGS (Friendly Finnish Local Gaming Store) has to add due to shipping and stuff, but I've started subscribing from Paizo (using a sock-puppet account for reasons that are long, complicated, and too boring to go into here) rather than buying them from Swedish providers since it's cheaper this way.

Well, I think they just convert the U.S. prices to euros, i.e. most Paizo modules cost 20 euros (rulebooks 40 or 50). Some of my friends order their stuff directly from Paizo, but I want to support my FLGS, even though at times I feel it's actually the local manga fans who bring the most money in. I guess the real reason is that I enjoy the chance to interact with other gamers (others than those dour guys in my group), which is why I visit my FLGS to chat with the staff.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Lanx wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Damn, it's still likely going to be a few weeks before my copy arrives at my FLGS... :(

I want spoilers from subscribers, or else I'm sending my imp squad to steal everyone's underwear!

So now, what can I say ... as Dark_Mistress has mentioned, it is quite pinkish ... very pretty ...

You're wearing pink underwear, Lanx? :O Must resist... must resist... AARGH, I gotta have it!

My faithful imps, daddy has a mission for you!

Tis true, I bought him a pair of pink lacey thong panties. They might even be in your size Asg. :)

Har har, pink lacey thing panties are *always* my size! ;P


Talomyr wrote:

I have question pertaining to Changelings.

** spoiler omitted **

They are described as frail so I would think that would lend to the -2 constitution. It seems that the writer gave the changeling the stats they wanted it to have.


This one looks to be very interesting. My group doesn't normally like campaigns that end before 15th level, but I think this one will be appreciated.

PS: The art is really good also.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Two things regarding this issue's bestiary.

Spoiler:
Thing One: I absolutely loved the additional rules for animated objects. In fact, it was my favorite part of the bestiary. Kudos to whomever decided to go in that direction.

Thing Two: The ectoplasmic template confuses me. First, the sample creature was clearly not built with the rules as written: it has no intelligence score, no bonus Toughness feat, and is N as opposed to CE. Also, the template grants a +2 bonus to strength and charisma, yet in the next line states that ectoplasmic creatures have a charisma of 10. I'm assuming this template went through multiple revisions.

So, what is it supposed to do?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*Grumble* What happened to those GM Reference threads? I'd rather not have to spoiler tag my (somewhat important) question.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
*Grumble* What happened to those GM Reference threads? I'd rather not have to spoiler tag my (somewhat important) question.

In the past they were always set up by fans and then stickied by mods, so if you want them then it's best to create them.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kvantum wrote:

And I have a question about the Haunts article.

** spoiler omitted **

Wes provides a glimpse at a couple of the unpublished haunts in today's

blog post! There are lots more where that came from! Maybe I misread my word count commitment. Everybody wins! =-)

On another note, regarding high-level haunts, the mechanic gets a little weird at high levels. The base CR for any haunt is spell level+1 (so, 10 maximum), and at that point you're adding modifiers (like persistence and fast reset times) to bump its CR and save DCs, but some of those modifiers don't necessarily equate to more effective or powerful haunts.

However, I found a sneaky little way to toy around with that mechanic at high levels, but you'll have to wait for the debut of Shadows of Gallowspire to see just what I did, as the adventure introduces some creepy new ways to freak PCs out with these enigmatic spirits. Also keep an eye out in Kobold Quarterly for some more contributions and tools for haunts!

Dark Archive

Brandon, James, et al.

I'm still a bit confused about haunts; GMG notes that all "primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that actually produce physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a haunt's direct effects, but not to secondary effects that arise as a result of the haunt's attack."

But what about, say, fireball? If a haunt produces it, it's a mind-affecting fear effect... or is it? And a paladin is supposed to be immune to it, right? Well, what about the saving throw; is it always a will save, even against that fireball? Or do I have to succeed at a will save first (even though there's no mechanical effect related to fear), and then at a ref save? And what is the difference between "primary" and "secondary" effects?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Asgetrion wrote:

Brandon, James, et al.

I'm still a bit confused about haunts; GMG notes that all "primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that actually produce physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a haunt's direct effects, but not to secondary effects that arise as a result of the haunt's attack."

But what about, say, fireball? If a haunt produces it, it's a mind-affecting fear effect... or is it? And a paladin is supposed to be immune to it, right? Well, what about the saving throw; is it always a will save, even against that fireball? Or do I have to succeed at a will save first (even though there's no mechanical effect related to fear), and then at a ref save? And what is the difference between "primary" and "secondary" effects?

Although it's weird... yeah, a haunt that produces a fireball is a mind-affecting fear effect. If that seems weird... well, it's because fireball isn't really an appropriate spell, thematically, for a haunt to trigger. Haunts are more than just numbers and spell effects; they really require some flavor text to go along with them, otherwise they're just traps.

That said, you could certainly rule that the fireball effect triggered by a haunt could be a secondary effect, in which case the fire created isn't a mind-affecting effect at all. But that's starting to blur the lines between a haunt and a plain old trap.


James Jacobs wrote:
That said, you could certainly rule that the fireball effect triggered by a haunt could be a secondary effect, in which case the fire created isn't a mind-affecting effect at all. But that's starting to blur the lines between a haunt and a plain old trap.

I wonder if you could consider the fireball itself to be a mind-affecting effect that would require a Will save and the heat from it a physical effect for the Reflex save? First you believe that the fireball is real, and then you react against the perceived heat?

Contributor

Asgetrion wrote:

Brandon, James, et al.

I'm still a bit confused about haunts; GMG notes that all "primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that actually produce physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a haunt's direct effects, but not to secondary effects that arise as a result of the haunt's attack."
*snip*
And what is the difference between "primary" and "secondary" effects?

On the topic of primary versus secondary, I figured I'd throw a few examples in the mix that might help clarify. James is right that a fireball isn't the best flavor choice for a haunt, though if you wanted to replicate a haunted room that suddenly erupts in spectral flames, that might work, though incendiary cloud works better. Keep in mind that the rules themselves also state "how the haunt's effects manifest are left to you to determine," so ultimately the choice is yours -those flames could manifest only in the minds of the PCs (as a primary effect), and unaffected characters might see other party members freaking out over something they can't see, or, you know, they might manifest as very real flames (rule it secondary) that really start burning up the place -something everyone nearby can witness. That's one reason the save DCs are left unspecific as to type, too, but the number are there for you so you can rule them as you see fit.

Telekinesis is a good example. If the haunt trying to pick up a PC and throw them across the room? You'd probably rule that a primary effect. If instead the haunt is picking up nearby furniture and tossing that, then you have yourself a secondary effect, because the furniture itself is quite real.

The Slamming Portal haunt is another good example. The haunt slams a door and holds it shut with a hold portal spell. The haunt is affecting a real door, not the minds of PCs, so the effect is secondary. Even a paladin immune to fear is going to see the door slam -it isn't just happening in his head -and it is going to remain held regardless of any immunities or saves (because this haunt doesn't have one).

On the other hand, the Choking Hands haunt can get a little weird. No save, right? The spectral hands get an attack, so are they a real, quasi-physical manifestation, or are they simple a spectral apparition in the affected PC's mind? I intended the former when I wrote it, but GMs might see it differently (as a mental manifestation), and that's totally OK.

Some haunts, like the Headless Horseman and Spectral Carriage, really are closer to the creature-side of haunts than the trap side, so in my game I'd probably rule their manifestations as secondary, rather than primary. And something like the Fall of the House of Haunts is definitely all secondary -the haunt starts quaking, and that house is really coming down.

So, when using them, consider whether the haunt manifests in the mind only, which makes the most sense with most of the fear-based and truly mind-affecting haunts that use scare or confusion on trespassers, or if the haunt instead manifests a physical effect, like the horrible Gjenganger haunt or the Faeu Boulanger from yesterday's blog post. They're flexible, and written to be used that way.

Does that help? =-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, looks like there's no clarification on the ectoplasmic creatures. So here's what I think it's supposed to be. Any thoughts/opinions would be appreciated, as I'm not sure what the intention was here.

Spoiler:

I think the sample creature is wrong, while the actual template description is right - for the most part. The alignment should change to CE, and the ectoplasmic creature should gain the Toughness feat and have skills. The problem is this line here:

"Abilities: +2 Str, +2 Cha. An ectoplasmic creature has no Con or Int score, and its Wis and Cha become 10."

Based on the description of the creature, I think it should retain its Intelligence score. It's not described as a mindless zombie or skeleton. Thus, I think the template should grant the +2 bonus to Str and Cha as written, while the creature's Int, Wis, and Cha remain untouched (other than the afforementioned +2 bonus to Cha). Thus, I think the line should read:

"Abilities: +2 Str, +2 Cha. An ectoplasmic creature has no Con score."


Generic Villain wrote:

Well, looks like there's no clarification on the ectoplasmic creatures. So here's what I think it's supposed to be. Any thoughts/opinions would be appreciated, as I'm not sure what the intention was here.

** spoiler omitted **

It might be better to post this question in the rules question, and have a couple of posters hit the FAQ button.

Dark Archive

Thanks, Brandon and James! This helped a lot...

I agree, fireball may not be the best choice for a haunt. However, the idea behind "Fireball Haunt" was not that of a ghost that just casts a fireball and vanishes; rather, I had thought of a burning, tormented soul who has died violently in a fire, and manifests as a scary-looking, mad figure engulfed in flames... flames that slowly start spreading around the room to engulf player characters. After reading your posts it actually *does* make sense to make it a Will save; those who fail are paralyzed with fear (taking damage), while a paladin would have time to move aside and avoid the flames completely. And even if it were just all in their heads (which, in my opinion, may be even more horrifying than "real" flames), it would make sense just the same. :)

And thanks for those haunts in the blog; great work there, Brandon! :)


Petros Lorrimor = Peter Lorre. Nice tonal cue for classic film buffs!

Contributor

Asgetrion wrote:

Thanks, Brandon and James! This helped a lot...

I agree, fireball may not be the best choice for a haunt. However, the idea behind "Fireball Haunt" was not that of a ghost that just casts a fireball and vanishes; rather, I had thought of a burning, tormented soul who has died violently in a fire, and manifests as a scary-looking, mad figure engulfed in flames... flames that slowly start spreading around the room to engulf player characters.

Thanks!

I'll take your imagery one step further: when the haunt manifests, it replays the psychic residue of those souls who died in the flames, replaying their last final seconds as the flesh melts from their bones. The PCs (on a failed Will save) actually experience the physical and mental anguish of the victims that died in the fire, and see themselves as the scorched, blackened dying as the flames -in full conflagration -roar around them. Just as fast as they appeared, they vanish, yet the blackened skin remains.

Of course, I'm not necessarily saying there isn't already a haunt like this in some later chapter of Carrion Crown. Could be...could be... (!)

Hey -whaddaya know...I CAN write decent haunt flavor when the sun is shining! =-)

Brandon

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Although I have my PDF, I usually wait to get the physical copy before actually reading it in detail. Mine arrives this Monday and the wait is brutal...really looking forward to digging into this one..

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Got the PDF, read through it yesterday...and absolutely love it. Now I just have to figure out how to speed up my current campaign so I can run it...or maybe get someone else to run it.

Dark Archive

Just wanted to say I just finished reading this last night before going to bed. I think this has become my new favorite first part to a AP. I really liked this one, but to be fair I really like gothic horror too.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Generic Villain wrote:

...had a question about this volume's bestiary...

Spoiler:
Thing Two: The ectoplasmic template confuses me. First, the sample creature was clearly not built with the rules as written: it has no intelligence score, no bonus Toughness feat, and is N as opposed to CE. Also, the template grants a +2 bonus to strength and charisma, yet in the next line states that ectoplasmic creatures have a charisma of 10. I'm assuming this template went through multiple revisions.

Answer:

Spoiler:
The primary goal of the ectoplasmic creature was to add a 3rd option of low-level undead to the game. We already have zombies and skeletons. The ectoplasmic creature adds a template for "ghost" type undead of the same category, but keeps them lower powered since it's really unfair to inflict an incorporeal creature on low level characters without specifically tailoring that creature's abilities.

For the ectoplasmic creature itself, there were a few errors that unfortunately crept in. Ectoplasmic creatures, as with ALL undead (save, perhaps, some ghosts), are evil. The sample ectoplasmic creature should be chaotic evil, not neutral. As for the other errors, yeah, my guess is that the template itself (which was a tricky one to create) went through some last minute changes and those changes weren't applied to the sample creature... I suspect what's showing through are unmodified human stats.

Now, that said, the stats as presented work fine. They may not be 100% accurate from the template, but they still present a viable CR 1 threat. Change the alignment on the creature to CE and you're good to go, honestly. (For example, if its Toughness feat and Charisma bonus were in play, it'd get a net +4 to its hp; which with 1d8 HD would give it 4.5+4 hit points, or 8 hit points, which is close enough to the listed 9 hit points that no one will really notice.)

So, while the template is indeed somewhat off from where the rules would put it, the template's low CR results in a creature that's pretty much still viable as a CR 1/2 threat anyway.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

James Jacobs wrote:
... creatures, as with ALL undead (save, perhaps, some ghosts), are evil. The sample *********** creature should be chaotic evil, not neutral.

All undead save, perhaps, some ghosts ...

... and (spoiler):
... and some zombies. See The Godsmouth Heresy, for example.

So does this mantra of all undead are Evil (even though the mantra is not actually followed by Paizo published materials) mean that we'll never see anything like the good lich or the baelnorn?

'Tis a shame if it's so.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Answer:

Thanks for the reply. But...

Spoiler:

While I definitely understand that the template was meant to be comparable to a zombie/skeleton, I'm still not sure what it was intended to do. Is the ectoplasmic creature supposed to be mindless with a Cha and Wis of 10 (like said skeleton/zombie), or is it an intelligent menace. Also, what about that +2 bonus to Cha?

The reason I want to know is more because I actually really like the template, and would like to use it for high-level beasties in my own game. Thanks for any clarifications.

*EDIT*
I reposted my questions and your answer here.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The ectoplasmic undead are supposed to be a third variant of the mindless undead, yes.

And the mantra of ALL undead being evil does mean that we'll probably never do a good-aligned lich. Which is also partially because that is very much a Forgotten Realms thing, and I'd rather not mix worlds in that spot.

Now and then, non-evil and non-ghost undead will probably sneak into print, but if it's a non-evil undead and it's not a ghost, chances are VERY good I didn't notice it and bringing it to my attention will make me angry and send me off to punish someone here at Paizo who DID IT WRONG!!!! :-P


Just recieved the printed version, since I have already read most of the first book in PDF form I just wanted to comment on a few things.

1. Love the background art (text background, borders, etc)

2. Art is typical great Paizo quality, though the Alchemical Ooze Swarm are EH :(, but the 5 main villains are done very well.

3. The hooks, storyline, and general story are excellent. It had me feeling very much for the NPC's in the background and gives me great inspiration to make them come to life for the PC's, and give them real emotion.

Thanks Paizo, I don't regret subscribing to AP's at all :)


Ice_Deep wrote:


3. The hooks, storyline, and general story are excellent. It had me feeling very much for the NPC's in the background and gives me great inspiration to make them come to life for the PC's, and give them real emotion.

I love the sound of the approach you have described Ice Deep. If the PCs get attached to the NPCs - either because they actually care or just because the NPCs feel "real" to them, there's so much more opportunity for atmosphere.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Man, that image of Father Grimburrow is fantastic. I just started reading and the adventure set-up really feels like walking into a classic horror movie. Nice establishment of a feeling of looming dread.

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