Letters from the Flaming Crab: Haunted Places (PFRPG) PDF

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Letters from the Flaming Crab is a monthly series of Pathfinder-compatible supplements. Each Letter focuses on exploring a different topic to give gamemasters and players new, exciting options that can be dropped into any campaign.

Within Haunted Places, you’ll find four haunts (one is sometimes also a loci), one new medium spirit, and three new archetypes inspired by those haunts just in time for the spookiest day of the year.

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An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Letters from the Flaming Crab-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, though one of these would be the gorgeous cover in an un-swished-version - kudos for the great artwork there!

After the by now traditional letter from the planes-hopping ship Flaming Crab, we dive right in and begin with the chimney coffin (lavishly rendered in b/w!), providing a cool CR 6 suffocation-based haunt. Two thumbs up for this fellow!

Thereafter, we get a new spirit to channel for the Medium-class, the Child. You apply the spirit bonus to Bluff, Climb, Escape Artist, Perception and Stealth as well as Reflex-saves, which is, power-wise, in line with established spirits. As a seance boon, you get +1 to AC and favored locations would be orphanages, parks, playgrounds and schools, obviously. The influence penalty the spirit inflicts is equal to the spirit bonus as penalty to Int and Str based skill and ability checks, excluding Climb as well as attack rolls. Taboos include refusing to eat healthy food, taking any opportunity to play, an inability to stay up beyond bedtime, throwing tantrums and compulsory pranking -it's your choice and, as a whole, I like them. The lesser ability increases the bonuses for being aided by your fellows, the intermediate nets you basically improved evasion by another name (and sans restrictions) and the greater effect lets you let the spirit gain 1 point of influence "to make an immediate save against any mind-affecting effect." with a bonus equal to 1/2 your medium level. Okay, so "immediate" may not be the best wording here - it implies immediate action. Secondly, is the DC of the effect equal to the original DC? What about the few, but existing mind-influencing effects that do not allow for a save? Minor clarifications are in order here. As a supreme ability, this spirit offers a supernatural, component-less limited wish upon seeing the evening's first star...which is cool, but since it is supernatural, the ability should state the action required for activation.

The shifter's stone, a CR 6 boon loci, utilizes the myth of the norns and blends it with druidism, offering beast shape III as well as a great, general artwork. More interesting that that would be the fact that it comes with a second, corrupted CR 8 version that may transform you into harmless animals. This duality is well-executed here.

The Primal Spirit spiritualist archetype, who adds Handle Animal and Survival to the class skills instead of Bluff, also replacing the summon monster spells with summon nature's allies. The primal aspect at 1st level can be activated as a swift action, gaining an animal aspect chosen from the hunter's animal foci and while it is applied at full level, it does not also cover any companions and does not stack with the ability, though levels stack for purposes of foci's power. Also at 1st level, the archetype receives the option to grow ghostly claws as a free action, dealing 1d4 per claw, 1d3 if Small. The ability does not specify them to be primary natural weapons, though I assume they are. 7th level nets Eldritch Claws and increases the damage die by one step, thus replacing etheric tether. 2nd level nets wild empathy and 3rd level at-will detect undead and 5th level provides a constant hide from undead. This replaces the 3rd level bonded manifestation. 4th level nets a +2 insight bonus to AC and all saves, increasing by +2 at 12th and 20th level, replacing spiritual interference and its greater brethren. 6th level nets Wild shape at -2 level, with 8th level unlocking air walk, 12th level providing an ectoplasmic creature's phase lurch and 18th level the horrifying ooze ability. Elemental forms may not be assumed, but plant forms may. This, obviously, replaces spirit bond and its follow-up abilities. 13th level, finally, provides a secondary primal aspect.

The next haunt, once again lavishly rendered, would be the CR 4 stable of despair, which has some creepy imagery (think: Undead horse appearing and speaking to you...) indeed and the archetype here would be the rider of the undead paladin, who gains a skeletal mount, with touch of corruption powering simultaneous uses of channel energy and Command Undead. All in all, an okay archetype, but not one that blew me away.

The final haunt would be the unfinished painting (Anyone played Layers of Fear?), again at CR 4 - and it is the most complex of the haunts herein - arguably one that could power a whole low-level adventure. Similarly in line with this theme would be the mad painter mesmerist replaces consummate liar with +1/2 class level to all Artisan (painting) (???), Craft (painting) and Profession (painting) checks. That should *probably* be Performance...The mad painter can conjure forth a mystical brush with which he draws hypnotic patterns into thin air, either distracting or fascinating targets, usable 3 + Cha-mod times per day, with 7th level decreasing the activation action to move and 13th allowing for the activation as a swift action as well - this ability is known as mystic strokes. Interesting variant of hypnotic stare. To implant tricks, the painter has to draw on the recipient's eyelids. At 1st level, the archetype ay expend spell slots to store spells in a given painting, making it a kind of "art"-bomb - the first subject within 20 ft. carefully examining the painting is affected, with -2 to the save. The painting can store spells for 1 hour per class level and can be enhanced with a password, allowing safe examination...and if that is not enough regarding great set-ups, I don't know what is!

3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the mad painter may choose another "stroke of insanity" to modify his mystic strokes with - whether it's affecting the mindless or instilling sluggishness in the targets, decreasing their movement rate. These modifications are all pretty cool and scale at 8th level. Starting at 6th level, the mad painter can use suggestions on targets affected by his strokes sans breaking the primary effect of the strokes-ability, an ability that increases to encompass the mass version of the spell, though that one was not italicized.

As a capstone, the mad painter can create paintings that kill a specific chosen creature looking at it. All in all, this is my favorite archetype by Flaming Crab Games so far - complex modifications, glorious theme, precise execution...and it is narrative gold, an adventure (or more) just waiting to happen.


Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed a couple of minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Flaming Crab Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features several gorgeous pieces of b/w-artwork as well as stunning full-color variations of the cover - all of which I really dug. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

June Bordas, J Gray, Mike McKeown and Michael Ritter provide a great little pdf here - while I wasn't too impressed by the generally solid antipaladin archetype, the other material *did* impress me more than a bit; the mad painter, in particular, is a stroke of genius. ... Sorry for that bad pun right there, I'll hit myself later for it. Anyways, I really enjoyed the haunts as well - their descriptions are cool and evocative and they generally make sense.

While the pdf isn't as refined as the installment on culinary magic and while I would have loved to see even more haunts, this still remains a great, fun little pdf for a more than fair price point, with the artworks provided for the haunts making cool micro-handouts (they are, alas, a bit small). Still, showing them to players can work rather well!

All in all, this is a good book, with some minor blemishes, but also some gems and thus receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Four-stars of creepy awesome


Letters from the Flaming Crab: Haunted Places is the third offering in the monthly ‘allsorts’ Letters from the Flaming Crab series, focusing on spooky, scary haunts and associated material. It includes four haunts, each of which has an extra association – three archetypes, and a new spirit for the medium class. It opens eerily, with a letter from the ship’s doctor aboard the UCS Flaming Crab to the captain, providing a bit of narrative on the discovery of the content within, before launching into the first haunt.

The Chimney Coffin is a CR 6 haunt that brings creepy flavour immediately, being the lingering spirit of a chimney sweep’s apprentice who was stuck, and subsequently died, inside the chimney in question, spreading suffocating soot to those foolish enough to light the fireplace beneath. It introduces the Child medium spirit, which has some delightful taboos – such as refusing to eat anything even remotely healthy, or not staying up past your bedtime. The spirit abilities allow the medium to gain increased bonuses from the aid another action; gain improved evasion; be contrary to adults by making additional saves against mind-affecting effects; or limited wish upon a star.

The Shifter’s Stone is a loci spirit that allows participants in the associated ritual to take the form of wild beasts – however, when corrupted, this benevolent spirit becomes a haunt that causes afflicted creatures to believe they’ve been transformed into harmless critters. Wonderful job linking the benefit and corruption! The Primal Spirit archetype for spiritualists accompanies the loci/haunt, with an altered class skill list, summon nature’s ally instead of summon monster on her class spell list, and a hunter’s animal focus ability instead of a phantom. She can manifest ectoplasmic claws, which gain further power as she levels, and wild empathy as a druid. Instead of spiritual interference, she gets a scaling insight bonus to AC and saves; and instead of several phantom features, she gains Wild Shape at a diminished level (she can assume animal and plant forms, but not elementals). She gains some very cool abilities while in wild shape – such as permanent air walk, phase lurch, and horrifying ooze. It’s an unusual archetype that doesn’t feel much like a druid by the time you’re through with it, but it’s certainly interesting.

The Stable of Despair, a manifestation of the tortured spirits of mistreated horses, causes those nearby to see their own flesh rotting and melting away, and is accompanied by the Rider of the Dead archetype for antipaladins. Diplomacy replaces Stealth as a class skill, and a scaling bonus to social skills against undead replaces aura of cowardice. The rider of the dead can also command undead (as the feat) by spending extra uses of touch of corruption, gain bonuses against undead’s abilities and can give extra bonus to undead allies with aid another, and gains a skeletal mount (which has undead traits and cold resistance) that replaces the standard fiendish boon.

The final haunt, the Unfinished Painting, is created when a painter dies before finishing their masterpiece, and the twisted soul infuses the unfinished creation with suffering and obsession. The victim of the haunt becomes determined to finish the painting, with whatever materials it can use – including, in the end, their own blood. This is accompanied by the Mad Painter archetype for the Mesmerist, who replaces his hypnotic stare (!!!) with the ability to distract or fascinate enemies (as the bardic performances) by painting hypnotic patterns in the air (which gains more effects at higher levels, including mass suggestion), and can’t implant mesmerist tricks unless he paints symbols over the recipient’s eyelids (no word on what to do with eyeless creatures, though). He can implant spells in his paintings, which are activated when a creature examines the painting, and takes a penalty on their saving throw. As a capstone, he can create paintings so terrifying, they cause those gazing upon them to die of fright!

At the end of the day, this is a solid little product that delivers what it promises. The haunts are interesting, the addition of the loci is a great touch, and the supporting archetypes are flavourful. My final score for this product is four stars – it’s definitely good, and I would have liked to see more, but the Primal Spirit seems bizarre and dissonant to me.

THIS is what being occult and scary is about!


I have to say I was expecting just a little dabble of haunts and maybe a few ghosts. I am very happily surprised by what I found in here.

The four haunts in here are very colorful but also very specific. That might decrease the value for some. However! What I did in enjoy was the use of the haunts as a way to further enhance an Occult style adventure.

This is especially true of the new Spiritualist Archetype list here: The Primal Spirit.

Here is a truly great take for those looking to accentuate their inner spirit channeler with some very nice natural features. Drawing from the Hunter Hybrid class, I think, is a very a smart move. My only real wish was that the alteration of the phantom was included, but otherwise I think this is an excellent archetype.

The other stuff includes a very interesting NPC type of Anti-paladin. I'm not sure about how useful it would be to a normal PC, but as a way to make a truly memorable villian , this succeeds greatly.

I love the artwork too. Some of it is very evocative and haunting. Great use of color saturation in the text background really drives home the creepy factor.

Overall I highly recommend this PDF for those looking for more Occult or even just some dark fantasy/horror stuff. HUGE thumbs up Flaming Crab guys.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Now available!

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Included in this edition of Letters from the Flaming Crab:

  • A dead child wanting to kill you.
  • An unfinished painting demanding your blood.
  • A sacred stone that transforms you into predator... or prey.
  • A dead horse wanting to melt your flesh.
  • A new medium spirit - the Child.
  • A new mesmerist archetype - the Mad Painter.
  • A new spiritualist archetype - the Primal Spirit.
  • A new anti-paladin archetype - Rider of the Undead.

Thank you for your patronage!

Thanks, Chris! And happy Halloween everyone!

We're giving out free copies to the first ten people that request one below! As always, feedback is appreciated!

Scarab Sages Contributor

requesting a free copy!

Me wants free copy!

I'd love a free copy of this. I adore haunts! I can't promise a review due to recent life events, but I can try for one of those, as well.

I would love a free copy :)

El Ronza wrote:
I'd love a free copy of this. I adore haunts! I can't promise a review due to recent life events, but I can try for one of those, as well.

Even a simple "I enjoyed this bit but that bit was meh" is helpful to us!

Silver Crusade

I'll take a free copy if you're still giving them :3

Rysky wrote:
I'll take a free copy if you're still giving them :3

Yep! No time limit here! And we've still got 5 copies to hand out!

How about me? I'd like a free copy, please!

Sounds wonderfully spooky!

Count me in for a free copy. Will review it.

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

a free copy please - i like those spooky themes !

Silver Crusade

Flaming Crab Games wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I'll take a free copy if you're still giving them :3
Yep! No time limit here! And we've still got 5 copies to hand out!

Yay! Thankies :3

I'll check it out when I get home from work later today.

Please send me a copy.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Review up! Thanks guys! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thomas, thanks so much for the review! I'm pleased you liked it. Our writers worked hard and, I think, did some amazing work.

I believe there are two free copies left to give out, as well!

Silver Crusade

I will read and review... just as soon as the site lets me download it -_-

*shakes fist at Paizo downloader algorithm thingy*

Thanks for getting the copies sent out, Chris!!

Thomas Seitz wrote:
Review up! Thanks guys! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

You're the man! Glad you enjoyed it!

Rysky wrote:

I will read and review... just as soon as the site lets me download it -_-

*shakes fist at Paizo downloader algorithm thingy*

I hope you love it!

Silver Crusade

I hope I do too! ^w^

Hi, all! If you like what we're doing with the Letters from the Flaming Crab series, we've got a Kickstarter going to fund it for 2016!

Just a reminder, folks! Sorry for sounding pushy. But 10 people got free copies of this book and there's only 1 review up. Please consider giving us an honest review with your thoughts on Haunted Places.

Well, it took a long time, but I got my review up. Hopefully it helps sell it!

Questions, typos, etc:

Copyright notice lists product as Letters from the Flaming Crab: Culinary Magic.

Pg 2 – “cursed by a memory or stpirit”; should be spirit

Can the Primal Spirit alter her chosen focus, or is she stuck with one choice?

Minor nitpick. Antipaladin archetype uses female pronouns; standard antipaladin uses male pronouns. Not sure if this was deliberate or an oversight, but it stood out to me.

El Ronza, great review. I'll pass on the typos to Alex to fix when he has the chance. If I remember correctly, yes, the Primal Spirit can change her focus in a way similar to the ability upon which it was based.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

As always, sir, thank you for the insightful review. Any errors were mine, any glories go to the writers.

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