Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Horror Adventures

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Horror Adventures
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There are things that dwell in the dark places of the world, in long-abandoned crypts or musty attics—terrible things that can destroy your body and shatter your mind. Few individuals would think to seek out such nightmares, but those drawn into the darkness often find it infecting them, corrupting them in ways both subtle and disgusting. Some believe those who die facing such horrors are the lucky ones, for the survivors are forever scarred by their experiences.

Pathfinder RPG Horror Adventures gives you everything you need to bring these nightmares to life. Within these pages, you'll find secrets to take your game into the darkest reaches of fantasy, where the dead hunger for the living, alien gods brood in dreams, and madness and death lurk around every corner. Rules for players and GMs alike pit brave champions against a darkness capable of devouring mind, body, and soul. To prepare to face such torments, the heroes can take new feats, learn powerful spells, and even acquire holy relics—for they'll need every edge possible to survive!

Pathfinder RPG Horror Adventures includes:

  • Corruptions that can turn your character into a powerful monster, from a blood-drinking vampire to a savage werewolf. The only cost is your soul!
  • Character options to help heroes oppose the forces of darkness, including horror-themed archetypes, feats, spells, and more!
  • A detailed system to represent sanity and madness, giving you all the tools you need to drive characters to the brink and beyond.
  • Tips and tools for running a genuinely scary game, along with an in-depth look at using horror's many subgenres in a Pathfinder campaign.
  • Expanded rules for curses, diseases, environments, fleshwarping, haunts, and deadly traps.
  • New templates to turn monsters into truly terrifying foes, from creatures made of living wax to a stalker that can never be stopped!
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-849-6

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Spooky Fun, Can't Wait to Curse My Players

5/5

I am in love with this book. The themes for archetypes are spot on and everything goes beyond horror basics, it's much more than vampires, werewolves, and zombies (though they are included). Some of my favorite elements are the Deep One corruption (corruptions in general are sweet, this seems like a well balanced mechanic for horribly warping the PCs into monsters, while still giving them a way to fight it) and the Gingerbread Witch. The Deep One corruption is a great example of the depth of horror this book includes, this plays on a less often used horror theme of the paranoia of harming oneself (in this case, by drowning). This reminds me so much of elements from the book The Boy Who Drew Monsters, and the mom's terrible fascination with people who drowned in a shipwreck a hundred years ago. You could adopt this same corruption for vertigo or even a bodily harm thing. On a lighter side, the Gingerbread Witch made me so, so happy. It's a well thought out archetype, I'm not sure they'd be great as a player character (but there aren't evil restrictions, so have at!) but I can't wait to insert a horrible Gingerbread Witch near some unassuming town, with her creepy haunted gingerbread house and evil delicious familiar.

I just can't say enough good things about the mechanics. They are flexible enough that you don't have to have a horror specific campaign to use elements from this book. The fear and sanity rules can be used with any campaign to add realism or more of a gritty fantasy feel. If your level 1 characters just killed a person for the first time, maybe they should lose some sanity and wrestle with that emotion. If they are in a dank, creepy dungeon with skeletons, maybe some of them would be spooked. The rules for adapting fear resistant characters like Paladins are also nicely balanced and I appreciate that attention to detail - your paladins don't have to yawn at the sideline, they're vulnerable too, just in a way less debilitating way that actually paints them as more of a hero around evil and undead.

Lastly, the warning about needing consent before using this book in a campaign was a very nice touch. That totally hooked me when starting to read this book. I kind of thought I'd just have spooky themed elements, but that paragraph inspired me to try to take this to the next level. How fun would it be to have a session that turns your actual living room into a haunted house, or to be the director of the scariest experience your friends have had all year?

If Halloween is your favorite holiday or you love low, gritty fantasy, I highly recommend this book. I will be reading this one cover to cover and am excited to use its elements for many, many sessions.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive hardcover clocks in at 255 pages - if you take away editorial, index, etc., you still arrive at 249 pages of content, which is A LOT.

I was gifted a copy of this book for the purpose of a fair and unbiased review. My review is based on the hardcover of this book.

Now, the first thing I'd ask you to do, is to read the series of Miscellaneous Musings I wrote on horror gaming in general. Or least the last one. Why? Because it is my firm conviction that one has to establish realistic expectations in order to review a book such as this.

(The articles are fully linked on my page.)

Alternatively, if you already own it, there is a sentence in the advice chapter on running horror games that should be taken to heart: "Pathfinder is not designed with horror in mind." I'd like to elaborate on this, at least briefly. As I have established in my long, long rants on the subject matter, it is my firm conviction that you can run horror in PFRPG, even purist horror, but that the base system per se is more conductive towards playing the angle of pitting horror against the angle of heroism, of allowing PCs to have a shot against the darkness. While you can modify PFRPG to play akin to CoC, the game is simply more conductive towards the heroic angle.

It is a testament to PFRPG's versatility that horror of any way works in the first place, in spite of the focus of the game. Now secondly, I'd like to address two aspects of the game and what we can expect, with the first being character options. We are all aware of the vast array of built-options available for PFRPG and thus, it should come as no surprise that yes, we do receive a significant array of player- (or at least character-)centric options. Which would bring me to the first observation: It is my firm convictions that players should stay out of this book.

No, really. You see, quite a lot of the new class options, like the blood alchemist, elder mythos cultist, hexenhammer or medium spirit-variants like the butcher or lich (for champion and archmage, to give two examples) scream "NPC" for me. I know, it is perhaps not what you'd expect me to do, but ultimately, I consider the material here to be mostly intended for the GM. Yes, we have martyr paladins with stigmata and bloody jake slayers and serial killer vigilantes. Yes, some players will want to play these...but from my experience as a horror-GM, it may actually make sense restricting these...or simply not telling the players about the rules. Before you're asking, btw.: From a min-maxing perspective, you'll probably find better options anyways...but if that's a consideration for you when playing in a horror game, I'd strongly suggest thinking about priorities and of what makes for a fun game for everyone - see my long, long posts on the necessary contract/gentlemen's agreement between the GM and player.

That being said, there is one aspect I am holding against this book, in spite of the aforementioned previous considerations, and that would be that there is no dividing line between content obviously designed for players/good guys and that for villains - it does show in the archetype-section and, more than that, in the feat-section, where we can find REALLY cool Story-feats alongside a bunch of feats intended for evil characters or monsters - in the latter case often enhancing universal monster abilities and providing further numerical escalation - which would be less of an issue, if PFRPG didn't have this many options to gain access to precisely these abilities. In short, we are catering to a mindset here that kinda undermines the horror premise the rest of the book is trying hard to set up. In short: We also get a lot of alternate racial traits for the core races, which generally fit with the themes of horror, though the fortification they offer against these challenges don't really fit my personal vision of what I like to play in the context of such a campaign, but your mileage here may obviously vary. These are my least favorite aspects of the book.

But let's move back to the very beginning: The advice given for players when making characters for horror adventures is extremely sound and should most certainly be read carefully - the book spells pretty much out what I did, minus the advice on Achilles heels, but I guess you can't have everything. The notes on making a compelling personality etc. makes sense, and so does the advice of roleplaying fear. I am a big fan of the note that the book emphasizes conspiration and communication with the GM here.

One of my favorite parts herein would be the more diversified take on Fear: We are introduced to a 7-step progression tree of various states of fear, including rules on immunity to fear and how it should be used in conjunction with this system. It works pretty seamlessly, though I honestly wished the already widely in use cowering condition had been implemented here as well - considering the effects of the highest fear-level "horrified", the differences are not that pronounced. And yes, I am aware that this adds a bit of potential complexity to some options, but here at least, I consider the trade off worth it.

Sanity...is a bit more clunky. We get a relatively simple system: Add mental attributes together and you have the sanity score; half of that is the sanity edge. This determines the severity of the madness incurred when something exceeds your sanity threshold - which is equal to the bonus of the highest mental attribute bonus. When you incur a sanity attack and its damage exceeds the threshold, you gain a madness - simple, yes...but it does ultimately reward characters that are SAD on a mental attribute, whereas in my opinion, sanity-shattering effects often are made worse by understanding them properly, perceiving them properly, etc. The system is not bad per se, but it requires managing three scores and for that, it doesn't deliver the results I'm personally looking for in such a system. Your mileage may vary, obviously, but yeah.

The star-subsystem here would be basically PFRPG's take on dark powers-checks, so-called corruptions. These tie in with character flaws of the PC and represent a dark and malevolent stain on the character that slowly mutates them, granting benefits, while at the same time driving them further down the dark path. Where previously, in Ravenloft, you ultimately became a darklord, corruptions now have 3 stages, with the final stage usually turning you NPC. Progression along this path is via a variety of actions and they generally have a catalyst to first spring them on a character. These corruptions also feature tempting powers, so-called manifestations, which also come with a stain, a drawback, that is in relation to the behavior in question.

Now, first things first: At one point, I wrote a pretty long essay on how to tempt both players and PCs at the same time with horrific power and the psychological reasons to do so - while it has been cut and never been published, let me summarize: I argued that a weakness of the monster-transformation aspect championed by Ravenloft was, that on the one hand, the PC should be horrified by what he does, while craving the power in question. Similarly, the player should feel the same.

If there is a disjoint between player and PC, roleplaying suffers. The corruptions, when looking at them, are surprisingly tame - not in their visuals, mind you: The hive, for example, is really icky. Still, it is somewhat surprising to see the heavy penalty of corruption stage 3...and at the same time, the significant array of manifestations each corruption offers. Now, some folks have complained about the risk of being turned NPC being too high (it's a sort of game over, after all), but from a meta-design perspective it can be a motivator for munchkins to take heed.

There is another aspect to the system pretty much every review I read did not pick up on - and I don't get why. In my third essay on horror gaming, I talked about the realities of being a big publisher and not one of the underground one-man operations. I also talked briefly about the witch hunts our hobby is subject to, one that continues in some regions and circles. More than that, moral and aesthetic limitations vary within persons - more so between folks. As the big dog that Paizo is, it is pretty hard to sell "play a monstrously vile thing and the descent into evil" to a part of their demographic - though, in particularly the hardcore horror fans will want exactly that, the teetering on the edge of damnation experience, for from this precipice, the best redemption stories are woven.

Here's the beautiful thing about the corruption system: The increase of manifestations is not tied to the corruption stage progression. At all. You can retain the whole save mechanics, variants and the whole rest and just throw out the three stages. You can introduce as many stages as you'd like (perhaps 7 or 5, as previous editions of the game did - perhaps 13, if you want to go an occult angle...) - the system's validity remains. And yes, I'll confess, my kneejerk response was like that of many out there, to complain and curse about the 3 stages - but know what? This is by far the best and most detailed (and balanced) such system I have seen for a d20-based game. It covers the company and at the same time, easily allows for PCs and NPCs, for GMs and players alike, to enjoy a system I never expected to see in this shape or form from a big publisher. Now personally, I would have actually increased the potency of the corruptions if you're running with the stage-limit and NPC-threat...but, once again, that is if you're planning on playing a relatively tame campaign. The fact that each manifestation has its custom gifts and stains, completely divorced from the stages, means that you retain maximum control when tweaking the system to your needs. The fact that the save to resist progression is tied to compulsive behavior means that even it, as an aspect, remains valid, its tie to further manifestations in the save-calculation providing a roleplaying catalyst even without the presence of the threat of NPCdom.

The chapter on magic provides a wide array of thematically fitting spells that range from the subtle to the in-your-face blunt - sleepwalking suggestions, massive, gory blood effects and cursed terrain generally make sense and even otherwise pretty standard damage spells included herein sport nice visuals: Screaming flames? Yes, I can see that working. I am honestly more in love with the fact that we get a 5 pretty neat occult rituals here that all are amazing in their own way, with each having the potential to act as a proper plot-cornerstone. I wished we got more of them!

Now, I mentioned that I consider this to be a GM-book and indeed, the GM-section is a bit of a treasure trove in some aspects: We get a couple of new curses and advice on making more, as well as notes on cursed lands and items - if the topic interests you: Both Legendary games and Rite Publishing have released whole supplements dealing with curses, often in really creative ways, but that as an aside. Curse templates allow for the customization of curses herein. Now, the disease chapter gets my full-blown applause for disease templates - and e.g. the one named "incurable." It actually does what it says on the tin! (minus the usual wish/miracle-caveat) - this is amazing. I mean it. Diseases have, in pretty much every d20-based system, been afterthoughts, crippled, lame and ultimately were the lame brothers of poison. This changes that. The sample diseases like "brain moss" or "gore worms" also make me tingle and twitch in a good way.

Speaking of things I like: We get a vast number of cool terrain hazards, haunted spots and the like to add to encounters, allowing for quick and easy eerie customizations. Domains of Evil can also be found. You know. Domains. With dread fog. That modify how magic works. With hazards and potentially different flow of time. That are haunted. Yeah, let's stop teh pretense here: If you're like me and a sucker for Ravenloft, then this chapter will have you smile from ear to ear, even before the rules on nightmares and the couple of traps. These, btw., unfortunately are the roll to see and disable kind - particularly in a horror game, team effort, complex traps that require multiple tasks make for the more compelling option, but I digress.

Now, the next section of rules is something that I was looking forward to, since it had been featured, but never codified properly in rules at least not by Paizo (there are a couple of 3pp-forays into that territory)- fleshwarping! And yes, it is cool. It sports a ton of nice effects, but the system is, to a degree, a double-edged sword: On one hand, fleshwarping works really well and on the other, its price is perhaps a bit too high: Let me elaborate: Fleshcrafts can either be permanent grafts or temporary mutations, instilled by an elixir that requires succeeding a Fort-save to gain the benefits. The temporary prices and benefits and being keyed to slots etc. makes sense for the elixirs, but since the effects also sport a penalty, the price for the respective fleshcraft grafts is still pretty high when compared to magic items - baseline for the grafts seems to have been 1/2 of a comparable item's base price to make up for the drawback. Considering the disfiguring nature of these options, that may still be pretty high, though. It depends a bit. Chaotic fleshwarping mutations can also be found - and unlike the chaositech mutations of yore, these generally are detrimental.

The extensive section on haunts that follows includes templates for them (called haunt elements) as well as variants like dimensional instabilities, maddening influence, magical scars and psychic haunts. The array presented ranges from humble Cr 1/4 to CR 20, including classics like being buried alive or the twisted wish. Madnesses are codified in lesser and greater madnesses - big plus here: For once, a supplement does not confuse schizophrenia with dissociated identities. (Seriously, if I had a buck whenever I saw that being confused...)

Now, one of the most useful sections regarding GM-considerations would be the massive chapter that deals with running horror games - which not only classifies and quantifies horror sub.genres, their tropes, etc., but also mentions all the classics like lighting, music, creating an undisturbed environment, etc. - tricks for dealing with various snags, how to encourage horror roleplaying etc. - and it is sad, but obviously necessary that, beyond talking about what does and does not fly with individual players, overdoing it does not work. HOWEVER, I do actually disagree with one aspect - involving outside people. To have an unrelated accomplice like a spouse play with the light on e.g. a stormy evening - not all the time, but once or twice, can be rather effective...but I generally get why these disclaimers are here. This section, obviously, is targeted at less experienced GMs in the genre - and in particular such GMs will also appreciate the section on improvising rules for e.g. being buried alive, crumbling structures, etc.

Part II of my review can be found here!


Subpar book, mostly for GMs

2/5

This book has a lot of systems, mechanics, archetypes, feats, spells, environment challenges, haunts, curses, etc. While most of it is clearly presented and has enough flavor text to give you some ideas on how to use it, everything just seems to fall flat.

My two biggest gripes (I have more than just two):
1) The sanity system is horribly balanced, heavily penalizing martial characters, and it's effects are easily cured by powerful spells. Really poorly executed, why make the gap between martials and casters even worse?
2) Most of the Archetypes are realistically for GM use only, as they are very niche. I wanted to give my players a lot of cool horror themed archetypes to play with, instead they got a scant few.

This book really could have been SO much better. Disappointed.


Paizo Knows Horror and Here's Their New Toolkit!

5/5

Paizo reviews come in two forms: players that whine because they wanted something other than what was in the book (^^^)and then gamemasters/players that actually review the material provided. This is a review from the latter.

Paizo has created some of the best horror themed adventures for Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons over the course of their existence. In this book, they round it all up and spell out all of the tricks and tips they use to make it happen.

I have written everything from adventures to comic books to film scripts and I would easily hand this book over to a non-gaming writer that needed advice on how to create horror. This book goes to great lengths to provide players with archetypes for classes to use in horror themed adventures as well as giving gamemasters tools they need to create horror in session after session.

Players get archetypes, feats, spells and new gear with which to battle the horrific forces of the multiverse. GMs get a ton of new tools including a nifty new Bestiary that brings us Pathfinder versions of Alien-style xenomorphs called the Hive AND a nice analogue for the Slender Man called the Unknown. Horror requires more than monsters, so you also get new rules on corruptions, curses, diseases, horrific environments, fleshwarping, haunts, madness and more!

Creating horror is more than giving players more 0's they can add to their attacks. It involves setting, tone, atmosphere and management of expectations. If you want to run a game that makes your players fear for their characters lives, then pick up this book and give it a read. Follow up with the recommended reading and required viewing and you'll get a feeling for how to instill dread in everyone sitting at your table.


More Like Evil Adventures

3/5

This book feels more like Pathfinder's version of the Book of Vile Darkness then horror themed adventures. Also this is a very DM heavy book though I thought it would be 70% player 30% DM but is actually the other way around.

The Good
-I loved the Dread Lord, Hive, Trompe L'Oeil, Unknown, and Waxwork Creature.
-I like the Corruptions.
-I like the reprint/expanding of madness rules.
-I like some of the magic items like mantle of life, monster almanac, and elder sign.
-I liked a few archetypes like the two for witches.

The Bad
-Too many evil archetypes, spells, etc.
-Do not like the sanity rules.
-Do not like the fleshwarping rules for characters.
-Most of archetypes were lacking or unusable for players.
-Very few interesting spells that are player friendly.
-Very few interesting feats.
-Not enough character options related to specific class features like wild talents, bloodlines, rogue talents, oracle curses/mysteries, etc.

I feel this book was a missed opportunity for same great horror based player character options. Such as expanded options for void kineticist like fear effects, controlling/creating undead, etc. new psychic disciplines, sorcerer/bloodrager bloodlines, oracle curses/mysteries, hexes, phantom emotion focuses, etc. I could even see some interesting ideas for rogue talents, rage powers, slayer talents, etc. I would have been fine with reprints like the pestilence sorcerer bloodline, kineticist void element, and other fitting options from past books.


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I do love the cover

Lantern Lodge

I am glad for this one.

I am curious about the insanity rules. Any vile teaser ?

Liberty's Edge

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Dragon78 wrote:
Well Deadmanwalking, we could call it something else as long as the game mechanics is what I am looking for. Besides this is a fantasy game, if everything was real world accurate it would be a very boring game indeed.

Misrepresenting mental disorders is a bad policy for a host of reasons. Avoiding it is good if at all possible. Particularly in rules text.

I mean, if people in-world get things wrong, that can be chalked up to them being wrong in-world. If the writers get it wrong in the rules? That's a bit of a bigger deal.

Ed Reppert wrote:
Anti-social behavior is a mental disorder? Since when, and why? What exactly is anti-social behavior, anyway?

Er. No. Very strongly no.

Anti-social behavior in the sense of punching people in the face or setting things on fire is a necessary, but not sufficient prerequisite to be diagnosed with this particular mental disorder.

Here's the actual diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder spoilered for space:

Spoiler:
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose antisocial personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:

1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a.Identity: Ego-centrism; self-esteem derived from
personal gain, power, or pleasure.
b.Self-direction: Goal-setting based on personal
gratification; absence of prosocial internal
standards associated with failure to conform to
lawful or culturally normative ethical behavior.

AND

2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a.Empathy: Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or
suffering of others; lack of remorse after hurting or
mistreating another.
b.Intimacy: Incapacity for mutually intimate
relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of
relating to others, including by deceit and coercion;
use of dominance or intimidation to control others.

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domains:

1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a.Manipulativeness: Frequent use of subterfuge to
influence or control others; use of seduction,
charm, glibness, or ingratiation to achieve one's
ends.
b.Deceitfulness: Dishonesty and fraudulence;
misrepresentation of self; embellishment or
fabrication when relating events.
c. Callousness: Lack of concern for feelings or
problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about
the negative or harmful effects of one„s actions on
others; aggression; sadism.
d. Hostility: Persistent or frequent angry feelings;
anger or irritability in response to minor slights and
insults; mean, nasty, or vengeful behavior.

2. Disinhibition, characterized by:
a. Irresponsibility: Disregard for – and failure to
honor – financial and other obligations or
commitments; lack of respect for – and lack of
follow through on – agreements and promises.
b. Impulsivity: Acting on the spur of the moment in
response to immediate stimuli; acting on a
momentary basis without a plan or consideration
of outcomes; difficulty establishing and following
plans.
c.Risk taking: Engagement in dangerous, risky, and
potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily
and without regard for consequences; boredom
proneness and thoughtless initiation of activities to
counter boredom; lack of concern for one's
limitations and denial of the reality of personal
danger

C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual‟s developmental stage or sociocultural environment.

E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).

F. The individual is at least age 18 years.

So...yeah, that's some pretty specific criteria. Not remotely 'antisocial behavior' on its own.

John Kretzer wrote:
Thanks

No problem, always happy to be of assistance.


My concern is how easy this stuff can be ignored with magic.

I hardly ever use disease and insanity-type attacks because these conditions can so easily be magically taken off at high levels thanks to spells like Heal and Restoration and practically any mid- to high-level magic.


The cover is nice and I must not be the only one who is not a fan of the Cavalier.


tfw you try to ask Wes about horror archetypes and it gets buried by dozens of people arguing about sociopaths


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Ed Reppert wrote:
So if you show "lack of consideration for the well-being of others" you're (at least borderline) crazy. Got it.

Simply having a mental disorder does not equal "Crazy". Having depression is a mental disorder, but most people I know with depression are not "crazy". Crazy is a very loaded word (which is part of the issue in discussing mental issues I suppose).

Also, simply showing "lack of consideration for the well-being of others" isn't enough to show that you possess antisocial personality disorder, it has to be a pattern of behaviour. But yes, if you don't care about other people to a harmful extent, you are recognized as an individual who doesn't care about other people to a harmful extent...

Quote:
tfw you try to ask Wes about horror archetypes and it gets buried by dozens of people arguing about sociopath

Admittedly, the book is going to try and give further rules for madness so mental discussion talk is highly likely given the volatility of the topic.

edit: I wonder how well the disease rules will go with Unchained's disease rules.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
So if you show "lack of consideration for the well-being of others" you're (at least borderline) crazy. Got it.
You do realize that sentence means "You do something harmful to others on purpose or regardless of the fact it will hurt others"? :p

Nope. "Lack of consideration" does not imply actively doing harm. Suppose, for example, our anti-social whoever-he-is sees someone standing in the street, oblivious to the bus that's about to run him down. Doing nothing certainly shows lack of consideration for the well-being of that person, but it doesn't fit your interpretation of what that means.

I'll not respond further to this sub-thread, because it's off topic. I will say that the spoiler deadmanwalking posted upthread seems to confirm my impression that whatever is going on with "anti-social mental disorder", it ain't science.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ed Reppert wrote:
Nope. "Lack of consideration" does not imply actively doing harm. Suppose, for example, our anti-social whoever-he-is sees someone standing in the street, oblivious to the bus that's about to run him down. Doing nothing certainly shows lack of consideration for the well-being of that person, but it doesn't fit your interpretation of what that means.

That's not what the terminology is used to mean in this context.

Ed Reppert wrote:
I'll not respond further to this sub-thread, because it's off topic. I will say that the spoiler deadmanwalking posted upthread seems to confirm my impression that whatever is going on with "anti-social mental disorder", it ain't science.

Are you familiar with how psychology, as a science, actually works? Because if not, maybe you shouldn't be talking about it in such absolute terms.


CorvusMask wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Well Deadmanwalking, we could call it something else as long as the game mechanics is what I am looking for. Besides this is a fantasy game, if everything was real world accurate it would be a very boring game indeed.
Mental disorders are serious business :/

Speaking as a person that has one, yes they are. Though mine is more of a neurological deficit I believe. Not sure where the autism spectrum falls in terms of classification.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Does this mean we are getting new fleshwarped creatures or alternate uses?

The Stalker that cannot be stopped must something like Jason from the Friday The 13th movies and similar villains.


just in time for the Strange Aeons path isn't it


Dragon78,

I'd love to see Jason Vorhees in Pathfinder. ;)

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Well Deadmanwalking, we could call it something else as long as the game mechanics is what I am looking for. Besides this is a fantasy game, if everything was real world accurate it would be a very boring game indeed.
Mental disorders are serious business :/
Speaking as a person that has one, yes they are. Though mine is more of a neurological deficit I believe. Not sure where the autism spectrum falls in terms of classification.

Autism is a fairly wide spectrum of mental disabilities. I personally have been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome (one of the higher functioning strains), but there are people that fall into the higher and lower functioning bands of the spectrum. No 2 people with autism are going to be alike. The only things they have in common is a keen interest in somethings, a focused mindset, and some learning learning difficulties on top of it. Its more thinking and processing things differently than normal people rather than being retarded(a Much more serious mental deficiency linked to Cerebral Palsy).

Whether you are higher functioning or lower functioning depends in part on how it affects your ability to learn and understand. Its probably not going to appear in this book since Autism is a genetic rooted disorder(as far as most Scientists are aware(it's apparently linked to 3 gene sequences that can bring about the trait), so its Extremely unlikely a barbarian or wizard is going to get it from staring at a great old one.

But as mental disorders go, Autism is one of the tamer ones(in relative terms). Its still a serious topic, and shouldn't be mistreated or joked about(mental issues should never be treated like the punchline to a joke), but with proper care and support, those with it can still contribute greatly so societies growth.


Eris,

I'm pretty much aware of all this. I merely wanted to know if that was part of the whole "mental illness" thing or not.

I also doubt seriously that autism will be in this book since it's not a representative trait that works well in fantasy type settings.


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Maybe we will get some rules for grafting monster parts, parasites, symbiotes, and creature fusions.


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I just want slavering zombie apocalypse hordes.

And of course, more haunts.


Maybe this book will give us some evil clown love as well.


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*shivers* NO!! No more evil clowns.... I got enough of that back where I live.

*looks at the grand city of Shelzar in Scarn*

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Barachiel Shina wrote:

My concern is how easy this stuff can be ignored with magic.

I hardly ever use disease and insanity-type attacks because these conditions can so easily be magically taken off at high levels thanks to spells like Heal and Restoration and practically any mid- to high-level magic.

I think insanity and disease isn't something that can simply be ignored with magic, even with the whole 'magic makes it go away thing'. look at the curse of the crimson throne book 2. the whole reason why the players needed to find the cure for the plague was that, while there were clerics and paladins on standby to heal the people, your talking a population of several thousand and only a handful of clerics that have the spells needed to treat the infected.Cure disease makes the disease go away, but it don't make you immune, or stop the plague from infecting and killing people that are not you. Its a war of attrition that probably you will probably lose(lets face it, you cannot keep disease cures on hand forever(try sleeping in Heavy Armour all the time, with rings and necklaces and all that stuff. You Will probably get insomnia or muscle stiffness from all that), and by the late game, the plagues are probably those that simply don't care if you have disease prevention or not. You Might even become a carrier infecting everyone you meet with the maladies you should have but don't).

Same with sanity loss. How long can you face the horrors that dwell in the shadows and still keep your head on straight. Maybe you become hardened to it and it stops phasing you, but even that isn't good(you probably become detached from reality and then everyone is being freaked out by YOU too).

Its probably optional rules, similar to how unchained's systems could be worked into the game, but if its in, Disease and insanity is probably going to kill off your players slowly over time, as problems continue to build up into really big issues, and only a handful might ever get to level 20+ (and even then, the grim reaper auto-confirm crit's you for a save or die with no chance of coming back save divine intervention, or the tarrasque steps on you, or something kills you off (unless you really are immortal to which is say Have Fun with the slow turning wheel of eternity, watching the people you love grow old or die around you, watching as tedium and time wear you down, or you become a god and probably lose a bit of what made you human in the first place).

Silver Crusade

Dragon78 wrote:

Does this mean we are getting new fleshwarped creatures or alternate uses?

The Stalker that cannot be stopped must something like Jason from the Friday The 13th movies and similar villains.

The stalker that cannot be stopped is an interesting concept, although I fear its execution. I mean they could do the HoH Soul-locked, but that was kind of 'fiaty', and really once a monster is dropped for the second time, the party's going to do everything under the sun to keep it dropped.

I mean if I killed a monster initially, unless I knew it was known for regeneration (trolls and such), I leave it alone. Monster comes back to kill me, and I would atomize it, no joke.

So the options to me here are:

1. It gets back up with some kind of 'epic/mythic' fast healing/regeneration, party beats it down again, ties weights to its legs and finds the nearest body of water to toss it into or whatever other permanent solution they can think of for it.

2. It dies, and just comes back regardless of the shape it was in before it was killed, and needs X specific thing to kill it.

I mean I'd probably go with 2, but the monster needs to advance after reach 'reincarnation' like G in Res Evil 2. If we get regular Jason after the first kill, I want Jason X the second time, and then the third time I want Jason and Freddy to fuse for the big encounter.

It's kind of difficult to separate this from "Beat bad guy, bad guy comes back as undead, bad guy comes back as undead part 2", so like I said in my earlier statement, some kind of power boost per reincarnation to challenge the party is key in keeping a monster like this relevant.

A lot of it just falls to high fantasy not being a great environment for that kind of horror. It kind of needs to be a lower fantasy for some of these things to work (like the disease/madness discussion in progress) since spells like heal just straight up end that unless that's fiat'd away. It forces horror into the lower levels of play, and really, I'd like some high level horror that lets me use all of my high level tools against a stalker that cannot die that makes me feel like the damn Nemesis is chasing me.

Dark Archive

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Nope. "Lack of consideration" does not imply actively doing harm. Suppose, for example, our anti-social whoever-he-is sees someone standing in the street, oblivious to the bus that's about to run him down. Doing nothing certainly shows lack of consideration for the well-being of that person, but it doesn't fit your interpretation of what that means.

That's not what the terminology is used to mean in this context.

Ed Reppert wrote:
I'll not respond further to this sub-thread, because it's off topic. I will say that the spoiler deadmanwalking posted upthread seems to confirm my impression that whatever is going on with "anti-social mental disorder", it ain't science.
Are you familiar with how psychology, as a science, actually works? Because if not, maybe you shouldn't be talking about it in such absolute terms.

Yeaaah, you are kinda ignoring the context.


N. Jolly wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

Does this mean we are getting new fleshwarped creatures or alternate uses?

The Stalker that cannot be stopped must something like Jason from the Friday The 13th movies and similar villains.

The stalker that cannot be stopped is an interesting concept, although I fear its execution. I mean they could do the HoH Soul-locked, but that was kind of 'fiaty', and really once a monster is dropped for the second time, the party's going to do everything under the sun to keep it dropped.

I mean if I killed a monster initially, unless I knew it was known for regeneration (trolls and such), I leave it alone. Monster comes back to kill me, and I would atomize it, no joke.

So the options to me here are:

1. It gets back up with some kind of 'epic/mythic' fast healing/regeneration, party beats it down again, ties weights to its legs and finds the nearest body of water to toss it into or whatever other permanent solution they can think of for it.

2. It dies, and just comes back regardless of the shape it was in before it was killed, and needs X specific thing to kill it.

I mean I'd probably go with 2, but the monster needs to advance after reach 'reincarnation' like G in Res Evil 2. If we get regular Jason after the first kill, I want Jason X the second time, and then the third time I want Jason and Freddy to fuse for the big encounter.

It's kind of difficult to separate this from "Beat bad guy, bad guy comes back as undead, bad guy comes back as undead part 2", so like I said in my earlier statement, some kind of power boost per reincarnation to challenge the party is key in keeping a monster like this relevant.

A lot of it just falls to high fantasy not being a great environment for that kind of horror. It kind of needs to be a lower fantasy for some of these things to work (like the disease/madness discussion in progress) since spells like heal just straight up end that unless that's fiat'd away. It forces horror into the lower levels of play, and really, I'd...

Option 2 sounds like Steven Russell's Nigh-Invulnerable template, which you can find for free in Pathways 48.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe we will get some rules for grafting monster parts, parasites, symbiotes, and creature fusions.

Why be content with fighting monsters that bring dread when you can become the monster that brings dread to the monsters that bring dread.

If they do have rules for that, then i wonder how many players will go full island of doctor munroe, frankenstein, or Tentecle Armed Mad Doctor.


Eris,

I thought they already did. *cites Aberrent tumor thingie*


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Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe we will get some rules for grafting monster parts, parasites, symbiotes, and creature fusions.

Ha, ha... Hahahahahahahhahaha...

Sorry, if this does have that my gaming group will have another book to pry from my cold mostly dead fingers. the other being Lords of Madness.

Dark Archive

ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe we will get some rules for grafting monster parts, parasites, symbiotes, and creature fusions.

Why be content with fighting monsters that bring dread when you can become the monster that brings dread to the monsters that bring dread.

If they do have rules for that, then i wonder how many players will go full island of doctor munroe, frankenstein, or Tentecle Armed Mad Doctor.

Flesh golems are pretty much frankenstein monsters, and Vivisectionist alchemist archetype is pretty much Doctor Munroe(its archetype that has ability to cruelly and painfully make animals anthropomorhic(sp?). Yes, really. That archetype exists.)


Thomas Seitz wrote:

Eris,

I thought they already did. *cites Aberrent tumor thingie*

... something that doesn't require to be a Caster or an Alchemist?

@ N. Jolly, ever seen Jason X?

Silver Crusade

Deranged_Maniac_Ben wrote:
Option 2 sounds like Steven Russell's Nigh-Invulnerable template, which you can find for free in Pathways 48.

Downloading it now, still have other stuff backlogged that I want to look at, but I am interested in this since I want to see if it works like a template I want to make now.

Nutcase Entertainment wrote:
@ N. Jolly, ever seen Jason X?

I had to look up to remember if that was Jason in space. It was, I have seen it.

I just love me some unkillable monsters, although regeneration doesn't really do it for me. I mean you can beat regeneration other ways, this needs to be something that's just awe inspiring (again, like the Nemesis.)


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N. Jolly wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
We are keenly aware of this. I can't say don't be concerned, but certainly, don't think we're going into this with our eyes—or those of several partners—shut.

As stated before, I'm not afraid on this because of Paizo having a bad track record with this sort of thing (following several of you on social media including tumblr has shown me that you're aware of issues like these), but even you have admitted that it's very dangerous territory for ableist content.

Personally, I would rather have the 'madness' in this book have less of a basis in reality, something more like 'fantasy madness', so things that are less rooted in reality. The more 'realistic' you shoot for, the more you run the line of reaching an offensive point,and fantasy already has a very bad reputation of "crazy=evil" to most people.

Really, I want to like this product, and I have high hopes for it, I'm just fearful for the same reason I always am when I see something like this, and I think avoiding more realistic 'madness' would help in keeping it from being a large issue.

Agreed. I'm hoping Paizo either avoids actual terms entirely or does a very careful, non-rules based effort at discussing them. No middle ground "dissociative identity disorder = 1d4 wacky bonus personalities!".

But I'll leave it at that, since this issue went...downhill the last time we discussed it. :P


Unless the template creates a corporeal undead with an ability like rejuvenation were it just keeps coming back until you find it's one weakness. Also it can't be turned or controlled.


Announced Friday and 3 pages of posts already?! Impressive.
This product is intriguing, I am just concerned about how far it will go...I mean are we looking at content similar to the "Book of Vile Darkness" or not?


So if the template makes them into "living" wax then they are not constructs, correct? maybe ooze or aberration.

Project Manager

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
We are keenly aware of this. I can't say don't be concerned, but certainly, don't think we're going into this with our eyes—or those of several partners—shut.

As stated before, I'm not afraid on this because of Paizo having a bad track record with this sort of thing (following several of you on social media including tumblr has shown me that you're aware of issues like these), but even you have admitted that it's very dangerous territory for ableist content.

Personally, I would rather have the 'madness' in this book have less of a basis in reality, something more like 'fantasy madness', so things that are less rooted in reality. The more 'realistic' you shoot for, the more you run the line of reaching an offensive point,and fantasy already has a very bad reputation of "crazy=evil" to most people.

Really, I want to like this product, and I have high hopes for it, I'm just fearful for the same reason I always am when I see something like this, and I think avoiding more realistic 'madness' would help in keeping it from being a large issue.

Agreed. I'm hoping Paizo either avoids actual terms entirely or does a very careful, non-rules based effort at discussing them. No middle ground "dissociative identity disorder = 1d4 wacky bonus personalities!".

But I'll leave it at that, since this issue went...downhill the last time we discussed it. :P

I believe the intent is to keep it more toward "fantasy madness." Personally, I'd prefer something like a stress system (like Darkest Dungeon), but enough gamers are invested in the Lovecraftian Horrors Trigger Madness tropes that I don't expect the term's going away any time soon.

Community Manager

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A note to say that if you want to continue the discussion on mental illness and/or its application in roleplaying games, please take it to another thread—let's keep this thread about the product.


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Jessica Price wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
We are keenly aware of this. I can't say don't be concerned, but certainly, don't think we're going into this with our eyes—or those of several partners—shut.

As stated before, I'm not afraid on this because of Paizo having a bad track record with this sort of thing (following several of you on social media including tumblr has shown me that you're aware of issues like these), but even you have admitted that it's very dangerous territory for ableist content.

Personally, I would rather have the 'madness' in this book have less of a basis in reality, something more like 'fantasy madness', so things that are less rooted in reality. The more 'realistic' you shoot for, the more you run the line of reaching an offensive point,and fantasy already has a very bad reputation of "crazy=evil" to most people.

Really, I want to like this product, and I have high hopes for it, I'm just fearful for the same reason I always am when I see something like this, and I think avoiding more realistic 'madness' would help in keeping it from being a large issue.

Agreed. I'm hoping Paizo either avoids actual terms entirely or does a very careful, non-rules based effort at discussing them. No middle ground "dissociative identity disorder = 1d4 wacky bonus personalities!".

But I'll leave it at that, since this issue went...downhill the last time we discussed it. :P

I believe the intent is to keep it more toward "fantasy madness." Personally, I'd prefer something like a stress system (like Darkest Dungeon), but enough gamers are invested in the Lovecraftian Horrors Trigger Madness tropes that I don't expect the term's going away any time soon.

A stress-like mechanic would be awesome. I hope Horror Adventures will offer ways of adapting that concept into Pathfinder, actually.


Holy cow, great Idea.


Stress-like mechanic, you mean mental stress? I would like something like that.


We've sketched out a "mental trauma" system (tentative name) for possible inclusion in Fat Goblin Game's Shadows over Vathak: Gamemaster Guide, which is likely to come out around the same time period as HA/Strange Aeons.


I suspect this book will help in so many campaigns. My futuristic Dark Heresy-Pathfinder conversion will benefit from the sanity rules and corruption; 5E Curse of Strahd will benefit from the advice in running horror adventures; My gritty warhammer campaign can use pretty much everything. Lastly I can't wait to see how it relates to the Strange Aeons AP!


Liz Courts wrote:
A note to say that if you want to continue the discussion on mental illness and/or its application in roleplaying games, please take it to another thread—let's keep this thread about the product.

Understood Greatest Board Ninja of all time!

Moving on, I'd still like to see more Walking Dead/WWZ type deals.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jessica Price wrote:


I believe the intent is to keep it more toward "fantasy madness." Personally, I'd prefer something like a stress system (like Darkest Dungeon), but enough gamers are invested in the Lovecraftian Horrors Trigger Madness tropes that I don't expect the term's going away any time soon.

A very good idea!

That Lovecraft stuff has been on a pedestal long enough, it´s about time some new elements appear there.
Something adding a bit more chance and thrill, perhaps even cutting a bit into player choices, or giving more control back to GMs, that can be exploited very well to add more mood and depth to stories and make things feel more heroic again instead of just being number crunching superheroes.


Agreed, lets not make every horror themed thing we do mythos related.


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... You guys realise she said she'd prefer that it was something like the stress system, but that the intent is more towards fantasy madness.... So we are likely getting the lovecraftian horror trigger madness type stuff not the stress system.

Paizo Employee Designer

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That said, I think you could probably call the sanity system stress and have it work for you like stress (adding some ways to lose it based on doing stressful stuff that isn't on the list for sanity).


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Barachiel Shina wrote:

My concern is how easy this stuff can be ignored with magic.

I hardly ever use disease and insanity-type attacks because these conditions can so easily be magically taken off at high levels thanks to spells like Heal and Restoration and practically any mid- to high-level magic.

Well there is a longstanding horror tradition that just learning a spell means putting your mind in places it's not meant to be. There might be rules where madness is an inherent part of arcane magic. Trying to use magic to fix a broken mind could have risks of its own, opening up the caster's mind to what ever horrors destroyed the one he is trying to recover.


If our magic system worked like that I would be so annoyed.


Greylurker wrote:
Well there is a longstanding horror tradition that just learning a spell means putting your mind in places it's not meant to be. There might be rules where madness is an inherent part of arcane magic. Trying to use magic to fix a broken mind could have risks of its own, opening up the caster's mind to what ever horrors destroyed the one he is trying to recover.

Well it'd have to be psychic magic rather than arcane.... But that'd make playing rather... annoying rather than fun.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
Well there is a longstanding horror tradition that just learning a spell means putting your mind in places it's not meant to be. There might be rules where madness is an inherent part of arcane magic. Trying to use magic to fix a broken mind could have risks of its own, opening up the caster's mind to what ever horrors destroyed the one he is trying to recover.
Well it'd have to be psychic magic rather than arcane.... But that'd make playing rather... annoying rather than fun.

For the whole Payhfinder system, yeah.

For a new subset of "Dangerous/forbidden/things humanity was not meant to know" type of spells however...

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