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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Paizo Employee Designer

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Brandon Hodge wrote:
kevinadnd wrote:

I just got my copy of the Horror Adventures book and was looking at the new inquisitor archetypes (specifically the living grimoire). Well my question is thus, since they trade away all the judgement class features (for the Sacred Word ability), why do they keep the 17th level Slayer class feature that directly ties in with judgment?

Shouldn't they get something else to replace this class feature?

** spoiler omitted **

Well, that's a pesky oversight. The Slayer class ability was meant to be folded into the trade-out of either the Sacred Word or Holy Script abilities, but looks like it didn't make it in my final draft.

The good news is that the archetype is unaffected. Until fixed in errata, Living Grimoires will receive an ability at 17th level they can't use. From a design and mechanical standpoint, however, the trade-off in losing that ability at 17th was that level 16 is pretty front-loaded, and that's when Living Grimoires get their +4 enchantment for Sacred Word, an extra spell for Blessed Script, and 6th-level spells.

So, an annoying omission, yes, but by no means one that affects the function of the archetype in any way.

I'll put this on the list in case we do a FAQ flurry, to potentially swap out slayer as well.


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Brandon Hodge wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Ah! So if I'm 18th level this spell would last then...6 rounds?

The longest the spell can ever last is 4 rounds due to max damage dice. In fact, it last 4 rounds in every casting scenario except 7th level, which, as a 4th-level spell, is its minimum casting level:

15d6 (max damage dice) > 7d6 (always round down in PF) > 3d6 > 1d6 = 4

14d6 > 7d6 > 3d6 > 1d6 = 4

13d6 > 6d6 > 3d6 > 1d6 = 4

12d6 > 6d6 > 3d6 > 1d6 = 4

11d6 > 5d6 > 2d6 > 1d6 = 4

10d6 > 5d6 > 2d6 > 1d6 = 4

9d6 > 4d6 > 2d6 > 1d6 = 4

8d6 > 4d6 > 2d6 > 1d6 = 4

7d6 > 3d6 > 1d6 = 3

Intensified Spell could get another round out of it, but only one:

20 > 10 > 5 > 2 > 1
19 > 9 > 4 > 2 > 1
18 > 9 > 4 > 2 > 1
17 > 8 > 4 > 2 > 1
16 > 8 > 4 > 2 > 1


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I really wanted to love this book but I'm not digging most of these archetypes at all.

The worst thing is that a lot of them are almost really cool and then and I'm just left with this feeling of "Wait that's it?". Because they only feel like half an archetype.

Like the Dreadnought barbarian. Implacable murderous calm. Awesome concept. So it gets a nerfed rage, a negligible bonus to saves against slows and CMD against... grapple maybe? Who knows. It also gets fear immunity two levels after most people have already stopped playing the game. And then that's the whole archetype. I'm left here wondering where all the thematic flavorful things to emphasize the concept of the archetype are... and wondering what it's supposed to gain to compensate for its incredibly weakened rage.

That's not cherry picking either that's.. literally the first archetype I read.

Some of them are pretty cool though, just feels like the common theme of this book is excessively conservative design principles more than horror.


Anything useful in relation to Wendigo Psychosis?

Shadow Lodge

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swoosh wrote:

I really wanted to love this book but I'm not digging most of these archetypes at all.

The worst thing is that a lot of them are almost really cool and then and I'm just left with this feeling of "Wait that's it?". Because they only feel like half an archetype.

It's mainly because the vast majority of the material is designed for the DM, with some options being allowed for Players, it's clearly, (but not outright clarified) as to be used by DMs.


I have to say that one of my favorite archetypes in the book are the druidic ones, the devolutionist and life channeler. The latter has a very 'Golden Bough/Wicker Man' feel to it; and the devolutionist feels like something from a 70's Gaia's revenge movie, or maybe the original version of The Crazies.

I do wish we'd gotten an occult ritual that made it possible to do what the life channeler does with its rampant growth ability, but have it affect an even larger area at the price of keeping the 'Harvest King' around for a longer time. Just to see how PCs react when the friendly villagers who have been showering them with flowers, and the gorgeous women/men have been throwing themselves at their feet, suddenly whip out the masks and robes and start singing, "Harvest is icumen in..."

The spells are awesome too, even if most feel like they'd work better for haunts than in the hands of the PCs. Except for that life blast spell. I love that! Druids may not be the go-to guy for anti-undead purposes that clerics are, but they do oppose everything unnatural, and they needed something to smack those shambling corpses with. It just feels so very 'druidic', with the sacrifice of life to defeat undeath.


DM Beckett wrote:
swoosh wrote:

I really wanted to love this book but I'm not digging most of these archetypes at all.

The worst thing is that a lot of them are almost really cool and then and I'm just left with this feeling of "Wait that's it?". Because they only feel like half an archetype.

It's mainly because the vast majority of the material is designed for the DM, with some options being allowed for Players, it's clearly, (but not outright clarified) as to be used by DMs.

That's a given, but a different issue entirely. There are a number of archetypes with cool, thematic abilities that are rather impractical for a PC (bloody jake slayer, gingerbread witch, etc). But the ones I'm disappointed with just don't have much going for them at all.


Haldelar Baxter wrote:
Anything useful in relation to Wendigo Psychosis?

I think it might be in Horror Realms Campaign Setting...


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There's an Enhanced Wendigo Psychosis in Ithaqua's bestiary entry. It's in the back of Strange Aeons #1. It's probably not as interesting as you'd like though. It's essentially a more difficult Wendigo Psychosis. Ithaqua as a whole however was a really interesting read. Especially the implication that Golarion might only have an Arctic Circle and magnetic poles because of Ithaqua. Ditto for every other planet out there with those conditions. But I guess I already gave that away.


For Elemental Whispers, does the familiar's intelligence increase based on kineticist level?


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I really like Life Blast as well. It finally gives Druids, Rangers, Hunters something to smack undead around.

My oldest son and I rather like the Gravedigger Investigator archetype. As he said it, "You can have Bob the Skull from Dresden" (of course, so can most Occultists, but it is still cool).


Fourshadow wrote:

I really like Life Blast as well. It finally gives Druids, Rangers, Hunters something to smack undead around.

My oldest son and I rather like the Gravedigger Investigator archetype. As he said it, "You can have Bob the Skull from Dresden" (of course, so can most Occultists, but it is still cool).

I mostly like the Gravedigger because they can use a shovel as a weapon. I'd love to see one with a magically enhanced shovel that they used to battle their enemies.


Eric Hinkle wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:

I really like Life Blast as well. It finally gives Druids, Rangers, Hunters something to smack undead around.

My oldest son and I rather like the Gravedigger Investigator archetype. As he said it, "You can have Bob the Skull from Dresden" (of course, so can most Occultists, but it is still cool).

I mostly like the Gravedigger because they can use a shovel as a weapon. I'd love to see one with a magically enhanced shovel that they used to battle their enemies.

Yes, the Gravedigger gets what would otherwise be "improvised weapons" added to their proficiency. That is very cool.


Isn't Lifeblast the "welcome to Athas" spell?


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Isn't Lifeblast the "welcome to Athas" spell?

If cast too often in one general location, perhaps.


Yep. But remember if the Undead already rule, not like the plant life there is doing much better.


how on earth is Kentaro Miura's Berserk series not listed under Dark Fantasy inspirations.

Other than that I think it's a great book that covers a lot of ground. This + Obsidian Twighlight will give my group plenty to worry about


Grey,

Because Guts is more likely to be a D&D character than a dark fantasy one maybe?


Thomas Seitz wrote:

Grey,

Because Guts is more likely to be a D&D character than a dark fantasy one maybe?

I would say that everything after the Eclipse (and many things leading up to it) fall squarely in the realm of Dark Fantasy.

Consider one of the earliest stories in the series

Spoiler:

A Count is diligent in his pursuit of heritics until one day he discovers his own wife cavorting with cultists worshiping a demonic idol. Falling into a rage he kills them all but cannot bringhimself to harm his wife so he attempts to commit suicied. As his blood spills upon a strange talsiman and summons forth five demonic angels who offer him his heart's desire in exchange for the sacrifice of his wife.

The count is now a demon and rules his city with fear, using the excuse of hunting heritics to torment and punish anyone he wants. The only thing he still cares for is his innocent daughter whom he has locked in a high tower to protect her from the world.

dosn't that sound like the plot for a Dark Fantasy adventure.

Imagine the adventuring party arriving in that town in time to see an execution. Investigating the count's background. Meeting an old mutalated doctor who escaped the Dungeons, who tells the Party how his wife and child were eaten right in front of him by the count even as the demonic man cut off his limbs and peeled the skin of his face.


Can you Assume Appearance a Clone?

"Some spells require sacrificing a sentient creature, a major evil act that makes the caster evil in almost every circumstance."

Does the "sentient creature" thing mean there are no (inherit) moral implications to sacrificing animals or things of animal intelligence (like a cow or a goat) in PF?

Living creatures have no listed value. Shouldn't they qualify for Eschew Materials and False Focus?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
deuxhero wrote:

Can you Assume Appearance a Clone?

"Some spells require sacrificing a sentient creature, a major evil act that makes the caster evil in almost every circumstance."

Does the "sentient creature" thing mean there are no (inherit) moral implications to sacrificing animals or things of animal intelligence (like a cow or a goat) in PF?

Animals are sentient.

Sapient is the word you're looking for.

I would say sacrificing animals is at the very least some amount of an evil act.


In real life that is true, but PF has misuse of "sentient" to mean "sapient" already in the system.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Where?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Where?

I don't have a page reference, and I'm too tired to go hunting right now, but the system does use "sentient" to refer to creatures of 3+ Int. (On multiple occasions, if I recall correctly.)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Where?
I don't have a page reference, and I'm too tired to go hunting right now, but the system does use "sentient" to refer to creatures of 3+ Int. (On multiple occasions, if I recall correctly.)

Hmm.

I guess a good question would be when is sapience achieved?


Awaken does reference "human-level sentience", but that's not exactly the same thing.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I'm not sure I've ever seen "sapience" used in the context of Pathfinder (or 3.5). If I have, it almost certainly wasn't in any sort of rules context.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Kalindlara wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Where?
I don't have a page reference, and I'm too tired to go hunting right now, but the system does use "sentient" to refer to creatures of 3+ Int. (On multiple occasions, if I recall correctly.)

There's a fair number of them, though thoughtsense is the most explicit in directly stating it.


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In case the whole "race/species" mixup didn't clue everyone in, RPGs are not very good at basic biological vocabulary. :P


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Rysky wrote:
I guess a good question would be when is sapience achieved?

Eal looks around. Maybe never.


Some days I debate the sapience in this reality...

But back to this topic:

I had a question regarding Madness; specifically how does it interact with San loss?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Where?
I don't have a page reference, and I'm too tired to go hunting right now, but the system does use "sentient" to refer to creatures of 3+ Int. (On multiple occasions, if I recall correctly.)

Hmm.

I guess a good question would be when is sapience achieved?

Approx 4.3 minutes after coffee is brewed.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
In case the whole "race/species" mixup didn't clue everyone in, RPGs are not very good at basic biological vocabulary. :P

Don't forget about the frequent misuse of "evolve" in games, or the RPG community's complete misunderstanding of what the word "theory" means.

And let's not get into RPGs' weird idea of what mental illnesses are (which, from the looks of it, Horror Adventures doesn't seem to have helped) :(


Hey all, I'm confused about the Madness system (in Horror Adventures). From what I can tell, it looks like it's going to be EXTREMELY seldom that anyone develops a madness. To the point that I don't know that any of my players will ever get a madness. Here's my rationale:

Sanity Score: Sum of all Mental Ability SCORES. Assuming TERRIBLE character design (i.e. all mental ability scores at 7), Sanity Score=21

Sanity Threshold: Highest Mental Ability SCORE. As above, highest mental ability score is a 7, so Sanity Threshold=7

Sanity Edge: Half Sanity Score. As above, Sanity Edge=11

Now, in order to gain a madness, the sanity damage from a single attack needs to equal or exceed your sanity threshold (as mentioned above, 7) In order to get a greater madness, total sanity damage needs to equal or exceed sanity edge (11).

Due to the fact that viewing dead bodies/gruesome death have no chance of effecting a madness, I'm going to ignore those for the moment. However, if we look at the next two (likely) categories, we see that a horrifying creature has a will save of 10+CR, and on a failure can cause no more than 1/2 CR sanity damage (requiring a creature of at least CR14 to cause a madness on the above character). A particularly horrifying creature also has a save of 10+CR, but can cause madness equal to its CR. (So necessitating a creature of at least a CR7 for above character).

The likelihood of a player creating a character with such bad mental stats is unlikely at best. We can assume that most melee characters will have stats of at least 10,10,8. (All of my characters have at least one mental stat above a 10) They'll want a decent will save. This means that the minimum level of "horrifying" creature is at least a level 20, and when they encounter a "particularly horrifying" creature, it'd need to be at least level 10. By the time they encounter a CR10 creature, they're likely to have some gear to boost their will save, and potentially their mental stats.

The scenario that I see as a more likely one is that by the time they take enough sanity damage on a single attack, they're more likely to have had their sanity chipped away to the point that they'll bypass lesser madness and go straight to greater madness.

Am I wrong? I'm so confused as to whether or not its even worthwhile implementing... It seems like no one is likely to get a madness, particularly not a lesser madness.

Paizo Employee Designer

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James Addink wrote:
Sanity Threshold: Highest Mental Ability SCORE. As above, highest mental ability score is a 7, so Sanity Threshold=7

Actually, sanity threshold is equal to the modifier of the highest mental ability score (adjusted for ability damage), so someone with all 7s would get a madness every time they took any sanity damage. If anything, the sanity rules are overly harsh for characters who don't have at least one passable mental ability score.


Thank you Mark for that! :)


Quote:
Actually, sanity threshold is equal to the modifier of the highest mental ability score (adjusted for ability damage), so someone with all 7s would get a madness every time they took any sanity damage. If anything, the sanity rules are overly harsh for characters who don't have at least one passable mental ability score.

Ah...I missed the word bonus...oops. Thanks for the clarification.


I do have one odd minor question. Why are books and films like Amityville Horror and The Exorcist described as psychological horror? I thought 'psychological' means things like (potential) madness, where the threat is literally all in your mind, not 'real' demons and devils attacking your sanity.


Eric,

Some times it's hard to know what's real and what's not. Just ask David Haller.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Strange (maybe) question: Is the dancing strings ability of the tatterdemalion witch archetype considered a hex? It functions as the prehensile hair hex, but I'm trying to figure out whether it itself is a hex (as that would affect how the archetype plays with the ashiftah archetype in the Qadira, Jewel of the East campaign setting book).


Mott,

I thought it was a Hex...

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I feel like it should be, but it doesn't really explicitly say that. The fact that the ability also adds a spell to a spell list, which hexes don't do, makes me wonder whether it could be ruled to be a class ability but not a hex.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Eric Hinkle wrote:

I do have one odd minor question. Why are books and films like Amityville Horror and The Exorcist described as psychological horror? I thought 'psychological' means things like (potential) madness, where the threat is literally all in your mind, not 'real' demons and devils attacking your sanity.

The former heavily deals with a man's descent into (ghost induced) insanity, while it could be argued that, compared to a lot of movies involving demon possession, The Exorcist's demon most traffics in psychological warfare. That and for parts of the movie they definitely play with the idea that the possession may be psychological and supernatural in nature.

Liberty's Edge

Any word on when this will go in the PRD???

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:
Any word on when this will go in the PRD???

Given that Ultimate Intrigue isn't even up yet, I'd say that we likely have some time to wait.


I'm with Kal, let's wait see Intrigue added before we worry about Horror Adventures.

Liberty's Edge

Heh, well I wasn't exactly lobbying for one over the other (or worrying for that matter), just asking if anyone knew when Horror Adventures might make it into the PRD.

You raise a good point though, Kalindlara. Sounds like they are a bit behind on updating the PRD, so it could be a while


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Part II of my review:

The next section of the book covers a variety of tools- mundane torture devices, reanimating fluid, plague powder, enchanted hangman's nooses, Jason-style machetes, dark altars and artifacts like the elder sign. Oh, and we get item possession rules. After these fitting items, we move on to a brief, mostly template-based bestiary - which features the dark lo...äh, "dread lord"-template, who is all-seeing in the land, landlocked, draws strength from the very land...but he's mortal!" Boo! Oh, wait. Cursed lord, template: Trapped, but immortal. There we go! Yeah, this is basically the Darklord template Ravenloft fans wanted.3 sample hive creatures and the impeccable stalker (basically "unstoppable slasher - the monster template" is included; corrupted mortals that have turned kyton are next (with one amazingly creepy artwork!) and we have a template for creatures that can emerge from paintings, the unknown, a slenderman-like being, rules for waxwork creatures...and a whole slew of simple and variant templates.

The book concludes with a nice appendix depicting inspiration by horror-sub-genre in the classic appendix tradition.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, as befitting of Paizo. Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard their books use and the artworks are absolutely fantastic - this is a gorgeous book. The hardcover is well-made, as always, and has so far taken quite a beating in my various bags without being impacted in the slightest.

Lead-designer Jason Bulmahn, with Logan Bonner, Stephen Radney-MacFarland and Mark Seifter as designers and authors John Bennett, Clinton J. Boomer, Robert Brooks, Ross Byers, Jim Groves, Steven Helt, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Brandon Hodge, Mikko Kallio, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Alistair Rigg, David N. Ross, F Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz and Linda Zayas-Palmer have created a massive book that, at least in my opinion, is severely underrated.

I first wrote this review, and then realized that a lot of the issues this book faces stems from the wildly divergent expectations: This book was never intended to be a PC powerup. Neither was it supposed to be a toolkit to PFRPG suddenly an ultra-gritty, mega-lethal horror-game à la CoC.

This is a toolkit to run horror-themed campaigns and adventures in PFRPG - nothing more, nothing less. And know what? I think it does a very good job at what it sets out to do. It most certainly blows 3.X's Heroes of Horror and Ravenloft crunch books so far out of the water, they do the Team Rocket. (Seriously, I dare you to defend those, their sucky, sucky options and their asinine "At level 10, I challenge a dark lord who is then summoned to me!"-facepalm-abilities.)

Let me reiterate: While I am not 100% sold on every aspect of this book, I put this back to back with said tomes and combed through them - I am not prone to nostalgia, but I wanted to really make sure that all these years using these books have not left a wrong impression. I can very much state one thing: I honestly wished I had had this book much sooner. What we have here is a great toolkit, in particularly for less experienced GMs, that covers the bases. The corruption system can easily be tweaked, the archetypes tell villain-stories and the vast amount of hazards, haunt-modifications etc. makes this the toolkit that the aforementioned books should have imho been. Combined with the phenomenal Occult Adventures (Still my favorite Paizo-hardcover-book ever!), this allows for the creation of the atmosphere fans of Ravenloft wanted - and honestly, with some restrictions and tweaks, these two books (and perhaps the APG for the alchemist), are all you need for a truly distinct and different take on pathfinder, to experience the game in a radically different way and tone.

I am emphasizing that true veterans here will probably find less to blow them away - in a way, this is a core book, the book for the core horror experience and it succeeds at its task admirably. That being said, it is not perfect - personally, I think it would have benefited from having the player-centric material extracted to a separate book, with the villainous archetypes and options left herein. I get why this wasn't done, considering the product-line, but yeah. Secondly, the sanity system feels like an afterthought and isn't particularly rewarding. I can literally list a couple that work smoother.

That being said, this book till provides an impressive array of options and, as mentioned, represents a gateway to a playstyle that is distinct, interesting and rewarding -and, much like all iterations of Ravenloft or a similar horror-game, it can and should be modified; that's part of the challenge of running horror games. In the end, my final verdict for this book will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. If you're a truly advanced horror-GM with plenty of experience running the genre for d20-based games, you may want to round down, since you'll know a lot of the tropes...but then again, you may not want to. Why? Because, frankly, it depicts all those things you want to have...and a whole world of 3pps caters to the more specialized aspects of horror gaming.

All in all: Well done - for me, this represents the new reference for the category of a d20-based horror toolkit.

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

Endzeitgeist out.


End....wait where's part I?!!

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