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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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
So how many templates will there be?

Probably enough to leave players second guessing their tried and true strategies whenever that meet a mobile corpselike creature, or something familiar.

Community Manager

Removed off-topic posts not about this product. Take it to the Pathfinder RPG forums if you want to talk about your ideas for your own interpretations of the rules, homebrew ideas, and rules discussions.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Liz Courts wrote:
Removed off-topic posts not about this product. Take it to the Pathfinder RPG forums if you want to talk about your ideas for your own interpretations of the rules, homebrew ideas, and rules discussions.

So we're not allowed to discuss what kinds of rules we'd like to see for sanity and madness? That seems pretty on-topic considering it's part of the product description.

-Skeld


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I hope there is an archetype that requires you to be insane.


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Cthulhudrew wrote:
I hope there is an archetype that requires you to be insane.

Ooh, insanity would be a brilliant discipline for psychics.... Though it might overlap too much with that dark discipline. Or a summoner who's eidolon is actually a figment of their crazed mind manifest. Or a slayer who get's his "studied target" bonuses from information told to him by sinister voices in his head.


I hope there will some archetypes that make you immune to confusion/insanity and some that make you immune to fear effects.


Quote:
I hope there will some archetypes that make you immune to confusion/insanity and some that make you immune to fear effects.

Mark might be able to use that confusion based spirit he made....

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
I hope there is an archetype that requires you to be insane.
Ooh, insanity would be a brilliant discipline for psychics.... Though it might overlap too much with that dark discipline. Or a summoner who's eidolon is actually a figment of their crazed mind manifest. Or a slayer who get's his "studied target" bonuses from information told to him by sinister voices in his head.

I wouldn't mind some options for the psychic. Opening your mind to things man-was-never-ment-to-know might be a price worth paying for power. Or releasing the inherent dark horror that comes with your powers. Also some masters of the dark tapestry will undoubtably have some mental instability(given they are drawing on Eldrich powers for power).

As for madness and corruption linked classes, i think those could tie in well to the themes of there "always being a price for power", and some seeing "victory worth any cost. body or soul."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I hope there will some archetypes that make you immune to confusion/insanity and some that make you immune to fear effects.

There might be, but they will not come without losing something. One doesn't stare into the abyss without blinking without the abyss staring right back into you.


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QuidEst wrote:


As for Pathfinder games turning out like GoT or LotR, it sounds like this will probably help. There's also Skull and Shackles for something with a rather different feel. Unless you mean in terms of seriousness/grittiness?

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements. The "We Be Goblins" and "Harrowing" modules were steps closer to what I would like to see.

I'm sure Horror Adventures will be a good book for those who want even more "horror" but I just find it tiring and old hat now.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
darth_borehd wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


As for Pathfinder games turning out like GoT or LotR, it sounds like this will probably help. There's also Skull and Shackles for something with a rather different feel. Unless you mean in terms of seriousness/grittiness?

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements. The "We Be Goblins" and "Harrowing" modules were steps closer to what I would like to see.

I'm sure Horror Adventures will be a good book for those who want even more "horror" but I just find it tiring and old hat now.

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.


darth_borehd wrote:

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements. The "We Be Goblins" and "Harrowing" modules were steps closer to what I would like to see.

I'm sure Horror Adventures will be a good book for those who want even more "horror" but I just find it tiring and old hat now.

I sincerely think you are confusing Deadpan Seriousness and Gritty with Horror. I mean, hell, my dads an award winning horror writer, and I think only one of his stories was deadpan serious or gritty (it was in the Australian outback so gritty fit in that situation. There is much more to horror than just Gritty-ness. For example, one of his horror stories is fairly light hearted, in which a doctor is being paid to remove a mans organs so that he can have them cooked by a professional and then eat them himself... which just makes it much much much more disturbing. Another is a story that leaves you thinking about the limits of love. Another is from the perspective of a young girl who doesn't fully understand the horrific situation she actually is in. Another is about a literal town of clowns, which are then beset by a circus that aims to kidnap them and force them to work in their big tops, that one definitely isn't deadpan serious or gritty, but the story is most definitely in the horror genre.

Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are not horror. They are fantasy, one High Fantasy and another Dark Fantasy. Both have horrific elements, but they are a very different beast to Horror in deed. Now, how does this link to the book?

This book will help Actual horror work better in Pathfinder. It will let Gamesmasters and players access a genre that is actually very hard to do in Pathfinder. I mean, horror is difficult to do in a game that is primarily combat. It's hard to be afraid of a monster if you can just one-hit-kill it and the whole things over, but this book will have things like a chapter to help with setting the atmosphere and designing adventures that unsettle rather than are just killfests. It will help players access archetypes that are common in horror such as a character that is losing control and falling to corruption.

Though, who knows, maybe it is just PF + Grittiness. But based on how they handled Occult Adventures (which also really helps with horror themes), I think this'll be a good book for actually getting the Horror Genre to work in PF.


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I wouldn't say no to a smaller book offering advice for lighter campaigns, but I'm not sure there's much more than that to offer (aside from going the "April issue" route and giving stats for Plush Golems and Pizza Elementals and stuff).

Paizo Employee Designer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
darth_borehd wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


As for Pathfinder games turning out like GoT or LotR, it sounds like this will probably help. There's also Skull and Shackles for something with a rather different feel. Unless you mean in terms of seriousness/grittiness?

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements. The "We Be Goblins" and "Harrowing" modules were steps closer to what I would like to see.

I'm sure Horror Adventures will be a good book for those who want even more "horror" but I just find it tiring and old hat now.

So, I actually really like having some whimsical stuff in there too. One thing I really liked about The Harrowing (which is one of my favorites in the module line, props to Crystal!) is that it manages some pretty serious horror in there with the whimsical, in a juxtaposition that make them both stronger like the drunken porter in Macbeth just before the king is found dead. Goblins have that aspect too. The Harrowing has plenty of body horror and existential horror in it (though talking about those aspects gets into spoiler territories).

In that sense, as someone who like you isn't "all in" on the horror genre, one thing I really like about the horror genre in general and some of the stuff in this book in particular is how well it works as a change of pace to highlight other emotions in a non-horror game.

Basically, having what you need for horror at your fingertips is like having another color of crayon in your crayonbox or tool in your toolkit. It gives you options to enrich your game, even if your game isn't focused on horror.

Scarab Sages

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darth_borehd wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


As for Pathfinder games turning out like GoT or LotR, it sounds like this will probably help. There's also Skull and Shackles for something with a rather different feel. Unless you mean in terms of seriousness/grittiness?

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements. The "We Be Goblins" and "Harrowing" modules were steps closer to what I would like to see.

I'm sure Horror Adventures will be a good book for those who want even more "horror" but I just find it tiring and old hat now.

I pathologically dislike "whimsical elements" in my games. I like serious stories. That's not the same thing as somber and humorless ones. The "We Be Goblins" series of modules is my least favorite thing Paizo has ever published. I've played the first couple and was bored senseless by the silliness and would unsubscribe to any of the product lines that started to adopt anything like their approach.


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Agreed (with Mark, not the damn ninja up there)! One of the strongest segments of Thrilling Intent is The Prison of Lights. The same bunch of lovable goofballs and misfits are forced to navigate a creepy-ass prison, and it gets both legitimately hilarious and legitimately terrifying. Sometimes simultaneously.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:

So, I actually really like having some whimsical stuff in there too. One thing I really liked about The Harrowing (which is one of my favorites in the module line, props to Crystal!) is that it manages some pretty serious horror in there with the whimsical, in a juxtaposition that make them both stronger like the drunken porter in Macbeth just before the king is found dead. Goblins have that aspect too. The Harrowing has plenty of body horror and existential horror in it (though talking about those aspects gets into spoiler territories).

In that sense, as someone who like you isn't "all in" on the horror genre, one thing I really like about the horror genre in general and some of the stuff in this book in particular is how well it works as a change of pace to highlight other emotions in a non-horror game.

Basically, having what you need for horror at your fingertips is like having another color of crayon in your crayonbox or tool in your toolkit. It gives you options to enrich your game, even if your game isn't focused on horror.

Spoilers.

Seriously though, completely agreed (especially about The Harrowing, my favorite standalone module). ^_^

Dark Archive

Not just the Psychic and Spiritualist, but the Medium and Mesmerist would be thematically well suited to explore some horror/insanity themes.


I have seen plenty of horror movies that were funny, some even on purpose;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
darth_borehd wrote:

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements.

Ok, I had been assuming that you were using 'LotR' for 'Lord of the Rings', but now I'm not so sure.

Or do you really consider Hobbits (not to mention Tom Bombadil) 'scary', 'dark', 'gritty', and not at all 'whimsical elements'?

Seriously, if The Lord of the Rings is 'horror' to you then I can see why you might think everything is horror. Muppets Take Manhattan... scary stuff?

That said, whimsical and horror aren't mutually exclusive... just ask the fey.

Silver Crusade

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CBDunkerson wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I mean I'm surprised by the number of players who seem to want deadpan seriousness and dark gritty horror. Sure, I like LotR and GoT/SoI&F, but does *EVERY* game need to be like that? It seems like everybody wants to go out of their way to make each game "scary," "dark," "gritty," and so on.

I'd like a book that goes the other way--tips for adding more whimsical elements.

Ok, I had been assuming that you were using 'LotR' for 'Lord of the Rings', but now I'm not so sure.

Or do you really consider Hobbits (not to mention Tom Bombadil) 'scary', 'dark', 'gritty', and not at all 'whimsical elements'?

Seriously, if The Lord of the Rings is 'horror' to you then I can see why you might think everything is horror. Muppets Take Manhattan... scary stuff?

That said, whimsical and horror aren't mutually exclusive... just ask the fey.

Speaking of, the Masquerade Reveler archetype for barbarians would fit really well with a madness campaign, depending on how you build and flavor said masques.

Also Id Rager for Bloodragers.


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The Lord of the rings movies did have a tendency for the dark and heavy storyline, there isn't much light in Peter Jackson's films, and when they're there only tend to underscore the darkness around it.

And while that is super f~+#ing awesome when it works (such as lord of the rings) sometimes I want something lighter like pirates of the Caribbean.

I believe that is the point trying to be made with the Lord of the Rings reference.


Dragon78 wrote:

I wonder if there will be any archetypes for bards in this book?

I would love a artist archetype that uses paintings as portals/dimensional spaces/summoned creatures/created objects, pottery as explosives/barriers, sculptures as animated objects/golems, etc.

We do have the Dirge Bard, but it would still be fun to see what else they brainstorm...like something that interacts with the incorporeal somehow? Calling, barring, whatever. Ghost Singer? Shade Whisperer?

I do like your paintings or art archetype idea...


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How about a Spiritualist archetype where the phantom is your shadow?


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Xenok wrote:
How about a Spiritualist archetype where the phantom is your shadow?

Yes, please! Me likey!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Shadow knows! creepy laugh


The shadow?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
The shadow?

1930s pulp novel and later radio drama and movie character. Basically, Batman before there was Batman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow


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I hope a good martial shapeshifter archtype for the ranger or inquisitor is included... A better playable lycanthrope than the beastiary option which costs class levels..

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Darctos wrote:
I hope a good martial shapeshifter archtype for the ranger or inquisitor is included... A better playable lycanthrope than the beastiary option which costs class levels..

Uh, Pathfinder ditched Level Adjustments for using templates or strong races.


While I don't like horror movies, I have played in a couple of Horror theme tabletop games and they are kind of fun.

That being said I am worried about the "sanity and madness rules," which before the update were described as "rules for mental illness."
Paizo is typically good with these kind of things, and I have faith in them, but the fact that they are in a rule for horror stuff...does concern me. Paizo has a good track record though so I am hopeful.


An archetype that lets turn you turn into a false/pretend lycanthrope with natural weapons that count as silver to hunt your hated foes.


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We need a guy with a large chin, a chainsaw for a hand, and a shotgun fighting undead things and a book that eats peoples hand.


Can that book not be Horror Adventures?

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
An archetype that lets turn you turn into a false/pretend lycanthrope with natural weapons that count as silver to hunt your hated foes.

OR even a druid who focuses more on wildshape, not unlike the master of many forms PrC from 3.5. Or even a hunter that's gains wild shape?


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Barbarian who wild shapes into an animal when he rages would be the easiest way to do "Lycanthrope-style archetypes".

Also, there is already a hunter archetype that gives them wildshape, which even lets them choose "Okay I'm going to permanently look like a wolf-man hybrid", and can summon a pack of wolves.


Milo, you mean like a bear warrior?

A Packmaster, wild huntsman, or wolf lord.


Dragon78 wrote:

Milo, you mean like a bear warrior?

A Packmaster, wild huntsman, or wolf lord.

When I homebrewed it as a barbarian archetype, I called it Berserkr. But I don't think such a name would fit a Horror Adventures version of it unless you had to personally skin monsters to take their form.


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I really hope that this book has some sort of options for characters who get infected with lycanthropy and try to suppress and control it to use it as a weapon. Something that also keeps the character's power level in line with the other players, like a prestige class.

It is kind of annoying that currently the only real options with lycanthropy are to either cure the character or create a new character. Anything else often leads to alignment drama or party imbalance.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm most interested in the revamped rules for curses and fleshwarping, I think, though corruptions certainly sound intriguing, but they're certainly for a particular kind of game, I imagine. Bit curious about the new player options as well. Can't say I'm too interested in the notion of rules for insanity and madness, but given people's continued interest in Lovecraft-inspired things, I suppose it will be a popular concept.


So no one wants a Pathfinder version of Ash Williams then?

Liberty's Edge

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Thomas Seitz wrote:
So no one wants a Pathfinder version of Ash Williams then?

its not we don't want to see a pathfinder version of ash Williams. We just don't want to see 500 of them walking around leaving us with nothing to do. Plus with the technology guide, occult guide, and gunslinger it is certainly possible to make such a character(maybe with the horror guide in just to be sure).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Matrix Dragon wrote:

I really hope that this book has some sort of options for characters who get infected with lycanthropy and try to suppress and control it to use it as a weapon. Something that also keeps the character's power level in line with the other players, like a prestige class.

It is kind of annoying that currently the only real options with lycanthropy are to either cure the character or create a new character. Anything else often leads to alignment drama or party imbalance.

A Corruption system might be a gradual way to keep a player in the game despite being infected with lycanthrope(or vampirism). with the players choosing to gain benefits at a cost of becoming more and more difficult to control their new darker impulses(after all, regeneration to help save the party might be worth it short(and maybe even long term), but later that bestial drive to kill gets stronger and innocents could be put at risk.)

The one who hunts beasts must be wary, lest they become no better than the beasts they hunt.


I can't wait to see the rules for the corruption system.


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I hope it wont be too hard to have the corruption system slowly transform you into a good creature against your will.

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