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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Everything I was hoping for...

5/5

I was waiting a long, long while for this book and my expectations were very high and you know what? I love every single page of it! Get it, you won't regret it.


Enter If You Dare

5/5

As a horror lover and a pathfinder enthusiast, I was almost overcome with joy at the prospect of a supplement focused entirely around building and running a campaign based entirely in the traditions of terrifying literature and film.

And by no means does this text fail in that regard. From rules for handling lycanthropy to possession, the Horror Adventures book for pathfinder is one of my new favorite books, providing all the inspiration and hard mechanics I need to really take my adventures from a simple nod to horror, to a full blown campaign of terror and insanity.

The new archetypes and class options really shine in this book, giving players new ways to add on to their builds, and giving fresh, but slightly twisted archetypes for characters of questionable morals.

The new additions to old concepts such as disease and haunts really bring this book together, expanding on the more mysterious, and potentially fatal hazards that lurk in the darker places of Golarion and your own personal realms of depravity.


Interesting material, terrible execution.

2/5

I have just recently finished my second reading of this book cover to cover. And I will admit, there are some interesting ideas. Some of the archetypes and class options offered are interesting.

However, nearly everywhere else in the book, the material falls flat. The primary selling point for me was the corruption system. Suggested as a way to finally be the monstrous characters we all wanted. This is a bad system. Let us imagine that you use the provided variant rules for a more gentler, more kind version of the corruption rules, your character still faces severe penalties by the corruption system as default that far outweigh the benefits. The worst part? You don't even become what you're trying to.

The closest you can get, to say, a lich, or a ghoul, is an approximation of weaker versions of their abilities without a true type change. This is, in and of itself, unacceptable. There are feats that have more effect than this, and frankly, it's more confusion, more trouble, and less benefit than simply offering my players to take the template they're after.

Finally, due to a little sidebar on evil spells, I find the recent shift in the approach to good and evil alignment to be stagnant. Thanks to the stated rules in a sidebar, casting an evil spell, is an evil act, regardless of why it was done. Therefore, by simple logic, no matter how flawed it seems, using a good aligned spell to evil ends, is also a good act.

Ultimately, if you're a first time DM or player looking for some tips on playing a horror game, or want some interesting archetypes, it can be useful. However, if you're like me, and you were looking for meaningful character options, I don't think you'll find many good ones here.


Will there still be a flickering light in the darkness?

5/5

That's up to you.

While this book (which is awesome) gives you plenty of options for how to make monsters out of people (and PCs) there are still spots for heroes to be a beacon when all is the lost.

The Tortured Crusader archetype for Paladins for example, ACTUALLY makes me want to play a Paladin (Psssst, Paladins with 4 skill points and Perception and Stealth as class skills just for starters).

The Corruptions are wonderfully and horrifically well done, and no need to worry, cautious GMs, there is more than enough bad to go with the power to make most actually think twice before they let their characters devolve into monsters.

And that's only two small parts of the book, you still have the rest of thing to go through with!


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I do love the cover

Lantern Lodge

I am glad for this one.

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

Liberty's Edge

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

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

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

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

Er. No. Very strongly no.

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

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

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

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:

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

AND

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

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domains:

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

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

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

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

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

F. The individual is at least age 18 years.

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

John Kretzer wrote:
Thanks

No problem, always happy to be of assistance.


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Liberty's Edge

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


Dragon78,

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

Liberty's Edge

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

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

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

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


Eris,

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

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


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


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I just want slavering zombie apocalypse hordes.

And of course, more haunts.


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


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

*looks at the grand city of Shelzar in Scarn*

Liberty's Edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silver Crusade

Dragon78 wrote:

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

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

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

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

So the options to me here are:

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

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

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

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

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

Dark Archive

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

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

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

Yeaaah, you are kinda ignoring the context.


N. Jolly wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

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

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

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

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

So the options to me here are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberty's Edge

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

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

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


Eris,

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


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

Ha, ha... Hahahahahahahhahaha...

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

Dark Archive

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

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

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

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


Thomas Seitz wrote:

Eris,

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

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

@ N. Jolly, ever seen Jason X?

Silver Crusade

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

Project Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community Manager

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Holy cow, great Idea.


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


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


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


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

Understood Greatest Board Ninja of all time!

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


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jessica Price wrote:


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

A very good idea!

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


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


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

Paizo Employee Designer

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


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Barachiel Shina wrote:

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

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

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


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


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

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

Silver Crusade

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

For the whole Payhfinder system, yeah.

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

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