New Spooky Optional Events (Players Stay Out!)


Carrion Crown

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am having so much fun running the spooky optional events in HoH I wanted to see if we could try to come up with some new ones that other GMs could use when we run out of the 4 listed in the module. My goal is to continue to throw these events to the players and try to ramp them up as they get closer and closer to the ending of the module ... so I'm going to need a lot more!

I love how these effects can really mess with the PCs but without actually doing physical harm to them. Just my players knowing that at any time something horrible and uncontrollable might happen to them and from what I've seen running just two so far as really put them on edge like I have never seen.

I was trying to come up a with a few and I went to one of my favorite video games of all time for inspiration -- Eternal Darkness! For those not familiar with the game you are constantly hit by "insanity effects" throughout the game (the worst one being that at the very end of the game when you try to save your game it instead shows you deleting all your save files!). People still talk about that game being one of the most frightening games of all time as you just never knew when you would be hit with an effect.

Here are few that I could think of that might work well:

  • Blood will drip from the walls or ceiling while a PC is in a room in town or in the prison. But when the PC asks someone else if they can see it, the blood disappears.
  • Paintings on the walls will change their appearance while in town. They see the same scene as before, only now it's on fire and any people in the painting are in depicted in horrible agony.
  • Heads of statues will follow your movements when at The Restlands (not sure how to tie this into the rest of the module, but it seemed scary)

I realize that the specific Optional Events in the module are tied directly to Harrowstone so these might need to be slightly adjusted a bit (perhaps the heads of the statues fall off instead of follow the PCs, but that didn't seem quite as scary).

Anyone else have any good ideas?

Dark Archive

Well I can think of one off the top of my head. An event that can occur over a couple of nights as the hauntings increase. This is a very loose and open "seed" idea that would need to fleshed out by each DM. This is not an early event and should be placed in the middle of the investigation.

The Midnight Procession - Over the course of a few days a late night spectral wagon procession makes its way through point P and down through to Harrowstone. Initial viewings would show a riderless and empty wagon moving slowly as it is pulled by coal black horses. The reinforced prisoner transport slowly makes its way to the prison (where it disappears as it approaches the gates). The first few nights would have it drive on the western road to Harrowstone, winking in and out along the path at various points (before and after the bridge for example). Pick your favorite killer besides TSM (lopper, etc) as the focus. A Bless spell placed on the road as it approaches may cause it to wink out for some distance.

On the second night anyone watching may get a glimpse of the prisoner in the carriage and maybe hear laughter, screaming, etc (depending on the DMs chosen baddie). This is just a preview of what's to come.

Third and alternating nights the carriage careens through the main town square (eastern road). As it moves through it can cause various effects from radiating Fear to actually hurting individuals near the pathway. The effect would also be specific to the ghost and I would consider this a similar manifestation that TSM produces (sort of a dual or secondary footprint in the prime material plane with the core ghost still being stuck in Harrowstone).

One way to stop some of damage would be to prepare multiple castings of Bless to make the spectral wagon fade as it hurtles through town. Strategic placing and planning would be required to nullify this threat while the PCs prepare to deal with Harrowstone.

This could be a major resource drain on the PCs, but also be used as an insight tool for one of the main ghosts the DM would like to feature more prominently. As such the DM should provide vigilant and observant players some kind of reward for slowing or stopping the damage these manifestations may cause. As an alternating nightly feature the PCs could plan around their use of spells as they are making forays into Harrowstone. Of course if this is left unchecked it just adds another nail to the coffin called Ravengro.


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I've done a few ill list off for you.

First I had the 5 take a personal intrest in my party. I figured strong guys ( being that they have acual PC levels ) coming into town would catch thier intrest.

TSM is huanting our fighter at night.
The lopper is haunting our wizard
Pippers haunting our magus
Mosswater is haunting our inquisitor

They are visited preaty much nightly give or take. My favorite so far has been the gnome wizard and the loper. He likes to sleep and hide in wierd places just like the loper. The first night he slept on the top shelve of the linen closet only to hear a bladed weapon being scraped on the under side of the shelf. He looks over the end and sees the loper looking up at him and he gets chased through the house until he get beheaded only to wake up back in the closet with a stiff neck and a wierd scar. They all get similar expierences the first night and smaller haunts every night or so. The inquisitor wake up to creaking in his room. A few seconds later his scalp starts itching so he itches it and his hand comes back with clumps of hair , then clumps of skin. Before long hes down to bear skull and getting skull chips on the floor from more scratching. That when he see the maurader and get nailed with the hammer and passes out. He wakes up with a minor head ache ( persistant until the kill the dwarf ) and looks in the mirror. Hes fine but he takes a step to get back to bed and cuts his foot on pieces of skull that are littering his room. So anyway small stuff like that.

Other things ive done are given them minor hallucinations from lack of solid sleep and haunting. Minor things like hearing some one say things that they really didnt. A good example of this is when my inquisitor ran in to the girls singing the song. after it was over and he won them over with skill check he starts to leave. He get stopped by one of the girls yell "Hey mister." " You know hes coming right... your all going to die soon. We all are." The other girls that arent talking start giggling as the one that was talking is slowly beheaded by an invisable force. He head goes rolling forward and land at the PCs feet. His only responce to this was a slightly high pitch "Nope." and hustling the other direction. LOL

ill post more as I remember.


These are great ideas!

The Midnight Procession could just be run as a frightening effect with no physical consequences, in which case it wouldn't be a resource drain or too much of a distraction.


Tagion wrote:


First I had the 5 take a personal intrest in my party. I figured strong guys ( being that they have acual PC levels ) coming into town would catch thier intrest.

TSM is huanting our fighter at night.
The lopper is haunting our wizard
Pippers haunting our magus
Mosswater is haunting our inquisitor

They are visited preaty much nightly give or take.

This is a great idea, Tagion. Taking inspiration from you, I'm considering the following:

The Five Recurring Nightmares

Each of the PCs will have a recurring nightly nightmare associated with one of the 5 ghosts. I have 5 PCs in my group, so it works out perfectly. During each nightmare the PCs will have a feeling of helplessness and/or paralysis.

These are the nightmares I’m considering:
• The half orc rogue will be haunted by The Piper of Illmarsh. She will hear the Piper’s mournful flute dirge while numerous stirges suck the blood from her body.
• The half elf cleric will be haunted by Father Charlatan. She is repeatedly beaten with a heavy chain with her religious symbol attached to the end.
• The human ranger/alchemist will be haunted by The Mosswater Marauder. He will have the sensation of his skull being crushed by a hammer and he will observe (floating above the bed, out of his body) as a dwarf picks through the remains of his skull.
• The human barbarian/oracle will be haunted by The Lopper. He will lie helpless as a deranged man with long arms and twisted legs hacks off each of his limbs with a bloodstained hand axe.
• The human wizard will be haunted by The Splatter Man. Glowing hands hold the wizard’s spell book and rip out the pages one by one. As each page is ripped out the wizard feels a sensation like a sharp spike is piercing his heart.

TSM’s imprisonment nightmare would of course be on top of the above, so that unlucky PC might wake up from his/her recurring nightmare to find himself/herself imprisoned. If I deliver these nightmares as lain out above I will obviously be giving significant hints about the identity of the five ghosts, but I think that will help increase the sense of dread and better tie the adventure together. The wizard’s nightmare obviously gives a pretty big hint as to how to use the book against TSM but, considering the extent of the book’s curse and the challenge posed by TSM, I think it is ok.

I’m considering having the PCs make rolls each morning to gauge their level of fatigue. If they fail a DC 12 roll, then they are lightly fatigued (-1 to STR and DEX), if they fail the roll the next day they are fatigued (-2 to STR and DEX), and if they fail the next or subsequent days they take 1 pt of CON damage for each failure. I’m also considering that the DC increases by 1 each day after failures (so it is DC 13 the second day in a row, DC 14 the third day, etc.). Of course, it all resets each time the PCs get a good night sleep.

I’m also considering that each PC will have to save against a fear effect when they encounter the ghost associated with their respective nightmares. Maybe a DC 15 to avoid being shaken and a DC 12 to avoid being frightened. Perhaps the character can repeat the will saving throws each round.

My campaign starts next Thursday. I’d love to hear any reactions or suggestions.


How has your campaign worked out? I'm currently running this one, (we're on Day 3 in Ravengro), having run The Fiddler's Lament and The Murmuring Fountain.

I am definitely going to add some of these in!

Thuv

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