Why I don't like the haunt mechanics


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hogarth wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
I am having a bigger problem defining Primary and Secondary effects (which are not really detailed in the Haunt samples I have seen).

The way our group interpreted it:

If your paladin is immune to fear, then he doesn't have to worry about a haunt that creates a fireball. But he does have to worry if that fireball sets the room on fire.

That makes perfect sense and is similar to the 'Rain of Blood' example I posted earlier .......but, in the first Carrion Crown AP in the sample Haunts section they have the write-up for a Headless Horseman haunt. Effect = it attacks as Magic Sword ability +16 to hit.

So for this would you just rule that the Pally is immune to all attacks from this haunt?


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a paladin and his party walk into a chamber. Suddenly the bard, monk, magus and oracle are all screaming uncontrollably and shooting spells/attacks at a broken bed in the corner. Paladin looks around, seeing/sensing nothing remarkable. "Umm guys...is this like, a prank or something?" he mutters as the oracle unleshes a CLW into mid air healing nothing and the other 3 pass out.

Even better, it could be like Nightmare on Elm Street 3; they enter a room and the magus shuts off like a light a few seconds in, hitting the floor. Paladin senses nothing but as a physical manifestation of the haunt's fear-based effect on the magus words appear carved into her stomach. The paladin reads "come and get her" and glances around puzzled at the rest of the party who are all wide-eyed with terror.

It would be supremely weird and inconvenient to be a paladin in a haunt-based adventure. "What? It's just an empty house! Why are you all freaking out and attacking...it's just an EMPTY HOUSE?!!"


Auxmaulous wrote:

That makes perfect sense and is similar to the 'Rain of Blood' example I posted earlier .......but, in the first Carrion Crown AP in the sample Haunts section they have the write-up for a Headless Horseman haunt. Effect = it attacks as Magic Sword ability +16 to hit.

So for this would you just rule that the Pally is immune to all attacks from this haunt?

I can't really say. First of all, I'm not sure what "Magic Sword" is supposed to be; is that "Mage's Sword" (i.e. what used to be called "Mordenkainen's Sword")? Second, it's not clear from your description if there's actually a Horseman and if he can do anything else (e.g. pick up a rock and throw it at the paladin).

Shadow Lodge

Jim Groves wrote:
All I'm gonna say is that haunts are a spice that can be overused. Too much of anything is not good.

I disagree.

Why I dont like haunts is because they suck.

Dark Archive

hogarth wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:

That makes perfect sense and is similar to the 'Rain of Blood' example I posted earlier .......but, in the first Carrion Crown AP in the sample Haunts section they have the write-up for a Headless Horseman haunt. Effect = it attacks as Magic Sword ability +16 to hit.

So for this would you just rule that the Pally is immune to all attacks from this haunt?

I can't really say. First of all, I'm not sure what "Magic Sword" is supposed to be; is that "Mage's Sword" (i.e. what used to be called "Mordenkainen's Sword")? Second, it's not clear from your description if there's actually a Horseman and if he can do anything else (e.g. pick up a rock and throw it at the paladin).

Sorry for that, yes - Mage's Sword. The Horseman graphic is just the Mage's Sword spell effect which attacks PCs. There is no other form or force beyond the sword attack that goes along with the Horseman.

Headless Horseman Effect wrote:
Effect This haunt materializes as a headless, horse-bound spectre. Wearing ancient armor, its decapitated head hanging from the saddle of a rotting, ghostly equine, the spirit swiftly gallops across the roadway, attacking each round with a terrible, ethereal blade as the mage’s sword spell with a +16 attack bonus. Some roving specimens are known to continue pursuit far beyond their original area.


Mark Hoover wrote:
It would be supremely weird and inconvenient to be a paladin in a haunt-based adventure. "What? It's just an empty house! Why are you all freaking out and attacking...it's just an EMPTY HOUSE?!!"

I like that. Now that's horror.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

hogarth wrote:
If your paladin is immune to fear, then he doesn't have to worry about a haunt that creates a fireball. But he does have to worry if that fireball sets the room on fire.

As written, a haunt can't set a room on fire (or move an unattended object, or slam a door shut); mind-affecting effects don't affect objects.


Jim Groves tried to explain the difference between primary and secondary effects here.

So the haunt couldn't throw the paladin, but it could throw things at the paladin.

Dark Archive

Cheapy wrote:

Jim Groves tried to explain the difference between primary and secondary effects here.

So the haunt couldn't throw the paladin, but it could throw things at the paladin.

So in the Headless Horseman scenario, the Horseman can't use its Primary (Mage's Sword) attack on the pally, but it could cut a rope which is tied to a rock which is suspended over the pally's head? That sound about right?

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Auxmaulous wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

Jim Groves tried to explain the difference between primary and secondary effects here.

So the haunt couldn't throw the paladin, but it could throw things at the paladin.

So in the Headless Horseman scenario, the Horseman can't use its Primary (Mage's Sword) attack on the pally, but it could cut a rope which is tied to a rock which is suspended over the pally's head? That sound about right?

From what I gather, rope is immune to mind affecting effects so no. It could pick up the parties gnome and throw him at the paladin (using telekinesis for example).


Dennis Baker wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

Jim Groves tried to explain the difference between primary and secondary effects here.

So the haunt couldn't throw the paladin, but it could throw things at the paladin.

So in the Headless Horseman scenario, the Horseman can't use its Primary (Mage's Sword) attack on the pally, but it could cut a rope which is tied to a rock which is suspended over the pally's head? That sound about right?

From what I gather, rope is immune to mind affecting effects so no. It could pick up the parties gnome and throw him at the paladin (using telekinesis for example).

I'm not sure telekinesis could be regarded as a mind affecting effect


I have a problem with how utterly ineffective inquisitors are to haunts. Great, clerics can channel, paladins get great saves and are immune to fear. "Inquisitor: Scourge of the unfaithful and hunter of horrors, the inquisitor roots out the enemies of her faith with grim conviction and an array of divine blessings."

How exactly can they hunt horrors, when they are likely to be nailed by every haunt they come across? (Unless the tactic is "I see a haunt, RUN AWAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!")

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Epic Meepo wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:
Now, if your goal is epic heroism, or even just Indiana Jones heroism? Just keep the visual effects and leave Haunts as a mechanic high and dry.

That also works if your goal is gothic horror.

The haunt mechanics don't contribute anything atmospheric than can't already be done with the mechanics for the permanency spell and the programmed image spell.

EDIT: Of course, if you happen to enjoy the haunt mechanics, by all means, use them. I just tend to dislike complicated subsystems that exist to serve only a handful of very specific in-game situations.

But the mechanics for the permanency spell and the programmed image spells rise the question of who cast the spells.

As a player in Haunting of Harrowstone I liked most of the haunts. As a lot of posts have explained they tell a story, something that, if done well, will enrich your playing experience.
Done badly they are like any other game mechanic done badly.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Hoover wrote:
Now, I'd warned them that I was doing a horror adventure and that there would be some mechanics they weren't used to. I also suggested just before entering that they not forget that Knowledge: Religion identified differing forms of undeath. Despite all of this they had a terrible adventure and disliked the whole thing. When I told them later how to deal w/a Haunt they had the same reaction most of the folks in this thread have had: so we're just s'posed to blunder around, wait to "feel" something, and then our only weapon is Channel Energy? Despite the fact that I would've also houseruled Ray of Disruption and any other creative ways to solve them...they were non-plussed.

It is not a houserule:

PRD wrote:
On the surprise round in which a haunt manifests, positive energy applied to the haunt (via channeled energy, cure spells, and the like) can damage the haunt's hit points (a haunt never gains a Will save to lessen the damage done by such effects, and attacks that require a successful attack roll to work must strike AC 10 in order to affect the haunt and not merely the physical structure it inhabits).
PRD wrote:

Disrupt Undead

You direct a ray of positive energy. You must make a ranged touch attack to hit, and if the ray hits an undead creature, it deals 1d6 points of damage to it.

Any form of positive energy work, so all cure spells (and the healing druid can help there, like a bard, inquisitor, oracle, witch), disrupt undead (wizard, magus). Even a character with a wand of cure light wound and a good UMD can help.

That mean that haunts aren't "cleric only" stuff, almost any class has some capability to fight them.

Then there is the "put to rest" part:

PRD wrote:
A neutralized haunt is not destroyed, and can manifest again after a period of time—to destroy a haunt, a specific action must be taken in the region to end the effect forever (such as burning a haunted house to the ground or burying the bones of the slaves who died on the site to create the haunt). This specific act is different for every haunt (although a number of nearby haunts often share the same destruction act).

That can be done by anyone, the hard part is finding what act is needed to appease the haunt, and that depend mostly on players smart, not class abilities.

Well done haunts will give a clue on their method of appeasement and that is the main challenge for the haunt creator. If they are done without inspiration they lose most of their value, but that is a problem of the adventure creator or the GM, not a problem of the haunt mechanic.

Several posts seem based on the idea that haunt are a "cleric only" problem and that the other characters can do nothing against them, I think I have demonstrated the opposite.

Epic Meepo wrote:
What bothers me is the "channeled positive energy" part of that statement. With very few exceptions, "channeled positive energy" means cleric or paladin. The possibility of preventing a haunt from manifesting is so sensitive to the class make-up of the party, it's impossible to say in advance how challenging the haunt will be.

But it is not limited to channeled positive energy. Any use of positive energy work.


Haunts are basically just traps. You can counter them with positive energy instead of energy resistance or feather fall or whatever. Like traps, they should always have a reason for being in a specific place, and they should move the adventure forward, not hinder it.


Haunts make great plot hooks.

Check out Haiku of Horror: Autumn Moon Bath House (a Rite Publishing supplement by me) - includes 3 custom haunts, one of them with 2 different CRs and different activating spells.


I agree that I flat out hate any mechanic that takes control of a player character. Both as a player and as a gm I have a strong dislike for enchantment. Free will is a horrible thing to take away from anyone.


How is a haunt different from a trap or a mold?

Enter effect zone, SOS. This is a staple of dungeoneering. There are countermeasures.


I'm running a homebrew game, a dark fairy tale theme, and its not overly heavy on undead. That being said, the party came into an area with a haunt and a vengeful ghost. They'd known the potential for undead was there; the wizard chose not to take Disrupt Undead as one of his cantrips that day.

So, to the good doctor's point on "countermeasures" yes, they had some...except that they were ALL in the hands of the cleric. They entered an area with a haunt and I used my own, homebrewed method of haunts because, had I not, it would've been really boring for the team.

You see: the cleric was the only one that failed the fear save.

In my own, slowly ramping version of the haunt, in round 2 there was a fear save and then in round 4 the thing made spectral attacks. In rounds 1 and 3 the non-positive-energy PCs could do something and they did, lobbing attacks and doing some damage to the visions they saw and such. But even after the cleric ran they STILL had some options.

The standard haunt rules would've been: Perception; act before Init 10 (cleric has mediocre Perception; no guarantee she'd have gotten to act); haunt novas if still active; scene over.

Now, granted; this is a simplified version but I like to give my players options. They can plan for traps just as well as haunts, but traps RAW leave room for improvisation with found materials, alternate skills that everyone possesses, use of items and class abilities etc. Haunts by RAW have LESS options of negotiation and therefore hamstring those players who don't prep for their potential.

I think for me and my game's experience we'd rather stick with slow build haunts and mechanical traps.

Sovereign Court

In White Wolf's game Orpheus, you basically play ghostbusters (who may be ghosts themselves). One of your main jobs is to deal with hauntings. There's two basic approaches to removing a haunting:

- resolving the ghost's issues: the RP-heavy way
- fumigation: just making the ghost "pass on" by sheer occult force

I think it's good that both approaches are valid; if a cleric gets called in to deal with a haunting by some evil dude who died horribly (Freddy Kruger) he shouldn't have to bow and scrape and cater to the ghost's whims to get rid of it. On the other hand, when dealing with the poor sad abused orphan you shouldn't have to tear her soul to shreds to improve neighbourhood property prices.

I haven't used the Haunt system before, but I'm kind of intrigued. I rather like the idea that it's mind-affecting fear actually; the fighter stands tall while the barbarian runs screaming because it's stuff he can't physically abuse. Obviously the paladin doesn't get what all the fuss is about. However, there's a few flaws in there. I'd say that a haunt should be able to use Telekinesis to hurl stuff at the paladin for example, but rocks on the ground wouldn't be impressed by mind-affecting Telekinesis. Guess you'll have to throw the barbarian instead.

Ultimately I think the haunt system is immature: it's an attempt to fill a niche, but with rules that don't tie in well to the rest of the game system. They should certainly be more interactive. I wonder if a specialized Ghost template wouldn't be more effective? Ghosts have Rejuvenation, often limited mentality - the only thing they need is a wider scope of "mind affecting" spells with which to haunt.


A haunt is supposed to be frightening. Powerlessness is what makes things frightening. Being powerless is good for atmosphere but bad for gameplay.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My general complaint with haunts is that it is kind of jarring. It basically boils down to:
"You enter a spooky room. Roll Sense Motive."
*players roll*
"You two feel a threatening presence. Everyone roll initiative."
*players roll*
"You feel a sharp pain as a ghostly figure stabs you. Take X damage. The ghostly figure dissipates."

You have a situation that screams "cinematic storytelling", but it gets interrupted by having to stop and have people roll detection/initiative. And quite possibly, they won't even be able to use the results of those rolls.

In my RotRL campaign, I am planning to have the party pre-roll all the haunt detection and haunt initiative rolls at the beginning of the session so that it can be a smoother storytelling experience.

As for having the cleric be the only one able to do anything about haunts, I really like a mechanic that was used for a particular haunt in book 3 of Council of Thieves. Basically, there was a skull that was the focus of the haunt. By smashing it, you forced the haunt to use its initiative action to rebuild itself. Actually defeating it still required the use of positive energy, but it provided other PCs a way to directly affect the haunt.


Clerics need moments to shine in game too, and haunts are one of the best opportunities for that. Why is periodic spot-light on cleric bad for other players? It's good when they have the spot-light, but not the for cleric, apparently.

Liberty's Edge

Have you all noticed that this thread is over a year old and that many of the replies are to posts made back then?

Liberty's Edge

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gamer-printer wrote:
Clerics need moments to shine in game too, and haunts are one of the best opportunities for that. Why is periodic spot-light on cleric bad for other players? It's good when they have the spot-light, but not the for cleric, apparently.

Because anything you can do the cleric can already do better?


gamer-printer wrote:
Clerics need moments to shine in game too, and haunts are one of the best opportunities for that. Why is periodic spot-light on cleric bad for other players? It's good when they have the spot-light, but not the for cleric, apparently.

I didn't realize clerics were lacking any opportunities to shine. They already outdo every class that doesn't have the name "Wizard" in it's title.


I wouldn't no, nobody plays a wizard in our group - a sorcerer maybe, but no wizards in 6 years of gaming. I only play martial characters (ranger or paly) or half-casters (I haven't played a wizard in 20 years) - I have no problems shining in game. Our cleric tends to get the least 'light'. So in my experience, haunts and undead are the best opportunity for clerics. Clerics applying band-aids, ala 'heal' is not shining. Buffing? Most any caster can buff, that's not a cleric exclusive.

Different groups have different styles of play I suppose.


gamer-printer wrote:
I wouldn't no, nobody plays a wizard in our group - a sorcerer maybe, but no wizards in 6 years of gaming. I only play martial characters (ranger or paly) or half-casters (I haven't played a wizard in 20 years) - I have no problems shining in game. Our cleric tends to get the least 'light'. So in my experience, haunts and undead are the best opportunity for clerics. Clerics applying band-aids, ala 'heal' is not shining. Buffing? Most any caster can buff, that's not a cleric exclusive.

In my groups the cleric has plenty of chances to shine. Being a full caster is as powerful as your spell selection after all. Prepare daylight on the day we fight a creature that can't survive in sunlight? Awesome! Give the party resistance? Awesome! Protectoin from evil? Still pretty awesome. Fighting evil? Smite it and blind it with fire from the havens! Awesome! They have a lot of choices to make.

Adding in things that only certain people can deal with takes away the chance for everyone else to shine, and if the party doesn't have a way to deal with them (like not having trapfinding) it really sucks. Its terrible design if anything, because it requires a particular person to play something or the party just doesn't work. Which in the long run is more harmful than anything. Someone who does something better I'm okay with, but just saying no I'm not.

Personally I'm not big on haunts. Awesome idea, I love how amazing and fun they can be, but the fact my first reaction is always getting out, running away, or in some way not actually dealing with it... well... they may as well just be plot devices, not traps. Some of them are pretty deadly, and they feel more like random landmines any time I've run into them than anything.


I prefer investigative adventures and laying a haunt and/or ghost to rest is the point of running into them in the first place. If you only treat it like a trap to avoid, or deal with briefly then run away, you've missed the whole point to haunts. I love haunts so much, I practically include at least 1 in most every adventure site I place my players in. And obviously, from Kaidan products I release, haunts are a common inclusion.

When I include a haunt, there's a deep backstory relating to why it's there, how it was formed, and leads to plot hooks on the evil guy involved with it.

In fact, in my Haiku of Horror: Autumn Moon Bath House, I've included a ju-on (grudge) curse coupled with the included custom ghost - yurei no kami. Ju-on is the original Japanese name for the Japanese version of the movie, The Grudge. The ju-on curse, if a given player(s) acquires it, causes an existing ghost at the same location as the grudge curse to (for the length of the cursed condition) now haunt the PC. So once a ghost is destroyed (not laid to rest), no matter where you travel, in 1d4 days when that ghost rejuvenates, it's going to show up and attack the cursed character. While you could remove curse, there's a -10 penalty to the spell DC for it not to work. The only non-magical means of removing the curse is laying the ghost to rest. While such a curse should be a rare thing indeed, it teaches players to make the effort to lay ghosts/haunts to rest everytime, if possible.

I think haunts are one of the best tools in the PF toolbox. I don't even use traps anymore (nobody currently playing a rogue, so nobody is missing that).


I think Haunts tried to do something special, but the clunkiness of the mechanics just really get in the way. Too many die rolls and too much math break mood, and Haunts rely heavily on both, while trying to be heavily atmospheric at the same time. A daunting task, to say the least.

I've had greater success with haunting encounters that relied a LOT less on numbers, that couldn't just be Divine Energy blasted away. Most of the adventure would be about setting the spirit to rest, not just a holy nuke.

Each haunting should be special, and should be used sparingly. That's what I felt was a huge failing about the Haunting of Harrowstone adventure; there were too many haunts crammed into small spaces like displays on a cheap carnival haunted house ride. "Oooh! This room is scary! Let's just run to the next room and be perfectly safe." Completely destroyed immersion for me.


Josh M. wrote:
I've had greater success with haunting encounters that relied a LOT less on numbers, that couldn't just be Divine Energy blasted away. Most of the adventure would be about setting the spirit to rest, not just a holy nuke.

Well, isn't that always true in any non-combat aspect of the game. If your players can get immersed and roleplay the situations, you can almost chuck the dice from the game, until such time that something is causing a need for a specific DC or skill check to break from immersion. If you can avoid rolling dice and still move the game forward - do that everytime.

Josh M. wrote:
Each haunting should be special, and should be used sparingly. That's what I felt was a huge failing about the Haunting of Harrowstone adventure; there were too many haunts crammed into small spaces like displays on a cheap carnival haunted house ride. "Oooh! This room is scary! Let's just run to the next room and be perfectly safe." Completely destroyed immersion for me.

I would never include a haunt as just another obstacle, aka trap, hazard, etc. As I say, I use haunts primarily as plot hooks more than anything else. Finding out what caused the haunt leads to the evil person or acts that must be revealed and resolved.

Agreed on the Haunting of Harrowstone - too many, too close.

In the Rite Publishing Curse of the Golden Spear trilogy, the intro short AP to Kaidan, there are 2 haunted locations in the first module, and 1 in the second. While there are several haunts tied together, especially at the first haunt location. They are rare, atmospheric encounters that reveal some the secrets of the setting. Haunts should always be special.


gamer-printer wrote:
Clerics need moments to shine in game too, and haunts are one of the best opportunities for that. Why is periodic spot-light on cleric bad for other players? It's good when they have the spot-light, but not the for cleric, apparently.

It is bad because not every party has a cleric. If you don't have a cleric, and you don't have a paladin, you can not do anything effective to a haunt. Either people can act and... run away to avoid the effect. Maybe the wizard can cast disrupt undead for a whopping 1d6 points (not enough to stop most any haunt). Or they don't go first, and just save or suck.

Positive energy severely restricts who can deal with the haunt. They overly restricted who can handle it, to the point that parties missing a cleric/paladin are forced to just deal with the consequences.


G to the P, I think you've hit on why I don't use Haunts. I don't run a strictly horror game, but the game definitely has some dark elements. Since it's not primarily horror/undead, my players try to be prepped for a lot of different types of threats. Add to that the fact that they're not terribly investigative and Haunts just seem to fall down.

If I opened a game session with a haunt, no matter how cinematic or cool or what have you I make it, there's no guarantee they'll care about it. I gave them the ghost of a dead ancestor haunting a ruin outside their town 3 game sessions ago; they STILL haven't done anything about that.

So then I come back to the actual mechanics, which is what this thread started off being about. The mechanics, by RAW are Detect; Roll Initiative; React to whatever you think MAY be going on; Suffer any remaining consequence of the thing; end encounter. Its like walking near a trap, seeing the tripwire, then it goes off anyway whether you wanted to do anything to disarm/avoid it or not, and once spent you have nothing left to do but simply move on.

Personally I favor the following mechanics instead:

Round 1 - you walk into the affected area; something creepy begins to happen and the PCs can react in any way they'd like.

Round 2 & on - you haven't left yet? Ok, well Mr Haunt here will just keep getting louder and angrier until his spell effect goes off. You can try many things from vaporizing the area with positive energy to figuring out and appeasing the haunt.


Tarantula wrote:

It is bad because not every party has a cleric. If you don't have a cleric, and you don't have a paladin, you can not do anything effective to a haunt. Either people can act and... run away to avoid the effect. Maybe the wizard can cast disrupt undead for a whopping 1d6 points (not enough to stop most any haunt). Or they don't go first, and just save or suck.

Positive energy severely restricts who can deal with the haunt. They overly restricted who can handle it, to the point that parties missing a cleric/paladin are forced to just deal with the consequences.

And if you don't have a wizard, sorcerer, magus or witch, you can't cast arcane spells, especially knowing that you'll be having encounters with a powerful arcane caster. And if you're in the woods, wilderness campaigning, having no barbarians, rangers or oracles, means your gaming group is seriously gimped - yeah, that's kind of obvious. That's why as a potential player for a given AP you learn what it's about, and try not to build a character that doesn't fit the expectations.

If you're dealing with undead as a major activity in a campaign you always include a cleric or paladin. Doing otherwise is almost suicide.

Really not covering all your expected situations, and in almost every game not including a cleric or paladin, in general, is kind of dumb. I get when players want to play this or that particular build, but builds shouldn't be considered in a vacuum. If you know what kind of adventure you'll be participating, and if everyone else's characters are drawn up and there's no cleric... whose fault is it, that you (someone in the party) didn't ceate cleric?

As an expectation, by me, there should always be a cleric in the party, sometimes a pally can fit the bill, but often, that's not even good enough.


gamer-printer wrote:

And if you don't have a wizard, sorcerer, magus or witch, you can't cast arcane spells, especially knowing that you'll be having encounters with a powerful arcane caster. And if you're in the woods, wilderness campaigning, having no barbarians, rangers or oracles, means your gaming group is seriously gimped - yeah, that's kind of obvious. That's why as a potential player for a given AP you learn what it's about, and try not to build a character that doesn't fit the expectations.

If you're dealing with undead as a major activity in a campaign you always include a cleric or paladin. Doing otherwise is almost suicide.

Really not covering all your expected situations, and in almost every game not including a cleric or paladin, in general, is kind of dumb. I get when players want to play this or that particular build, but builds shouldn't be considered in a vacuum. If you know what kind of adventure you'll be participating, and if everyone else's characters are drawn up and there's no cleric... whose fault is it, that you (someone in the party) didn't ceate cleric?

As an expectation, by me, there should always be a cleric in the party, sometimes a pally can fit the bill, but often, that's not even good enough.

Yes, I agree, an arcane caster is usually required. As you said, there are 4 classes that are arcane casters. There are 2 that can channel positive energy. Also, wouldn't you expect an inquisitor to be able to handle haunts? Why are they completely powerless to them?

Survival? Really? Many classes have ways of dealing with that. Rope tricks, summoning feasts, and the like. Survival is not a "must have" like arcane caster.


I don't get the complaint you "need" a cleric. Haunts are resolved by doing some thing, not by blasting them with channel energy. Most of the things they do to you allow a save. You could totally deal with a haunt without a cleric of any sort. Clerics getting to pre-empt the haunt's attack is just a bonus.


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RJGrady wrote:
I don't get the complaint you "need" a cleric. Haunts are resolved by doing some thing, not by blasting them with channel energy. Most of the things they do to you allow a save. You could totally deal with a haunt without a cleric of any sort. Clerics getting to pre-empt the haunt's attack is just a bonus.

Really? Ok, you need detect undead or detect (correct alignment) going to get a chance to spot it before it triggers.

Most people don't run around with constant detects going (maybe paladins/inquisitors). If you don't spot it and trigger it, you get to make a perception check. If you see it, you can make initiative to act in the round. If you make initiative, and you aren't a cleric. Your options are....... run away or otherwise get out of the area of effect. If you are a cleric, you can channel energy it and neutralize it entirely. Otherwise, everyone gets to save or suck.

That is the problem. Have a cleric that can act? He can negate it entirely, don't? Save or suck. There is no other option for dealing with it.


Tarantula wrote:

Yes, I agree, an arcane caster is usually required. As you said, there are 4 classes that are arcane casters. There are 2 that can channel positive energy. Also, wouldn't you expect an inquisitor to be able to handle haunts? Why are they completely powerless to them?

Survival? Really? Many classes have ways of dealing with that. Rope tricks, summoning feasts, and the like. Survival is not a "must have" like arcane caster.

Granted wilderness survival is much less critical than spellcasters (I should have included druid in that wilderness example), the point was there are many situations that can be deduced by the kind of AP it is, being prepared is smart play, but not all players play smart.

If you're playing PFS you're screwed, but in my home game, we've got many home-built archetypes, including an oracle and inquisitor build that has either channel energy or a custom ability that causes damage to haunts/undead. In fact we have a custom teamwork feat that allows the inquisitors ability to detect and damage haunts, to grant the detection bonus to his allies.

Its no problem in my game.


RJGrady wrote:
I don't get the complaint you "need" a cleric. Haunts are resolved by doing some thing, not by blasting them with channel energy. Most of the things they do to you allow a save. You could totally deal with a haunt without a cleric of any sort. Clerics getting to pre-empt the haunt's attack is just a bonus.

I usually see it as dealing with it in the same way you would a landmine. Channeling positive energy can disable it, but the thing will go off and do horrible things to you if you don't, and if you can't channel it will. They're hard to find, and sometimes hard to bypass. They don't always have a cool mechanic, sometimes its having a rock chucked at you, other times its a compulsion to hit yourself with a rock. Sometimes its a great plot device, other times its a literal explosion of harmful energy or a spell.

Being stricken with images of once were and seeing a journal scribbled in the corner before the shadow of an unknown beast devours the man writing in it is a plot device that creates curiosity and makes them seek out that blood stained journal hidden in the corner. Having the room shake and rattle and chuck plates at you is... A save or get healed before walking on. Much like the complaint with traps. Another cool thing I've seen is a mix of the two, where a haunt starts off an undead attack and the players start losing track of what is real and what isn't as far as plot and feelings go.

I can see haunts as possibly being really cool, but that really is defined by who's running the show and who makes them. Sometimes its more effective than others. Creating an emotion or forwarding the plot is always good. Stopping everyone to check for traps or watching a landmine go off isn't always the best. Save and move on...

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