Surviving the Misgivings (SPOILERS. EVERYWHERE.)


Rise of the Runelords


I'm going to be running a three-person group through Foxglove Manner at some point in the relatively near future. The group composition is something like this:

Samsaren Savant
Suli Oracle of Battle//Fighter gestalt
Kitsune Fey Sorcerer

And the realization I've come to is that, without heavy modification, the Misgivings is going to kill them. The Haunts alone would slaughter them - some of those effects are just ridiculous. This is the first time the Savant player is playing a Savant, and she's still not 100% in the groove of the class (probably about 85% there). This is the first time the Sorcerer's player has ever played a 9th level caster, and only his second tabletop campaign ever. You'll notice that dealing with the ghouls/ghasts is probably going to be a real problem, and I'm not sure how well they'll do dealing with the Skinsaw Man - though to be fair, assuming they're not silly enough to tangle with the dead wife, I'll have her do her fair share of death-dealing during the boss fight.

I want to keep the house run mainly intact, as I feel it has a good vibe and fantastically scary effects. I'm not sure how to hamstring the difficulty without hamstringing the entire house crawl, though. Suggestions? Other general suggestions for running that particular adventure would also be appreciated.


As I see it, there are a couple options.

Option 1: You let them find a cache of potions/scrolls of Lesser Restoration, Remove Paralysis, Disease, etc before they reach the Misgivings. The Oracle can use all of those, and if the Sorcerer or Savant took Use Magic Device, they probably can too. That should let them deal with the effects of the Haunts as they take them. For combats, The Oracle's and Savant's Fort saves are pretty good, so they should be able to handle the ghouls/ghasts, so long as they can protect the Sorcerer. You can also reduce the number of ghouls/ghasts beneath the Misgivings to make it a little easier. Iesha can dish out a lot of damage to Aldern. You should use her to soften him up, so long as your players aren't "kill all undead on sight" types.

Option 2: One of the main reasons for the haunts is what they reveal about Aldern. If you want, you could just have them play out without dealing the damage to the players. It requires a little more descriptive work on your part, but it helps avoid some of the really nasty effects. Follow my advice for Option 1 for the ghouls/ghasts and Aldern.

Paladins are immune to the haunts, and they have an aura that makes the other players immune as well, so they usually find the Misgivings easy. If you just avoid the effects, it will probably be fine.

The Exchange

Ummm, paladins are immune to fear, but that doesn't make the completely immune to haunts does it?

In any case, your party's saving throws are the issue. Try to match the haunt saving throws to the party members that will do the best, and encourage them to bring along a cleric with extra channel.

And as somebody who nearly went off the roof of Misgivings, the haunts were awesome. I would have been okay with having to be fished out of the drink and resurrected after that.


PRD wrote:
All primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that actually produce physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a haunt's direct effects, but not to secondary effects that arise as a result of the haunt's attack.

...in other words, yes, paladins are immune to haunts. But if a fire haunt starts a building on fire, the paladin can still burn to death.

And paladins' auras just give a +4 bonus to saves vs. fear, they don't make other PCs immune.

Since I had a paladin in my group, I simply had her experience the haunts that were targeted at her, but they did not damage her. It let me tell the story without saying, "Well, you have a paladin, so you don't get hurt, but you don't get to learn that part of the story..."

A wonderful example of a "secondary effect" was when the bard stabbed her as the result of a haunt that affected him. :-P

The Exchange

NobodysHome wrote:
PRD wrote:
All primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that actually produce physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a haunt's direct effects, but not to secondary effects that arise as a result of the haunt's attack.

...in other words, yes, paladins are immune to haunts. But if a fire haunt starts a building on fire, the paladin can still burn to death.

And paladins' auras just give a +4 bonus to saves vs. fear, they don't make other PCs immune.

Since I had a paladin in my group, I simply had her experience the haunts that were targeted at her, but they did not damage her. It let me tell the story without saying, "Well, you have a paladin, so you don't get hurt, but you don't get to learn that part of the story..."

A wonderful example of a "secondary effect" was when the bard stabbed her as the result of a haunt that affected him. :-P

Yeah, this is what I thought. No direct damage from the fear effects, but they still experience the haunting visions.


Qakisst Vishtani wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
PRD wrote:
All primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that actually produce physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a haunt's direct effects, but not to secondary effects that arise as a result of the haunt's attack.

...in other words, yes, paladins are immune to haunts. But if a fire haunt starts a building on fire, the paladin can still burn to death.

And paladins' auras just give a +4 bonus to saves vs. fear, they don't make other PCs immune.

Since I had a paladin in my group, I simply had her experience the haunts that were targeted at her, but they did not damage her. It let me tell the story without saying, "Well, you have a paladin, so you don't get hurt, but you don't get to learn that part of the story..."

A wonderful example of a "secondary effect" was when the bard stabbed her as the result of a haunt that affected him. :-P

Yeah, this is what I thought. No direct damage from the fear effects, but they still experience the haunting visions.

Yep. Just to be clear, that's a "house rule". The PRD isn't clear on it, but I felt omitting the visions would be detrimental to the story.

Dark Archive

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Absolutely. The visions drive the story. Once the cleric in my party realized that defeating the haunts meant they didn't get the story, he stopped trying to channel. They willingly walked into all of them from thereon.


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

The very definition of taking one for the team:-)

Grand Lodge

Have the team only trigger three of the six types of haunts, one for each character, and the remaining ones only trigger the visions.

In a lot of ways, this will actually make things more scary for the players, because they can't tell which haunts are "harmless" and which ones a going to make their days a(n) (un)living hell.

Reduce the number of ghouls from each room in the lower levels by one each, including the ghoul zombie commandoes.

should make The Misgivings doable.

Also, did you roll for stats, or use a point buy?


Used 25-point buy.

Lot of great suggestions here, thanks everyone. I think I might work in a few additional scrolls to cover some things, reduce the number of undead a bit, and will definitely take the advice regarding only having three types of haunts trigger effects with the rest only triggering visions. In another topic around here I took note that someone wrote the visions down on puzzle pieces for the group to collect and assemble. I might do that as well.

Any suggestions for how to really drive home the terrifying mood of the house?


Quote:
In another topic around here I took note that someone wrote the visions down on puzzle pieces for the group to collect and assemble

I like this idea as well. Did the poster ever provide a copy of the puzzle pieces on the forum?

The Exchange

Play creepy Halloween music very quietly in the background so people can just hear it. (I use Midnight Syndicate's albums for this) Make sure that there are no other distractions like a TV or players messing with their phones either. Distractions prevent the creepy anxiety from building up.

Also, with a 25 point buy your PCs should be pretty kick ass. I don't see how they would have problems cruising through Misgivings even with only three PCs and no cleric. They just need to pause after each room and keep their wits about them.

Grand Lodge

25 point buy should allow them to go through without much trouble with the already mentioned adjustments at this point. Just don't second guess yourself on which of the three haunt-types they'll trigger. Some of them may look really nasty, but they're Will-Saves, which is the strong save common amongst all your PCs.

As for making the house more terrifying, don't scrimp on the details, especially tactile details and anything that gives off the indication "You're going to be taking a chunk of this house with you when you leave." Describe the thick, musty feeling of the mold-tainted air passing into their lungs, describe dust as it clings to their exposed skin and moisture on their brow caking onto their face from the filth of the home.

Misgivings Details/Spoilers:
Vorel Foxglove's backfired attempt at lichdom turned himself and the house into a festering pestilent hazard. This should be made obvious by the haunt visions, and once your characters realize this, they are going to feel really worried about how unclean the house is making them feel.

Also, when describing the haunts, try to make the description of the visuals of the sort where a person's morbid fascination overrides immediate disgust. Capitalize on how unnatural the situation is, rather than just going to emphasize the gore.

Gore is fine for a person, they can visit a bathhouse in Sandpoint and have a nice evening getting it off. But if you make the person worried about a taint, then the imagery of the household will stick with them that much longer, because they'll be worried 'has something gotten in me?', and hopefully be something you can build off of at a later point to really freak them out.

If you have yet to have the players fight ghouls yet, I would also try to emphasize their unnaturalness as well, rather than just sheer gore.

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