In Search of Sanity: Help me "Silent Hill" the last section

Strange Aeons

My PCs are third level and are just about to enter section E (the Apostles and the ghouls). To my mild surprise, they've been leaning hard into the survival horror aspect of the story -- they really like the grosser monsters and the creepier and more atmospheric encounters.

Section E definitely raises the game in terms of difficulty, but otherwise it's not much more horrific than the other parts. So I'd like to add an encounter or two to make it more creepy and alarming. Note that it doesn't have to be a monster as such (though suggestions for creepy monsters are also welcome) -- seeing Pyramid Head standing motionless in the hotel corridor could work too, if you get me. The players seem to be responding to creepiness and atmosphere more than mechanics, if that helps.


Doug M.

Additional wrinkle: I have only 3 PCs -- paladin, bard, druid -- and no cleric. So I'd be happy to swap in something for one of the ghoul encounters... against a party this small, if the ghouls roll well, a couple of bad saves could mean game over.

Doug M.

The ghouls are pretty horrific in of themselves, plus the haunt in the kitchen.

Yeah, ghouls nearly TPK'd my party, and at one point 3 of 4 were paralyzed.

I added some tooth fairies, but that's because I'm evil.

There's nothing wrong with ghouls, but my group is 3 experienced players. So they know what ghouls are. I think part of what engages them is the "WTH is that" moment that pops up several times in this module.

TBC, I'll keep most of the ghoul encounters. (The one with the sahkil-dog looks very promising...). But I'm looking for... maybe one weird encounter (could be a haunt, or a CR 4-5 aberration or weird undead or something) and also maybe one more sub-boss (the Bag Lady is great, but I've talked up the idea that they're entering a violent ward with some dangerous characters).

Doug M.

So I added an npc to the tower encounter, which I thought (correctly) was extremely weak.

I added a 3rd level summoner as one of Zandalus's lieutenants, with a really freaky eidolon who nearly killed the party mesmerist with bleed. More info if you're interested.

The voonith actually went down super easy and felt out of place, in retrospect I'd either have this as a bizarre social encounter or have it stalk the PCs.

Personally, I think that these encounters are a great way to show how terrifying ghouls are at low levels. They're smart, organized, but ultimately ravenous.

If you're looking for creepy encounters, don't discount fey. I've already mentioned tooth fairies, but Bagmen are horrific as well. seems to have disabled its Advanced Monster Search. Which is a dang shame -- you could just go there, plug in "fey" and "CR 5" (or whatever) and you'd get a nice curated list of plausible monsters.

Well, well. I like your summoner idea. And here's a thought: maybe he summons creatures that people are stereotypically afraid of (spiders, snakes, etc.)... except that they all have the Nightmare Creature template and there's a small but real chance (say, 10% check per PC) that the PCs *will* have at least a mild aversion that can blossom into a full-grown phobia with a will save needed.

Doug M.

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