The gentle sound of a small stream running through the swamps calls you closer. The Clearwater Caverns is the eye of the storm in the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh. Any light source is reflected from the stream up unto the walls and ceiling in bluish hues—the view has a soothing effect after all the madness that otherwise seems so prevalent in this hellish place.
Torgould’s Rest CR 5 XP 1,600 NG special haunt (30 ft. by 30 ft. cavern) Caster Level 5th Notice Perception DC 21 (to see the fluorescent image of a regal dweorg beckoning you) hp 22; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day Effect When this haunt is triggered, Torgould appears as he did before he died—a dweorg regaled in all the glory of his peoples. Anyone in the haunt’s area of effect can hear his soft voice: “Welcome to this accursed place, travelers. I met my doom here—hopefully you will not follow me”. Torgould serves as a guide in the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh; he answers any question the party asks, but can only communicate within his area of effect. Below are examples of Torgould’s knowledge of the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh, but it is not exhaustive; in addition to telling the party of the Sunken Asylum and Tangleroot Forest, he can inform them of anything else the GM wants the adventurers to know about. Destruction As stated under Bolghar’s Despair, bringing Bolghar the message of Torgould’s forgiveness also destroys this haunt, granting XP for both haunts. Once Bolghar and Torgould’s haunts have been destroyed, Torgould can no longer assist the party, but he grants each PC a +2 insight bonus to Will saves for the next 24 hours.
Bolghar “Bolghar was my brother, but he was suffering from the curse of youth, brashness, and pride.” “He always thought he should lead the expedition and when the madness of the marsh gained foothold in his mind, Bolghar’s fate was sealed.” “I am sorry I did not see my brother’s slow descent into madness until it was too late.” “Yes he killed me, but it was not the Bolghar I knew—he was long gone at the time of the fateful event.” “I wish he knew that I forgive him for everything that transpired here, so he can finally rest.”
Giant Slug “Yes Nogth Ma’klurl’uth is its true name, a creature of insanity.” “It comes here from a planar rift somewhere in the Veil, to the south of here.” “Bolghar was killed in battle with Nogth Ma’klurl’uth—I like to think that the Bolghar who died in the beast was the Bolghar I knew my entire life.” “I have watched men go insane in the presence of the madness slug, and just standing and waiting for its maw to take them. Too many good men have died for the might of the madness that crawls.”
Slug Hunter “Vyn the slug hunter, you say? He lives in a shed southeast of here—it is not of dweorg workmanship if you know what I mean.” “He suffers from a malady, and needs the glands of karz slugs in order to create a remedy.” “Vyn seeks to fell the queen of the slugs, in the hopes that her gland will cure him entirely.” “If it will help him I don’t truly know, but if you seek a cure you should talk to him about it.”
A writhing mass of tentacles and teeth bursts from the ground. Whipping limbs surround its wide, tooth-filled maw, and its entire body is marked randomly with eyes—everytime you look at the them they appear to be in a new place. Reality swirls in waves around the monster as the world tries to push it back to the nightmare that spawned it.
Nogth Ma’klurl’uth, the Madness Slug CR 13 XP 25,600 CE gargantuan outsider (chaotic, evil, extraplanar) Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +23 DEFENSE AC 29, touch 4, flat-footed 29 (+25 natural, -2 Dex, -4 size) hp 184 (16d10+96) regeneration 5 Fort +16, Ref +9, Will +16 DR 15/magic; Immune acid, cold, mind affecting effects, paralysis, sleep; SR 18 Defensive Abilities acidic blood OFFENSE Speed 20 ft., burrow 40 ft., swim 20 ft. Melee bite +24 (4d8+12), 4 tentacles +22 (2d6+12 plus grab) Space 20 ft.; Reach15 ft. Special Attacks breath weapon (60 ft. cone, Will DC 24, 1d6 wisdom drain), swallow whole (4d8+12 bludgeoning damage, AC 22, hp 18), feeding tentacles. STATISTICS Str 34, Dex 6, Con 22, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 9 Base Atk +16; CMB +32 (+36 grapple); CMD 40 (cannot be tripped) Feats Blind Fight, Bloody Assault, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Armor, Iron Will, Multiattack, Power Attack Skills Knowledge (arcana) +20, Knowledge (planes) +20, Perception +23, Sense Motive +23, Spellcraft +20, Stealth +17, Swim +31 Languages telepathy 120 ft. SQ Change shape (drow witch; see below) SPECIAL ABILITIES Acidic Blood (Ex) Nogth Ma’klurl’uth’s blood can corrode metal on contact. If a creature damages Nogth Ma’klurl’uth with a piercing or slashing weapon made of metal, Nogth Ma’klurl’uth’s blood deals 5d6 points of acid damage to the metal weapon (unlike most forms of energy damage, this damage is not halved when applied to a metal object, although it does still have to penetrate the metal’s hardness). The weapon’s wielder can halve the damage the weapon takes by making a successful DC 22 Reflex save. Creatures made of metal that deal slashing or piercing damage to Nogth Ma’klurl’uth with a natural attack take 5d6 points of acid damage (a DC 22 Reflex save halves this damage). The corrosive elements of the blood fade 1 round after it leaves Nogth Ma’klurl’uth’s body or it dies. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Aura of Madness (Su) Any creature within 15 ft. of Nogth Ma’klurl’uth must take a DC 20 Will save or fall under the effects of a confusionspell (CL 16th) for 1d10 rounds. 1-25 act normally 25-50 do nothing but babble incoherently 51-75 deal 1d8 points of damage + Str modifier to self with item in hand 76-100 attack nearest creature (a familiar counts as part of the subject’s self) Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by Nogth Ma’klurl’uth’s aura of madness for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting effect.
Breath Weapon (Su) Swirling mass of solidified madness. 60 ft. cone, Will save DC 24 to negate, 1d6 wisdom drain. Nogth Ma’klurl’uth can use its breath weapon once every 1d4 rounds. An opponent reduced to zero or below in wisdom by Nogth Ma’klurl’uth’s breath weapon gains a severe insanity from the list below (curable DC 24). 1-3 paranoia 4-6 schizophrenia 7-9 psychosis 10-12 multiple personality disorder See the “Sanity and Madness” section in Chapter 8 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide for the specific rules of each one of these types of insanity.
Feeding Tentacles (Ex) Nogth Ma’klurl’uth can transfer one creature with the grappled condition from a tentacle to its mouth as a free action at the beginning of its turn. The creature does not lose the grappled condition during the transfer and starts in Nogth Ma’klurl’uth’s mouth with the grappled condition to be either swallowed whole or bitten.
Ferocity (Ex) Nogth Ma’klurl’uth continues to fight even when reduced to negative hit points.
Horrific Death (Ex) When Nogth Ma’klurl’uth is first reduced to negative hit points, creatures within its reach take 1d6+16 acid damage. While at negative hit points, Nogth Ma’klurl’uth adds a bonus to all damage equal to its hit dice (16). When it finally dies, Nogth Ma’klurl’uth dissolves into a pool of unidentifiable goo and reforms on the Plane of Madness after 101 years.
Madness Without, Madness Within (Ex) Nogth Ma’klurl’uth is madness given form and as such its insides consists of swirling fragmented visions of a variety of insanities. Any creature that has been swallowed whole must make a DC 22 Will save before attempting to cut their way out of Nogth Ma’klurl’uth. Failure results in the creature using its turn trying to maintain their precious grasp on reality; a new save may be attempted next round. Success means the creature can attempt to cut its way out and no further saves are necessary. This is a mind-affecting effect.
Voidborn (Ex) Nogth Ma’klurl’uth can exist safely in the void of space or similar hostile conditions.
The demiplane of madness is a maelstrom of insanities. The ground is a deluge of mud made of madnesses that has lost their potency—now they lie dormant and make up the ground of the plane. From this mire structures rise, but not in any conventional sense: floating towers, inverted houses, and structures that are there one moment and gone the next are common. The inhabitants of the plane are no less weird than the dimension itself. Hordes of madmen roam the everchanging landscape and nightmarish creatures prowl the skies.
This is the realm of Nogth Ma’klurl’uth; for centuries he roamed the plane, growing big on the different madnesses encountered there. When a rift appeared in the sky, Nogth Ma’klurl’uth entered it to find new avenues of destruction—what it found was the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh. The unique properties of the Slugmarsh and the madness seeping in through the rift from his home plane made it an ideal hunting ground for the madness slug, which has since spent centuries hunting in the subterranean swamps, going back to the demiplane of madness when prey is scarce in the Underworld bogs.
One of the first denizens of the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh that Nogth Ma’klurl’uth came across was a drow witch named Hejkri. The dark elf didn’t answer the impulse to run and was quickly swallowed whole by the madness slug, but did not die quickly. Instead she suffered for decades, her soul and mind torn apart by Nogth Ma’klurl’uth—since then the madness slug has assumed her form at times, insinuating herself into traveling parties, establishing a coven, and otherwise driving those that meet “her” into madness.
Nogth Ma’klurl’uth (drow witch 7); CR 11 (XP 12,800) HP 80 (12d6+36); AC 23 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural) Init +8; Speed 30 ft.; Atk dagger +7 (1d4+1) Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 21; SA hexes (cackle, coven, evil eye, misfortune); SQ cantrips, darkvision 120 ft., DR15/magic; Immune acid, cold, mind affecting effects, paralysis, sleep; SR 18 AL Chaotic Evil; SV Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +11; Str 12, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 12 Cha 18 Skills Knowledge (arcana) +19, Knowledge (planes) +19, Perception +16, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +19, Stealth +19, Swim +16; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes Spell-LikeAbilities (CL 12th, concentration +16) at will—glibness Witch Spells Prepared (CL 7th; concentration +11) 4th—black tentacles, fear 3rd—deep slumber, dispel magic, seek thoughts 2nd—blindness/deafness, detect thoughts, hold person, touch of idiocy 1st—burning hands, chill touch, command, mage armor, ray of enfeeblement 0th—bleed, detect magic, spark, touch of fatigue
So you have a PC that’s got a phobia, and you are tired of all the usual ones? Spiders, snakes, rats—well take a look below! Here are eight offbeat phobias as well as an old friend (but with a new take on the rules).
Phobia Rules A phobic character gains the condition shaken as long as the source of the phobia is obvious. If a phobic character is directly confronted by his obsession (requiring a standard action by an opponent deliberately attempting to trigger the reaction), he must make a DC 14 Will save against the insanity or become frightened by the object for 1d6 rounds.
Ablutophobia is the irrational fear of bathing. While this phobia might not matter in some societies, in a fantasy setting half-orcs and most monster races might not take offense by the unwashed adventurer, as well as most wilderness settlements. The exceptions to this would be backwater elven settlements and the like, where they keep to a high degree of cleanliness. There are however plenty more societies where the unwashed adventurer suffers negative modifiers to social encounters. It is important to remember that we are talking about a phobia, not simply a dirty and sweaty adventurer. A character suffering from ablutophobia can avoid bathing for months—or longer. The phobia results in a -2 penalty to social Skill checks and Charisma checks. Needless to say, the character might want to take a rain check when the party meets high society folk.
Aurophobia is the fear of gold, also known as the Dwarven Plague. Dwarves with this phobia are usually shunned by their peers, forced to leave their friends and family behind as they find a new home, far from the gold so common to dwarven cities. This phobia has forced many adventurers into early retirement, leaving them to beg for silvers or coppers in the streets. Aurophobia is also a good quirk for a beggar the party encounters—he just looks at their faces, then screams and throws away the gold piece, running for the hills in fear. This phobia is well suited for the standard rules for phobias, but it deserves mentioning for the sheer hilarity it can bring to a campaign. I mean seriously—afraid of gold!
Catoptrophobia is the fear of mirrors. This phobia bears mentioning specifically for campaigns where vampires are common. A character who does not want to look into a mirror? That gets a vampire hunter’s attention.The character does not use mirrors for any task, including but not limited to scrying and grooming. Apart from the antipathy to mirrors the usual rule applies.
Claustrophobia is the well-known fear of confined places. Many delves if not all involve tight confined spaces, and the adventurer feels more at home under the open sky than beneath the ground. When venturing beneath the ground, he is edgy and overly worried of the chance of cave-ins, endlessly checking the cavern wall, floors and ceilings. While easy to use with the standard rules, I suggest the following add on: enemies flanking the character gain an additional +1 to attack rolls as their target does not concentrate fully on the situation, distracted by an impulse to go for open ground.
Hagiophobia is the fear of all things holy. In places where there are more gods than countries, this phobia is always fun to watch play out. The character is struck by an intense fear of gods and their clerics and temples. It is important to note that the character is fearful of the gods and not an atheist—he believes they are real, but that they are to be feared. The most crippling effect of hagiophobia is the fact that before accepting any kind of aid from the gods, the character must take a Will save (DC 10 + spell level + the spellcaster’s Wisdom modifier). Apart from that the character follows the normal phobia rules when exposed to instances of divine power or holy symbols and the like.
Hylophobia, the fear of trees, woods and forests, this is the elves’ version of the Dwarven Plague, known as the Elven Illness. While this phobia does not seem so bad at first, please consider who can contract it—for druids this phobia will be devastating! In the deep forests of the world, the tale of Stoneoak is told at campfires, the treant who became scared of trees and by extension himself, so frightful that he eventually threw himself into a forest fire to free himself of a life of fear and self-loathing. Apart from the standard rule, the character cannot use any items in which wood is incorporated into the design.
Methyphobia is the fear of alcohol, by many considered the bane of adventurers everywhere. In regards to how many hours are spent in taverns by adventurers, this phobia is a severe hindrance. At some social functions the character is at a distinct disadvantage but the views upon methyphobia sufferers vary from culture to culture; dwarves might find it odd, whereas elves view it with curiosity or downright contempt for not being able to conquer one’s fears. Sufferers from methyphobia do not drink alcohol even if they make their saving throw; a success means that they sit in the tavern, but are visibly uncomfortably while doing so.
Necrophobia—fear of the dead, corpses, tombstones, and coffins. This phobia is a good one to spring on adventurers fond of fighting undead (though if you are overly fond of it, maybe you are already a little deranged!). It triggers both from the environment and creatures, so you get two for the price of one. As a side note let the party stumble into Hell Darkstorm, necromancer extraordinaire—if he had not developed necrophobia sufferer, anyway. Now he sits in a tavern hoping that people will believe his tales; perhaps the party hires him to go into the catacombs below the city streets? This phobia incurs a -2 penalty to saving throws against spells and spell-like effects coming from undead creatures. Furthermore, the usual rule applies for both the environment and undead creatures.Alternatively instead of the penalty, it could make the character deal nonlethal damage to living opponents as he does not want to be responsible for creating his own fear, so to speak.
Wiccaphobia is the fear of witches, and this shouldn’t be a phobia—witches should always garner the greatest respect from adventurers because they are witches! In a fantasy setting this phobia would be fear of any kind of magic from hedge wizards and old wise women (which we all know are witches in disguise). The usual rule applies to any encounter with witches, and the character suffers a -2 penalty to saving throws made to resist spells cast by witches, and the character will not let a witch cast any spell on him (even if the spell is beneficiary). A particular mean GM might even impose the rule that the character fears both sorcerers and witches (in which case the rule applies to spells cast by either sorcerers or witches).
Curing Phobias Recovering from a phobia is a lengthy process—once per week, the character makes a Will save against the insanity’s current DC. Success on this save reduces the phobia’s DC by a number of points equal to the character’s Charisma bonus (minimum of 1). The character continues to suffer the full effects of the phobia until its DC is reduced to 0, at which point he is cured and the phobia vanishes completely.
Lesser restorationhas no effect on insanity, but restoration reduces the current DC of one insanity currently affecting a target by an amount equal to the caster’s level. Greater restoration, heal, limited wish, miracle, or wish immediately cures a character of any insanity they are afflicted by.
Disclaimer: Any point of view expressed in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not in any case represent, define or otherwise reflect the view of the AaWBlog, AdventureAWeek.com, or AAW Games, Inc. For more information on insanity in Pathfinder, see the “Sanity and Madness” section in Chapter 8 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide. Phobia rules and Curing phobias are taken from Paizo’s Gamemastery Guide.
Echoes of the Asylum CR 8 XP 2,400CE haunt (30 ft. radius) Caster Level 6th Notice Perception DC 24 (to hear painful moans, pitiful sobbing, and maniacal deranged laughter) hp 16; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day Effect When this haunt is triggered a group of white semi-transparent humans appear. They are all dressed in rags, and their faces clearly show various pained expressions (such as sunken eyes, drooling mouths, and hands clawing at eyes and ears). They were clearly inmates at some kind of asylum as some of them still wear restraints. As one the group opens their mouths, a maddening cacophony rises within the minds of the creatures inside the haunt’s area. Creatures within the haunt’s area of effect that fail a DC 20 Will save gain an insanity from the list below (alternatively, the GM can choose an insanity fitting for the character and the campaign setting). Any bonuses against mind-affecting effects apply to this save.
d100 Insanity 1-11 Amnesia 12-48 Mania/Phobia 49-68 Multiple Personality Disorder 69-78 Paranoia 85-100 Schizophrenia Rules for insanity can be found in the “Sanity and Madness” section of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide.For ideas on phobias, check out tomorrow’s article: Corners of the Mind!
Destruction: To destroy this haunt, a character must cast a restoration spell at the haunt’s area, while the haunt is manifest. Destroying echoes of the asylum removes any insanities that creatures may have picked up from this haunt (but only from echoes of the asylum).
Voice in the Mist CR 7 XP 3,200 CE special haunt (50 ft. radius) Caster Level 7th Notice Perception DC 26 (to notice faint imprints of humanoid faces forming in the mists) Hp 7; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect A voice can be heard calling out from the mists of Shroudstone, a pitiful sobbing plea for help from anyone. The voice in the mist can be understood by any creature with a spoken language, but in a group the voice uses the language spoken by the majority (the haunt automatically knows which language that might be). Creatures that does not speak the language used by the haunt are not affected by the it. Creatures in the haunt’s area must take a DC 18 Will save or feel compelled to seek out the source of the voice. Creatures failing their Will save are led on a wild chase through the mists deep into the Shroudstone. The voice in the mist keeps beckoning victims on for up to an hour, leaving them truly lost in the Shroudstone or in an advantageous position for any ambushing monsters. As the victims make their way through the mists, the environment itself is a hazard but deeper in, the Ghosts of Shroudstone lay in ambush [keep your eyes peeled for that encounter in this week’s Sidequest Saturday!].
Destruction Destroying the Ghosts of Shroudstone automatically destroys this haunt.
Bolghar’s Despair CR 8 XP 1,600 CE haunt (30 ft. radius) Caster Level 8th Notice Perception DC 22 (to hear the repeated whispers of “kinslayer”) Hp 8; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day Effect: When entering Bolghar’s burial barrow, the anguished haunt manifests. A dwarf clad in rags with pieces of dated armor screams incoherently about dishonor and revenge, then suddenly sobbing about forgiveness and punishment for a grave crime. The haunt harmlessly dissipates but everyone in the haunt’s area must make a DC 19 Will save or develop multiple personality disorder. If the save is failed the character must start taking saving throws every hour to determine which personality dominates.
Every morning and each time the afflicted character is rendered unconscious, he must make a DC 19 Will save; on a failure a different personality takes over. A character’s memories and skills remain unchanged, but the various personalities have no knowledge of each other and deny, often violently, that the other personalities exist.
Personalities (roll a d12) 1-4 Bolghar, the plotter: You are convinced that a person close to you will betray you; you must stop him before he hurts you. A randomly determined party member or NPC is the target of your paranoia. You watch him closely and do not trust him to be alone at any time lest he plot your downfall. Eventually you will have to stop him permanently as your illness progresses—but it must look as an accident, or else the others might become nosy. 5-8 Bolghar, the kinslayer: You have committed a grave crime and you must seek redemption from the randomly determined party member or NPC that you have wronged. He is not aware that it was you who did it, but to be redeemed you must be of aid to him to the best of your abilities. 9-12 Bolghar, the leader: You have been given the honor of leading your family’s expedition to the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh, or at least you think you should have, instead it is your rival who gained it! You do anything to make him look bad; you frequently voice better ideas and show the others that you are a better suited leader of this expedition.
Destruction: Sprinkling holy water over Bolghar’s tomb while reciting the verse of the Kinslayer destroys the Bolghar’s Despair haunt. Alternatively, speaking to the haunt in Clearwater Caverns and realizing he is Bolghar’s brother then bringing the message of forgiveness to the spirit releases Bolghar from the haunt and allows him to finally rest—this solution also destroys the haunt of Clearwater Caverns.