Posted on 2 Comments

Insidious Inclusion – 5 Duplicitous Tips to Lure Players

Eventually, players get wise to the mimics, the hidden assassins and the unassuming forest trail. Sometimes to move the plot ahead, however, you need to really walk your group into the lion’s den. Even the most experienced player can still fall prey to a number of different ploys to draw them into an ambush, trap or unfortunate surprise; I’ve detailed a few below.


Knight-riding1) Appeal to Alignment

This goes without saying for paladins and antipaladins, but characters of every stripe can be called upon to act out their nature. While a great tactic, it’s not to be used too often—it isn’t likely that all the PCs share the same world views and motivations, and arguments arising from these situations can be catastrophic.


2) Opposing Obstacles

A bomb is about to explode, but the mayor is halfway across the city and also primed for fatal catastrophe! Sure, it’s one of the older tricks in the book, but it is effective. Watch out for the same sort of trouble you see with the above option, and avoid saturating your game with this. Forcing PCs to one or two logical solutions to being caught between a rock and a hard place too much might take away too much drama from your game, or dishearten players into feeling that their actions lack impact.


marbles3) Incentive

The road to hell is paved in gold and good intentions. Even the most cowardly rogue will give in to their greed and make for a dangerous situation if the gold glitters brightly enough. If you’re feeling particularly vicious, go ahead and throw one or two permanent silent image illusions their way. Eventually clever PCs might start throwing rocks at chests to see if their figments before engaging them and we’re back to traps!


4) Cover, Concealment, Reach and Grab

In Pathfinder awakened animals don’t go up in CR. So, for instance, an awakened giant lake octopus gains high-level tactics and 2 HD without raising its challenge rating. There’s already been talk about using terrain effectively, but imagine how an intelligent animal (especially big ones) might modify their hunting grounds. Make use of creatures with reach and grab, concealing them and enticing PCs to wander just close enough that they think they are safe (there is the Lunge feat, after all).


knights-armor-205) Sweet Poison Pie

Seed your real plots into innocuous happenings. These could be as simple as running into a pickpocket while at the tavern, or a little more complicated. This month the AaWBlog is taking on a bloody theme to match February’s holiday: Cultus Sanguineus. Within this mini-adventure, the PCs are invited to a grand ball. To seed this, the GM might make it clear that one of the more important members of society’s elite is only accessible to the party at high level functions; while there’s no shortage of events like this, infiltrating one is as hard as earning an invitation. When the adventurers finally find a way in, they’ll think they scored the jackpot—nobles to sleight of hand, influential contacts to make and juicy rumors to learn—only to find out differently much too late…

Do you have a contribution or idea for Meta Thursdays?  Send us your ideas (after reading the submission guidelines) to submit(at) with “Meta Thursday” in the subject line!

Posted on Leave a comment

Alleyway of Blood

Alleyway of Blood CR 7
XP 3,200
NE haunt (manifestation) (10 ft. by 50 ft. alleyway)
Caster Level 7th
Notice Perception DC 32 (to hear the faint rustling of swift running feet)
Hp 14;Trigger special (see text);Reset 1 day


Effect The manifestation appears at the will of the Exsanguinator and can manifest anywhere, anytime, as long as the location is not wider than 10 feet. One day must pass between each manifestation.
1d6+3 ghostly humanoid shapes jump out of the walls themselves or rise up through the ground—they are cloaked and have no facial features that can be made out in the short duration of the assault. Each of the shapes darts down the alley with supernatural speed and delivers one attack to every person in the area of effect, after which they fade back to whatever realm spawned them. The shapes use a variety of short-bladed weapons from daggers to scalpels. and resolve their strikes as melee touch attacks (+7, 1d6+3 and 2 bleed; this bleed damage stacks).

Adventure Hook This manifestation represents the Exsanguinator’s memories of the blood hunts held in his honor before he was banished to a prison plane for seven centuries. As a ritual to free him nears completion the seals in his prison are weakening and allowing his will to manifest across the planes to help his faithful, albeit manifested weakly.Destruction  A manifestation is indestructible permanently unless the entity behind it is slain or banished back to whatever realm they came from. To read more about the Exsanguinator and how to bring an end to his malevolence, keep reading the AaWBlog as more of Cultus Sanguineus is revealed!

[Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster]


Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at), but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:

1. Anyone can submit an entry.
2. One entry per person at any one time. An entry must be your own work, not being published previously or considered by any other publisher, and it must original and not infringe upon copyrighted material.
3. All entries become property of, LLP.
4. By submitting an entry you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.
5., LLP reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this endeavor at any time without prior notice.
6. All decisions of, LLP and their arbiters are final.
7. There is no compensation provided – any entries are given freely by their creators for use by, LLP in perpetuity.
8. Your statblock must be properly formatted (compare to similar content on the AaWBlog for correct formatting).

Posted on Leave a comment

Blood Thirst Box (CR 7)

Pen_box_(Qalamdan)_by_Shaykh_Muhammad_(Shaykh_Kamal_Sabzavar),_1587,_Gujarat,_India,_lacquered_teakwood_with_mother-of-pearl_inlay_-_Freer_Gallery_of_Art_-_DSC05236Blood Thirst Box

This hand carved wooden box is inlaid with mother of pearl in circular patterns and has golden hinges and clasps securing the lid. The wood itself is smooth, and the fine grain of the hard wood creates a mesmerizing pattern with the inlay.

Type: magical; Perception DC 31; Disable Device 31

Trigger Touch; Reset None


The PC that opens the box is cursed (DC 24 Will Save negates). The cursed character hungers for blood, and will not eat anything else. One quart of humanoid blood is required each day, otherwise, after 24 hours the PC gains the exhausted condition. After feeding, the PC is fatigued. Also, if the PC does not feed, normal starvation rules apply.

The cursed PC also gains light sensitivity.

The curse can be removed by remove curse with a caster DC of 24.

This is the first of three trap posts that are thematically connected with this month’s overall theme, Cultus Sanguineus.

Posted on 2 Comments

Mask of the Thirst

Mask of Thirst blog-readyMask of Thirst
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 6th
Slot eyes; Price 16,810 gp; Weight 0.2lbs

This ornate half-face masquerade mask is created of the most valuable materials, crafted from finest ebony and laced with fine gold filigree. Androgynous in design, it can be worn by either men or women with equal skill—providing they are of the correct social standing. The central design on the forehead is of a ruby shaped like a drop of blood around which twelve polished ebony studs are arranged in a circle.

This represents the highest quality of dress clothing in the region and is highly desired by nobles who attend the many grand balls at court. Whenever it is found, the mask always represents the latest fashion found at the time and adjusts naturally to the size of the wearer. However, the wearer gains a mild sense of paranoia and always seeks to know whether others are plotting against them, wearing the mask more and more often to hear their thoughts.

The wearer of this mask gains +2 insight bonus to all Charisma-based skill tests and can hear the surface thoughts of others within 10 feet. It also maintains two other enchantments; the first allows the wearer to whisper a short conversation three times per day to a nominated individual within 100 feet. The second is that its true nature is obscured to prevent casual detection from non-members of the Cultus Sanguineas, making others simply believe it to be a mask of diplomacy +1 (granting a +1 insight bonus to Diplomacy checks) of the highest quality.


History PCs that succeed on a Knowledge (nobility) check to research the mask of thirst learn some fragments of its lore:

DC 15     This mask of diplomacy +1 is said to have once belonged to a caste of royalty that wore them day and night. They are greatly valued and if found upon someone that is not nobility, removed forcibly from their person (sometimes leading to arrest).

DC 20     Like any other contraband, thieves’ guild leaders also value these enchanted opera masks. Where they are prevalent, acolyte rogues are often made to procure one as a right of passage.

DC 25     Some scholars of esoteric items believe that these masks of diplomacy +1 are somehow related to vampires because of the masks appearance, but they are often disregarded as fools. The history of their founding by the noble caste that bears them is well documented.

DC 30     Baron Varig Norkull was the first to wear the enchanted opera mask and the fashionable item quickly became popular among society’s elite. Numerous would-be adventurers instead retired to live luxuriously as creators of these simple masks of diplomacy +1.


Requirements: Craft Wondrous Items, detect thoughts, eagle’s splendor, magic aura, message; maker must be an arcane caster and worshiper of the Exsanguinator or god of undeath. Cost: 8,405 gp 337 xp


[Submitted by Jonathan Ely]
Edited by Mike Myler

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at) with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)
  • one or two sentences about its appearance
  • what the item in question does
  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction