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Weird Wednesday (Macabre Manses): Phobomancy

Image_Portfolio_101_Fantasy Jason Walton 03The suffix “-mancy” was technically a term used to describe divinations. An act of necromancy meant to speak with the spirits of the dead to learn secrets from beyond the grave, whereas cruromancers divined a soldier’s destiny from droplets of blood splashed into a bowl. Over time, the appellation came to refer to practitioners of any related magic. Now necromancy refers not just to divinations from departed souls, but also to the raising of the dead or the destructive force of negative energy. As such, phobomancy refers to the general practice of magic that deals in fear or dread. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game has several spells that could easily fall under the heading of phobomancy:
1st—cause fear, 2nd—scare, 4th—fear, phantasmal killer, 6th—eyebite, symbol of fear, 7th—finger of death, 9th—wail of the banshee, weird

While some of these have the [fear] descriptor, there’s no official subschool for phobomancy. An arcane spellcaster that wants to make fear magic her specialty may want an option for a fear spell at each spell level, without having to resort to metamagic feats, like the ones below!

School necromancy [fear, mind-affecting]; Level antipaladin 2, bard 2, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one living creature
Duration permanent (see text)
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance no

You cause your target to physiologically respond to fear with tremors and convulsions. The target receives one saving throw when you first cast the spell to negate the effect. If it fails, the target makes a new saving throw on the second round to reduce the duration of terrify to 1 round per caster level. If the creature fails both saves, the duration of the spell is permanent. The effect can only be removed by a break enchantment or remove curse spell.
While under the spell’s effect, a creature that also has the shaken condition takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from internal seizures and vertigo. A frightened creature takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage, and a panicked creature takes 3d6. The creature takes this damage at the beginning of each turn it remains affected by both this spell and the fear condition, whether from the initial effect or a later one. Any effect that renders the subject immune to fear or mind-affecting effects ends the spells duration.
Terrify may be fixed to a site by casting the unhallow spell.

School necromancy [fear, mind-affecting]; Level antipaladin 4, bard 4, sorcerer/wizard 5, witch 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one living creature
Duration permanent (see text)
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance no

This spell is identical to terrify except that the caster may choose when casting the spell to deal lethal damage to the target, and the damage dice inflicted by the spell are increased to d10s.



School necromancy [fear, mind-affecting]; Level antipaladin 5, bard 6, sorcerer/wizard 8, witch 8
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area 20-ft.-radius emanation
Duration permanent (see text)
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance no

This spell is identical to greater terrify, except that the spell affects all targets within the burst.

Image_Portfolio_102_Fantasy Jason Walton 40

To celebrate Halloween, the haunt below makes use of the terrify spells and is suitable for setting up a party to encounter something genuinely frightening, making it a great supplement to your phobomantic encounters.

XP 9,600
NE haunt (a room or outdoor space up to 250 square feet)
Caster Level 10th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to notice a faint chill and a palpable aura of dread)
hp 20; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour
Effect A cold mist rises from the ground and the temperature drops noticeably. Each living creature in the area is affected by a mass terrify spell (DC 22 Will).
Destruction This haunt is destroyed if a bard uses their inspire courage ability, or when good hope is cast simultaneously with the channeling of positive energy within the haunt’s area.


[Submitted by Steve T. Helt]

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Weird Wednesday (Macabre Manses): Starving Soldiers

Image_Portfolio_101_Fantasy Jason Walton 10Haunts are the residual impression of one or more suffering souls. Those of exceptional willpower might survive their own passing and return from beyond the veil of undeath, and the truly foul might flourish as evil fiends on a malevolent plane. Unique among the events that fall under the rubric of “afterlife”, haunts are indicators of extreme misery; souls that meet such a miserable death that they force the same experiences on any who come near until a specific condition gives them their final release. The more traumatic their torment, the more powerful the haunt—and the more difficult the resolution.

Few things tortures a soul like deprivation. Social creatures react instinctively when wanting, and obsessively when their hardship is prolonged. Different fantasy races and cultures may react to destitution in unique ways—in many cases, civility and altruism give way to hunger and thirst. The unique combination of loss, hunger, and regret brought on by starvation typifies the conditions necessary to create a powerful and persistent haunt. This haunt is easily inserted into any adventure with an area (in this case, a collapsed mine tunnel) that was the site of death by starvation for several trapped creatures. With no rescue imminent, these original victims slowly starved and eventually fell on one another in an effort to survive.

XP 38,400
CE (a tunnel occupying 350 square feet)
Caster Level 14th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to hear growling bellies, loud chewing, and whimpering)
hp 63; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour

Effect Creatures in the affected area are immediately struck with the sensation of advanced hunger, so potent that they ignore any food or water they have on their person and immediately seek the flesh and blood of a living target. Targets attack the nearest living creature, favoring a bite attack over other melee weapons (1d2 for Medium-sized creatures, 1 for Small-sized creatures). On a critical hit, a creature effected by starving soldiers is compelled to spend a full round gorging itself on the raw meat and blood torn away from their victim. A lone creature in the area of effect injures and consumes itself (negated by a DC 23 Will save). Creatures who succeed this save are immune to starving soldiers for 24 hours.

Destruction Starving soldiers is permanently destroyed when any creature willingly starves to death within the haunt’s radius.




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[Submitted by 2013 RPG Superstar Steven T. Helt!]

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Paizo Publishing Launches Largest Open-Call for Amateur Game Designers

Paizo Publishing, LLC, publisher of the world’s best-selling Pathfinder Roleplaying Game announces the kick-off of the 2014 RPG Superstar game designer contest.

Going on its 7th year, RPG Superstar is Paizo’s annual competition to find the best and brightest unknown game designers, and give them the opportunity to have their work critiqued by industry veterans, game design rockstars, and the fan community.

Entries are reviewed and critiqued by industry veterans, game design rockstars, and the Pathfinder community. The RPG Superstar contest is hosted by Paizo Designer Sean K. Reynolds, This year’s panel includes:

Peter Adkison, Gaming Legend                 Rich Baker, Writer

Judy Bauer, Paizo Editor                             John Compton, Paizo Developer    

Liz Courts, Paizo writer                                Adam Daigle, Paizo Developer

Crystal Frasier, Writer & Artist                   Lee Hammock, Goblinworks Designer

James Jacobs, Paizo Creative Director     Rob Lazzaretti, Cartographer

Frank Mentzer, Gaming Legend                Russ Morrissey, ENWorld

Patrick Renie, Paizo Developer                 Amber Scott, Writer


The winner of the competition will have their adventure published by Paizo as a Pathfinder Module, a full-color, 64-page, high-quality softcover book, compatible with not only the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (RPG), but also with any game published under the Open Gaming License (OGL). Also, three runners-up will win assignments to write Pathfinder Society scenarios, offering all four finalists professional writing contracts with Paizo Publishing, and an opportunity to begin their game design careers by working on the world’s best-selling roleplaying game.


In last year’s contest, more than half a million votes were cast by Pathfinder fans, resulting in winner Steven Helt, whose Pathfinder Module, Tears at Bitter Manor, is due out January 2014.


Round One is now open for design submissions of magical “Wondrous Items”, and the contest concludes in March 2014. Winners will be announced on April 1, 2014. For more information or to submit an entry, visit


The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is the world’s best-selling tabletop RPG, in which players take on the role of brave adventurers fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. The Pathfinder RPG is currently translated into multiple languages, and the vibrant Pathfinder universe has been licensed for comic book series, graphic novels, miniatures, plush toys, apparel, and is being developed into a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game.