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Weird Wednesday (Macabre Manses): Overzealous

overzealousSteven T. Helt here, and I’ve really enjoyed my first month on the AaWBlog! October is a special month for a lot of gamers, and the Four Horsemen are understandably passionate about the horror genre. I just wanted to thank my friends at Adventureaweek.com for a great year working together before I offer an unusual and scary haunt that plays off of a classic horror trope.

We’ve seen undead, constructs, and outsiders this Halloween season, but sometimes there are worse horrors than the monsters that challenge our PCs. The behavior of mere mortals shocks us in the real world, and in horror roleplaying it should be no different. Always remember that every story we tell together comes from human imagination—therefore any terror we imagine can be conveyed by human activity.

Take religious zealotry as an example. The combination of belief in the supernatural and desire to follow a higher calling may lead to a horrific act—made all the scarier by the certainty that the “monster” labors under deep conviction. To that end, I give you my third haunt of the month: the after-image of an innocent life lost when an exuberant exorcist failed to see that she was torturing an innocent man.

 

OVERZEALOUS     CR 7
XP 9,600
LN haunt (a 10-ft.-by-15-ft. room)
Caster Level 7th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to notice a female voice chanting and a male screaming)
hp 14; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect A tortured scream erupts alongside the sounds of fevered chanting. Any creature in the area is affected as by a forbiddance spell cast by a lawful neutral cleric (DC 19 Will save). Each time the haunt resets, each creature inside the area of effect counts as having just entered the area for the first time.
Destruction This haunt is destroyed if any outsider (including one with the native subtype) affected by the haunt confesses its sins relative to the lawful neutral alignment. If the outsider willingly changes its alignment to lawful neutral, the “exorcism” ceases and the haunt is destroyed forever.

 

[Submitted by Steven 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.

STARVING SOLDIERS CR 14
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!]