Tabletop Review: #30 Haunts for Objects (Pathfinder)

#30 Haunts For Objects
Publisher: Rite Publishing
Page Count: 15
Release Date: 09/08/2011
Cost: $2.99
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

#30 Haunts for Ghosts is the latest in Rite Publishing’s line of “haunt” supplements for the Pathfinder system. Not only does this fifteen page booklet contain thirty different haunts keyed to specific objects, but it gives a background on each one, along with a way of permanently destroying the haunt. It also includes a brief story about the major haunt in the collection, the Worm God, along with some basic rules for haunts and how they work.

The haunts in this collection are not necessarily ghosts. Have you ever read classic ghost stories where an object or location is cursed due to a collection of overwhelming negative energy or a great tragedy? Well, that’s what these items are. Because your characters will ghost into an encounter with a haunt thinking in terms of “ghost-busting” this really gives you, the GM, a chance to flex your player’s mental muscles instead of their physical ones. An entire adventure can be concentrated around a single haunt if used correctly, and your players will have to decipher the cause and the cure for what plagues the object in question. As a long time Ravenloft and Call of Cthulhu fan I love doing this to my players and even though these specific haunts uses the Pathfinder rules, I know I’ll adapt a few of them to my 2nd Edition AD&D Ravenloft campaign.

The thirty haunts contained in this collection range from a CR1 (CR = Challenge Rating) up to a CR11. There is one item (a mirror) that contains two options for what the haunt’s power is. In regards to the Worm God, there are actually three haunts for it, along with the full stats of this Level 10 Undead Druid. The Worm God is a very interesting antagonist and the three haunts that surround it are quite fascinating and will make for an excellent adventure should you choose to tailor one around them.

My three favorite haunts were: The Bloody Bed (a simple CR1 bed that causes a Bleed spell upon any injured person lying on it. I love the idea of the players thinking it’s a ghost when really it’s just a cursed bed), The Necromantic Necklace (a necklace that casts animate dead once a day on a nearby corpse whose only undead goal is to attack the wearer. Imagine the story possibilities!) and The Tyrant’s Joy Puzzle Palace (Slightly Hellbound: Hellraiser II-esque, this cursed puzzle box will make a wonderful adventure on its own as players try to find away to escape the labyrinth that resides within it.)

I have to admit, I was ecstatic with this short little collection. It is a wonderful example of how something minor and almost forgettable can be used as an adventure hook. Not every adventure needs to be a dungeon crawl or a hack and slash field day where the GM just throws waves of monsters at the players. An adventure is a interactive story after all, and these haunts are a harkening back to classic Gothic horror tales. Adventures centered around these types of objects are what made me fall in love with role-playing in the first place and we haven’t really seen hooks or creations like this since Sword and Sorcery ended their version of Ravenloft with the end of 3.5 D&D. The only real quibble I have with this is that there are some grammatical errors throughout the piece. The title too can be a bit confusing. I’m not sure why there is a number sign in front of 30 Haunts for Objects either. Still, these are very minor issues in a piece that has so many uses it’s not even funny. Hell, you could even run an entire campaign with this little booklet. Perhaps the characters need to collect and destroy a certain number of these objects for whatever reason. They could provide a major antagonist with a power boost or be adding the slow decay of the land they reside in. Hell, you could even convert them into Spelljammer fuel. Imagine a jammer run by these accursed objects.

I also want to talk about the sense of style in this piece. The artwork, which is mostly provided by Arthur Rackham is gorgeous. It reminds me a lot of both Restoration and Victorian era pieces, and a few even look like painted woodcuts. The art is absolutely perfect for the mood and feel this supplement tries to invoke. I also liked that the titles for each person that took part in creating this piece is a shout out to the movie Ghostbusters. Now that song will be stuck in my head all day…

#30 Haunts For Objects is something any GM should pick up, even if they don’t play Pathfinder. The items can be easily converted to ANY gaming system and each one will make for a creepy addition to an adventure, or even an adventure on their own. At only $2.99 it’s hard to think why someone wouldn’t pick this up. A good spooky adventure for a fantasy RPG is pretty hard to come by these days, but this fifteen page booklet should be all that is needed to ignite a GM’s imagination.

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