Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tangent: Haunts

A new haunt mechanic was designed for the original adventure to provide a trap-like set of challenges held in place by Vorel's spirit. As with many such challenges in 3.5e adventures, they do not adapt well to 4th Edition design philosophy. Not only do the haunts largely only encourage the participation of a single character (and, in some cases, no participation at all is needed), they usually only affect a single character. I have decided to simply do a straightforward conversion of the haunts to 4th Edition mechanics and assign them experience point values appropriate for traps of their level.

Pick the haunts' targets as explained in the original adventure (by assigning a keyword to each player). Don't worry too much about sticking faithfully to the targets of the haunts dictated by the adventure. The players will never know the difference if you switch the target for effect. If the target of the haunt, for example, is reluctant to even enter the room (something that can become commonplace as the party becomes more afraid of what might lurk in each room) feel free to change the target to someone else. It is more important that you are able to use the haunts to expose the manor's secrets and reveal bits of Aldern's fate, and most of the haunts aren't threatening enough that you should feel bad about singling out the PC brave enough to search the rooms.

Unless otherwise noted, run the rooms containing the haunts as written in the original adventure, substituting the converted stat block for the original once the haunt is triggered. By default, the dangers of the haunts cannot be discovered or defused before they are triggered.

To represent the pervasive taint of Vorel upon the entirety of the manor and its grounds, all haunted characters at the Misgivings (within the grounds, the manor or the caverns below) receive a -2 penalty to all saving throws. This increases the danger of many of the haunts (turning some from minor threats into potentially hazardous situations). I suggest informing the players of this when they first come into contact with one of the haunted aspects of the manor. This effect lasts until the characters leave the Misgivings or exorcise it of Vorel's taint.

Update: as of the release of Open Grave, mechanics for hauntings now exist in 4th Edition. I have updated all haunts to reflect these new guidelines. All characters can use perception to identify haunts right as they manifest. Only the target (or targets) of the particular haunt can use insight to detect the presence of supernatural evil manifesting. Credit to Darren for bringing the new rules to my attention.


Mysteria said...

This is just great, as always. :) I've been thinking the same thing about converting haunts to trap. I've also thought about adding an incentive for the PCs to actually explore all the rooms. My idea was that exorcising the haunted house would need a complex ritual whose components would be various things like the scarf or the dagger from the haunts. That way, the PCs actually would have a reason to go inside the rooms and suffer the hauntings, if they want to exorcise the haunted house (which, I hope, good PCs would want to do and would also count as another quest).

Scott said...

That actually sounds pretty awesome. I may do something similar as an extra quest with my own group. If I like it enough in actual play I'll include it in the conversion - this adventure needs some experience padding anyway.

tadkil said...

I think a combination of both may be ideal. The flavor of the individual haunts is excellent and is an outstanding narrative device.

The exorcism is just excellent.

Hmmm.... Failure should suck up healing surges, and "x" number of surges trigger encounters.

Mysteria said...

I'm glad you like the idea and I'm looking forward for what you do with the haunts (whether you include the exorcism or not). :)

Scott said...

I have altered this post to include an extra effect: all haunted characters within the Misgivings receive a -2 penalty on all saving throws.