Variant Haunts

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Haunts that are not tied to undeath are not vulnerable to positive energy, and cannot be detected with spells such as detect undead or evaded with spells such as hide from undead.

They have their own sets of vulnerabilities and defenses.

Horror Atmosphere
Haunting Haunt Haunt Templates
Variant Haunts New Haunts Exorcism

Dimensional Instability Haunts

Dimensional instabilities are areas where the boundary between the Material Plane and another plane is thin and rifts between the planes frequently open. They take damage from effects that oppose the connected plane’s fundamental nature. For example, a dimensional instability associated with the chaotic evil Abyss takes damage from good or lawful spells or effects, and an instability tied to the Elemental Planes of Fire takes damage from water and cold effects.

Instabilities can even provide benefits to those who know how to cultivate them.

The sample haunt appeared when an ancient wizard bound 666 demons. Over time, the boundary between the Abyss and his summoning chamber grew thin, and the plane’s influence fractured the binding circle he carved into the floor, creating tiny rifts that flicker into existence at irregular intervals.

In addition to good and lawful effects, the haunt is vulnerable to other damage associated with good or law at the GM’s discretion, such as the extra damage from a holy weapon.

Example: Spawn of The Abyss CR 11

XP 12,800
CE persistent vaporous variant haunt (40-ft. radius); Aura strong conjuration
Caster Level 13th; Notice Perception or Knowledge (arcana) DC 25 (to notice a faint shimmering or recognize the significance of the fractured circle)
hp 49; Weakness good and lawful effects (immune to positive energy); Trigger proximity; Reset 1d20 days


When a mortal creature enters the area, it’s presence provokes curiosity from the other side. The instability begins spewing a demon each round, and continues doing so for 1 minute. Use the following chart to determine what demon appears. These demons are not summoned.

d4 Demon
1 Dretch (CR 2)
2 Babau (CR 6)
3 Succubus (CR 7)
4 Nabasu (CR 8)

Benefit A character can channel the instability’s power by spending 1 minute in the area while performing a ritual to focus its energy, requiring a DC 30 Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (planes) check. If she succeeds, she gains the fiendish template for 24 hours, and her alignment shifts one step closer to chaotic evil. If she fails, she is pulled into the Abyss.


The instability can only be permanently closed with a miracle or wish spell. A hallow spell tied to a dimensional anchor can temporarily prevent the instability’s effects.

Maddening Influence Haunts

These haunts are tied to the reality-warping influence of beings beyond comprehension. The only way to hold these haunts at bay is to draw upon dark knowledge, but such knowledge comes at a cost. As a full-round action, any character within the haunt’s area can attempt an appropriate Knowledge check to perform a short rite, utter an arcane word, or otherwise quell the maddening influence (DC = 15 + the haunt’s CR). If successful, the haunt takes 5 points of damage plus additional damage equal to the amount the character exceeded the DC.

Example: The Whispers From Beyond CR 10

The haunt detailed below is an example of a maddening influence formed at the site of a mass ritual suicide. The murmurs worm their way into the minds of all who hear them and leave lasting wounds.

XP 9,600
CE free-roaming persistent variant haunt (30-ft. radius)
Caster Level 9th; Notice Perception DC 25 (to hear whispers emerging from inside the skulls of all nearby creatures)
hp 45; Weakness harmed by Knowledge (arcana, planes, or religion) DC 25 (immune to positive energy); Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day


The whispers drift toward sentient beings, particularly those whose minds they have touched before. Each creature in the area must succeed at a DC 16 Will save or take 1d8 points of Wisdom damage, or 1 Wisdom damage on a successful save (or if you are using the sanity system, 1d6 points of sanity damage on a successful save or 2d8 points on a failed save). The DC increases by 1 for each round a creature spends within the haunt’s area (these rounds need not be consecutive, though a given creature’s DC resets to 16 after 24 hours and whenever the haunt is dispersed). Each time a creature damages this haunt, it must succeed at a Will save with a DC equal to its Knowledge check result or take 1d4 Wisdom drain (or, if you are using the sanity system, 1d8 points of sanity damage on a successful save or 2d10 points on a failed save).


The haunt is destroyed if the corpses of all the cultists who created it are cremated and buried on consecrated ground.

Magical Scars Haunts

Each spell, no matter how weak, leaves its signature on the world for a short time, which spellcasters can perceive as a lingering magical aura. When dozens of powerful spells are hurled against each other over a small area, reality itself can form scars that affect all who come near them.

Magical scars have auras and count as ongoing spell effects for the purposes of detect magic and similar spells. A successful Spellcraft check to identify a scar reveals its effect and its weakness, and, if it succeeds by 10 or more, the scar’s benefit. A creature can’t attempt to activate a benefit it hasn’t identified.

Spells that automatically reveal the nature of magical effects, such as greater arcane sight, automatically reveal all of these properties. The destruction conditions for magical scars are more obscure, and require research or exploration to uncover.

Example: Arcane Storm CR 6

The arcane storm haunt arose when a pair of evokers dueled to the death centuries ago. An echo of the duel still rages at the site of their battle, and the charred ground tells the bitter tale.

XP 2,400
N persistent variant haunt (30-ft. radius); Aura faint evocation
Caster Level 5th; Notice Perception or Spellcraft DC 20 (to hear the sound of clashing energy or deduce the effect from the charred ground)
hp 27; Weakness energy damage (immune to positive energy); Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day


Each round, the arcane storm fires a bolt of energy to hit as many creatures as possible in its area (Reflex DC 15 halves).

This functions as per lightning bolt, except the energy type cycles between acid, cold, electricity, and fire. The storm is immune to the most recent type of energy damage it has dealt.

Benefit A character who fails the save against one of the arcane storm’s bolts and does not reduce the damage in any way (such as energy resistance) can attempt a DC 16 Will save to harness a fraction of the storm’s power. A character who harnesses the storm’s power gains 5 charges. He can spend 1 charge as a free action to add 1d6 points of damage of the same energy type as that of the channeled bolt to either an evocation spell that deals damage matching any of the storm’s four energy types or to a natural attack or unarmed strike. A creature can gain charges from the arcane storm only once.


The arcane storm is destroyed if a character successfully counterspells four of its bolts in a row.

Psychic Haunts

Sometimes, the collective emotional energy of significant or traumatic events creates a lasting psychic impression, even in places not associated with death. These psychic haunts are mind-affecting emotion effects. A character who uses analyze aura or the read aura skill unlock on a psychic haunt’s area automatically detects the haunt and receives cryptic clues about how to put it to rest.

Every psychic haunt focuses on a specific emotion, and when targeted by or within the area of effect of an emotion spell or effect that is not connected to the associated emotion, they take damage equal to three times the effect’s spell level (each spell deals damage to the haunt once, regardless of its duration). Calm emotions damages psychic haunts regardless of their associated emotion, and an emotion effect without a spell level deals an amount of damage equal to the HD of the creature who created the effect. A character can calm a psychic haunt with a Diplomacy check (DC = 15 + the haunt’s CR). If successful, the haunt takes 5 points of damage plus additional damage equal to the amount the character exceeded the DC.

Example: Psychic Haunt (Anger) CR 10

The psychic echo below lies in the heart of an abandoned village. A group of raiders drove the villagers from their home by the sword, but an echo of the villagers’ fury persists, stoking hatred against all members of the raiders’ ethnic group.

XP 9,600
N persistent variant haunt (30-ft. radius)
Caster Level 11th; Notice Sense Motive DC 25 (to sense an internal spark of anger)
hp 45; Weakness emotion effects and calm emotions (immune to positive energy); Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day


As per foster hatred, except any creature that fails a DC 19 Will save becomes hostile toward members of the raiders’ ethnic group.


To destroy the haunt, two people, one each of the villagers’ and raiders’ ethnicity must reveal their true love for one another (typically by marrying) within the haunt’s area.