View Full Version : 3.5/3.75 Horror session questions

2011-02-16, 09:47 AM
DM thread, so any nosy players of mine shouldn't be snooping.


Here's a little bit of background so ya'll have a frame of reference for my question:

Started a horror based plot-line last session (not a campaign, but the "adventure" they're on is horror based). The players were sent to Carceri to find out what was creating portals out, essentially staging a multi-plane jailbreak, and shut down the source. The location, a New England style home ripped from it's former location and planted on Carceri, was intended to have a rather Call of Cthulhu feel, with the general horror aspects being reminiscent of the movie/short story 1408 (Stephen King). There are five players:

1. Human (?) Incarnate (Paladin variant from Dragon 310). Both player and character are apparently immune to fear. Tends to interrupt the fluff, words will be had before the next session. (Also has hangups about using children as horror elements, which kinda destroys the "corruption of innocence" thing)

2. Owlbear Rogue. Tried to be played as apparently a "silly" character. Player does not seem to get the concept of a horror session (upon entering the house, he went upstairs alone, where no lights were on). Also tends to not think things through all the way (Tried to break off some gas lamps, but at the urging of the party (their argument was that a spark from snapping the lamps off would ignite the gas pipes, thus destroying the house and everyone inside)). Also rolls Hide and Move Silently almost EVERY TIME he moves.

3. Deathless Necromancer. A little less genre savvy as I'd like, but he gets into the horror aspect of it, which I appreciate. Character lost his daughter and (I think) wife, so we'll see where we can go with this.

4. Elf Ranger/Monk Gestalt. No complaints regarding dealing with the horror aspect of the sessions. I'm regretting allowing him to play a Gestalt however.

5. Fire Elf Summoner. Again, no complaints. She's dealing with the horror aspects as intended (cowering, whimpering, and her character is being scared as well =3 )

Had the last three players dreading making Listen checks by the end of the session.

Also, a condensed, shortened list of the scares thus far (for those interested and/or feel like being unnerved):

1. They find a perfectly preserved, cleaned, stocked and lit New England style home, complete with grassy field and green, living trees in the first layer of Carceri, which is all rugged mountains and bogs.

2. They find the lights on in the house, recently having been lit, but nobody is home.

3. They find a locked door on the second floor. The door "eats" the Owlbears lockpicking tools (like the key in the movie 1408). Upon looking inside, they see a white haired woman in a night gown with her back to the key hole. Upon looking a second time, all they see is what looks like red tissue paper (an albino woman died in that room).

4. The front door slams and locks on it's own. The windows are also bricked up, thus leaving no current way to escape.

5. They find two walled up doors on the second floor, one leading to a little girl's room, the other to an office.

6. The closet in the little girl's room had the corpses of the girl and an adult male. The girl had the key to the office, and upon grabbing it, the stuffed animals in her closet animated and attacked (They gradated from normals to nightmarish the further back they went. Also there were voices telling them to run out of the closet).

7. Upon killing the stuffed animals, the lights in the closet went out, the door slammed shut, and the sound of pitter-pattering feat could be heard. The lights came back on, and the shelves of stuffed animals were replaced with decaying corpses hanging from meat hooks. The "dead" girl was also gone.

8. Upon entering the office and reading the slowly maddening journals of the father that had lived in the house, a pitter-patter of feet out in the hallway could be heard, along with a giggle. The Paladin's water elemental was one-shotted, and the previously lit lights throughout the house (save for the office where everyone was) went out.

9. Upon leaving the office, they went downstairs, where they saw a light on in the dining room. The horribly grotesque "paintings" of snarling monsters that had hung in the dining room were empty, revealing that they had been windows instead of paintings.

10. A Carceri "citizen" was found tied up in one of the chairs. Upon getting closer, an anamorphic shadow....thing lashed out from the wall, grabbed the man, and dragged him into the inky blackness. After that, everyone could hear things moving in the walls, things that sounded like thousands of rats.


11. The journals they found at scare #8 mentioned having correspondence with a one "H. West".

Anyway, here's the question: When dealing with a session such as this, when would it be appropriate to try and kill off a character? I'm not suggesting something like "We've not had any drama yet, soooooooo.....YOU will die. *Points*". But more along the lines of them disregarding horror genre "rules" and/or DM suggestions, like the "Going up to the dark second floor alone" thing that player #2 pulled.

2011-02-16, 10:06 AM
Q. When is it appropriate to kill PCs in my horror campaign? A. Yes. You should do your best to "kill off" their characters constantly. Not having them actually die, but rather having them captured, teleported away, and/or isolated is a good thing if you don't want them actually dead. In fact, isolation in different parts of the house might be a good way to foster some horror.

2011-02-16, 10:14 AM
Q. When is it appropriate to kill PCs in my horror campaign? A. Yes. You should do your best to "kill off" their characters constantly. Not having them actually die, but rather having them captured, teleported away, and/or isolated is a good thing if you don't want them actually dead. In fact, isolation in different parts of the house might be a good way to foster some horror.

*Laughs* Well it's just a portion of the campaign. The rest is planar hopping and dispensing justice Texas Ranger style.

Wel things I think'll get kicked into high/er gear next session. The house is "waking up", so things are going to get worse. Hopefully things will get done instead of spending a half-hour trying to pick and/or break down a door that can only be opened with a key that they have to find.

Also, here's my idea for the Midboss, wouldn't mind some critique on it.

Evolved Shadow Nether Hound Wight, Rogue 4 (Advanced Hit Dice) CR 12
Always Chaotic Evil Medium Undead (Magical Beast)
Init +7

AC 21 FF 16 Touch 12
(+2 Dex, +6 natural)
DR: 5/+1
Resistances: Acid, Electric 10, Fire 5, Sonic 10
HD: 12
HP: 70
Fort +3 Ref +2 Will +8

Speed 55 ft. (9 squares), Climb 20
Base Atk +7 Grp +8
Attack: Slam +12 1d4+5, +4 Profane Necrotic Focus Sickle +16 1d6+9
Full Attack: Slam +12 1d4+5
Space 5 ft. (1 squares) Reach 5 ft. (1 squares)
Abilities Str 20(+5) Dex 15(+2) Con -- Int 10(0) Wis 12(+1) Cha 18(+4)
Stat Points Gained From Advancement: 2

Total Feats: 5
Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Run Track

Skill Points: 91
Skills: Appraise +3, Balance +5, Bluff +4, Climb +11, Craft (Trapmaking) +3, Decipher Script +3, Diplomacy +4, Disable Device +3, Disguise +4, Escape Artist +5, Forgery +3, Gather Information +4, Hide +5, Intimidate +4, Jump +3, Knowledge (Local) +3, Listen +8, Move Silently +11, Open Lock +5, Perform (Percussion instruments) +4, Search +9, Sense Motive +2, Sleight of Hand +5, Spot +8, Survival +6, Swim +3, Tumble +5, Use Magic Device +4, Use Rope +5

Create spawn(Su): Any humanoid slain by a wight becomes a wight in 1d4 rounds. Spawn are under the command of the wight that created them and remain enslaved until its death. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life.
Energy drain(Su): Fortitude save DC 22(+4 HD, +0 Racial, +4 Cha, +0 Feat)
Living creatures hit by a wight's slam attack gain one negative level. The DC is 14 for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is Charisma-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the wight gains 5 temporary hit points.
Attacks = Magic vs DR
Disease: Demon Fever
Darkvision(Ex): 60 ft.
Low-Light Vision
Cold Immunity
Shadow Blend: In any conditions other than full Daylight, a shadow creature can disappear into the shadows, giving it 9/10 concealment. Artificial illumination, even a Light or Continual Flame spell, does not negate this ability. A Daylight spell, however, will.
Undead traits(Ex):
Sneak Attack(Ex): +((HD+1)/2)d6 damage while sneak attacking. If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. The rogue's attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty. A rogue can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies-undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Evasion(Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless rogue does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Uncanny Dodge(Ex): Starting at 4th level, a rogue can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
Cause Fear 1/Day
Spell Like Ability: Haste 1/Day, Greater Invisibility 1/Day
Fast healing 3
Regeneration 2
Yowling: Each round as a Free Action, the Nether Hound may
Yowl. All creatures (except for Undead & Evil Outsiders) within 100’ are Shaken (WillNeg, DC is Charisma-based) for as long as they are within 100’ for the Nether Hound. On a successful save, the creature is immune to that Nether Hound’s Yowling for 24 hours. This is a Sonic, Mind-Affecting, Fear effect.

Advancement [5-8(Medium)]

2011-02-16, 03:14 PM
Another idea that I had (figured I'd run it by ya'll, get some feedback before I do anything) is the following.

Player #3 has in his character's backstory that he lost his daughter to some disease. At some point, probably in the lab under the house, they will stumble upon #3's daughter, just standing there. The interaction will, hopefully, be like this clip.

Youtube link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPBnRIl_40U)

The kicker, I think, will be that she will register as Evil to the Paladin. Like, blindingly evil. So hopefully I can get #3's character to break down into undead tears, then lash out at the Paladin when/if the Paladin tries to kill the "daughter".

Also, still looking for some critique on the previously mentioned midboss.

Edit: Also, the Carcosa Codex (Dungeon #134) as schmuck bait. Yea? Nay?