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Horror Environments

Source Horror Adventures pg. 152
While many Pathfinder campaigns tend to fixate on the monsters and NPCs that directly oppose the PCs, in a horror game, it’s important to give the environment, atmosphere, and ambience equal billing. An appropriate environment can lead to a much deeper sense of horror and a more memorable session, since creatures are something the PCs usually fight and defeat directly, while the environment is pervasive and unstoppable. Use the following horrific locations, hazards, domains, and nightmare dreamscapes to build the tension and increase the growing dread the players feel.


Source Horror Adventures pg. 152
The following locations have particular features that fit well in the context of a horror game, such as minor unusual magic or creepy special effects. Though they might not be directly threatening like the hazards in the next section (and thus don’t possess their own CR), they nonetheless add an ambience of horror and a sense of unease to the game, and sometimes make the journey through the surrounding area much less pleasant.

Divining Water: Certain special bodies of water grant insight into the spirits of those reflected in them. The reflections of creatures that appear in divining water show each creature as though it were viewed with true seeing, bypassing any illusions or polymorph effects and revealing the creature’s true form. However, either right away or after establishing their divinatory properties, the reflections sometimes shift to show images of horrific creatures (generally undead and evil outsiders) instead of creatures’ true forms, especially when the viewer is in a state of fear or mental turmoil.

Faceless Statue: These specially created stone statues are humanoid in appearance and elegantly carved, but they stand out because of their completely blank visages, which appear as though the sculptor simply forgot to give them faces. Whenever a character casts project image within range of such a statue, she can project her image onto the statue, instead of creating the spell’s normal effect. This causes the statue’s blank face to transform into that of the caster, and the statue mimics the caster’s actions, rather than a projected image doing so. The statue has a movement speed of 0 feet, but a caster projecting her image through the statue can direct it to make up to two slam attacks per round as a full-round action, using the caster’s base attack bonus. The slam attacks each deal 1d8 points of bludgeoning damage. A project image spell cast in this way has a duration measured in minutes, rather than rounds, and the caster isn’t required to maintain line of effect to the projected image at all times. A faceless statue can also be affected by enter image, causing the faceless surface to transform into an image of the caster’s face for the duration of the spell, instead of producing the spell’s normal effects. The statue’s hardness is based on the type of material from which it is made. Dealing an amount of damage to the statue equal to double the caster’s caster level ends either of the special spell effects channeled through the faceless statue.

Godless Void: Godless voids are pockets of altered reality that typically infest ruined temples, forsaken battlefields, and churches that fell from grace through the blasphemous deeds of corrupted worshipers. Even the divine might of deities is denied influence within these voids. The radius of a godless void is usually 1d6 × 100 feet. Within lesser godless voids, divine spells become more difficult to cast, and a divine caster must succeed at a concentration check (DC = 20 + the level of the spell) for a spell to function normally. If the caster fails, the spell doesn’t function, but the prepared spell or spell slot is still lost. In addition, the DC to resist channeled energy of all sorts is reduced by 4. Greater godless voids are more troublesome, as all divine magic melts away within them, so divine casters must operate totally cut off from their god, as if within an antimagic field.

Selective godless voids exist, though they are rarer still than their normal counterparts. Such blasphemous sites affect divine casters of alignments opposed to the void’s influence or who worship a deity or belong to a religion opposed to the void’s influence. For instance, evil lesser godless voids impede good-aligned casters’ access to spells and weaken their ability to channel positive energy as described above, while evil greater voids totally cut off spells and class abilities from good-aligned divine casters or casters who gain their powers from good-aligned deities. Good-aligned godless voids, or those aligned to law or chaos, are less common. Godless voids created by a great blasphemy against a particular deity might affect only that particular deity’s power.

Grave: Macabre reminders of mortality, a grave could be found among many more within a necropolis or alone on a windswept hill. Digging a grave (4-1/2 to 6-1/2 feet deep) in typical soil takes 1d4 hours, while digging a grave in frozen or otherwise harder-than-average soil takes 2d6 hours. Without standard digging equipment, these times are doubled. Climbing out of an open grave usually takes a move action and a successful DC 5 Climb check (plus another move action to stand if the creature started out lying down).

Careful examination of the surrounding area can reveal the presence of an unmarked grave or provide insight into how long ago a grave was dug. A successful DC 15 Perception check allows a character to notice an area of recently disturbed earth. For every week since the soil was disturbed, and for every day of rain since the soil was disturbed, the DC increases by 1. A successful DC 20 Profession (gardener, gravedigger, or other similar profession) or Survival check allows a character examining a patch of recently disturbed earth to determine roughly how long ago it was disturbed, as long as it was disturbed no more than 1 year ago.

If a character is buried alive, perhaps by the buried alive haunt, the rules suggestions give an idea of what that character needs to do claw her way out of an early grave.

Holy Ground: When first constructed, most goodaligned churches, temples, and holy sites are consecrated by the religion’s clergy in elaborate and expensive blessing ceremonies, culminating in the casting of a hallow spell. This effect permanently wards the site with a magic circle against evil effect, bolsters channeled positive energy while reducing the effects of channeled negative energy, and protects interred bodies from turning into undead abominations. The magic circle prevents intrusion by evil summoned creatures, and GMs may rule that other evil creatures refuse to trespass on holy ground. This hallow spell also carries the protection of an additional spell for the first year—most often aid, bless, death ward, dimensional anchor, or zone of truth. The temple’s attendants usually renew this spell in a special ceremony each year on the anniversary of the blessing ceremony, but the effect isn’t in place for churches that have fallen into disrepair or been abandoned by their faiths. However, the remaining lingering hallow effect in a ruined holy site might still provide sanctuary for those seeking respite from dark forces.

The lingering presence of evil in or near a holy site can slowly undermine and eventually dispel the hallow effect. This usually takes years or decades, and even a small amount of resistance by pure-hearted attendants can protect the site.

Evil denominations also perform rituals to increase the power of their unholy sites, but with the exact opposite effects, replacing hallow with unhallow, and providing similar protections against good creatures. Evil clergy are more likely to utilize detrimental additional effects like bane or cause fear to discourage trespassers on their unholy ground or even more powerful spells like dimensional anchor to ensure the trespassers will never leave.

Lost Halls: The corridors of some decrepit mansions can mislead those who seek to discover their hidden secrets. Within these lost halls, doors vanish, corridors impossibly twist and turn, staircases climb endlessly, and passages appear and disappear to confuse explorers. Creatures caught in lost halls find themselves temporarily trapped in an extradimensional labyrinth. For each round spent exploring the twisting turns, an affected creature can attempt a DC 20 Intelligence check as a full-round action to find its way back to the point where it originally became lost. During this time, others might hear it calling out, but can’t see or detect the lost creature. The phenomenon is short-lived, so if the creature finds itself hopelessly lost, 10 minutes later it finds its way back to the point where it first disappeared. This phenomenon can affect multiple creatures at once, in which case they can hear the disturbing echoes of other lost creatures trying to extract themselves from the twisting halls, but they can’t otherwise interact with or assist their allies in any way. Unlike most of the other locations in this section, a lost halls phenomenon is normally harmless, if extremely unsettling, but when populated with creatures that target the separated characters, lost halls can substantially alter the threat of encounters.

Horror Hazards

Source Horror Adventures pg. 154
The following hazards help build an atmosphere of horror and dread when used separately, but can also be combined with creatures to create truly frightening and memorable encounters (for instance, consider a battle with ogres within an animating fog, such that each ogre that dies rises again as a zombie).

Animating Fog (CR 6): Arising from polluted cemeteries and other recesses of stagnated evil, these areas of heavy, corpse-gray fog reek of rot, and seem to have a strange and malevolent sentience. These fog banks act as normal fog, but usually have a radius of 1d4 × 50 feet and creep along with the wind at a rate of 10 feet per round. When the fog comes into contact with a mostly intact corpse, that corpse is immediately animated as a zombie and attacks nearby living creatures, as if under the effect of animate dead. This animation is temporary, ending 1d4 rounds after the zombie leaves the fog. Corpse fogs can animate up to 30 Hit Dice of corpses in this manner at any one time, and they have no limit on the total number of Hit Dice of zombies they can animate over time.

Some particularly foul and virulent variations of this fog (CR 7 instead of CR 6) produce plague zombies instead of normal zombies. Creatures slain by the plague zombies’ zombie rot who rise as zombies don’t count against the fog’s limit on the number of Hit Dice it can animate, and they remain zombies after the mist passes. Diseased animating fog also exposes every living creature within the fog bank to zombie rot each round as an inhaled disease (Fortitude DC 15 negates).

Apocalypse Fog (CR 12): An apocalypse fog is an augmented and highly dangerous form of animating fog often called into being by some foul deity. Its radius is 20 times wider than that of an animating fog and has the same ability to animate the mostly intact corpses within itself, but the apocalypse fog can move 10 feet in a direction of its own malign choice, rather than being subject to the whims of the wind. The dread energies that birth the mists bolster the undead within, granting the zombies the benefit of an aligned desecrate spell: a +2 profane bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws, and +2 hit points per Hit Die. Apocalypse fog can animate up to 100 Hit Dice worth of corpses at any one time.

Bat Colony (CR 2): Bats often congregate in large colonies in underground areas. Though bats are mostly harmless and bat colonies generally have little interest in adventurers or humans in general, if they are disturbed, they can prove dangerous to inexperienced adventurers. Any Small or larger creature moving within 30 feet of a bat colony must succeed at a DC 15 Stealth check each round or use wild empathy or a similar ability to keep the bats calm, or else there is a 50% chance the bat colony becomes disturbed. Additionally, each round the bat colony is exposed to normal or brighter light conditions or loud sudden noises, there is a 30% chance the bat colony becomes disturbed.

If the bat colony is disturbed, the bats begin to fly about, shrieking and milling in an oversized swarm. When disturbed, the colony takes up a 20-foot-radius area. A creature that ends its turn in the area takes 1d6 points of damage, and is affected by the distraction and wounding special abilities of a bat swarm. The colony remains disturbed for 1d4+1 rounds (or until the swarm is dispersed by damage), after which the bats either return to their previous position or flee the area, depending on whether they feel a threat is still present.

Blood Moon (CR 3): Two situations give rise to the infamous occurrences known as blood moons: astronomical alignments that result in a calendar month having a second full moon, and atmospheric phenomena when pollution and toxins hang heavy in the air, distorting the rising moon and giving it a blood-red cast and a seemingly larger size. Both types of occurrences are considered bad omens, and are revered as unholy events by worshipers of deities of filth and decay. While the light of a blood moon shines, the DC to resist negative channeled energy increases by 2, and creatures exposed to its light take a –2 penalty on saving throws against diseases, curses, corruptions, and madnesses. Certain foul occult rituals related to such magic must be performed on blood moons. Blood moons caused by astronomical alignments last as long as the moon is risen, while blood moons that result from atmospheric distortions last 1d4 hours, fading as the moon rises higher in the night sky and casts off its ruddy sheen.

Bottomless Pit (CR 9): A bottomless pit is a yawning chasm that appears to be a perfectly natural fissure in the earth, other than the fact that it appears too deep to see the bottom. In actuality, bottomless pits are entrances to extraplanar spaces filled with nothing but endless empty void. A creature that falls into such a pit (whether it is pushed, runs afoul of a trap that conceals the bottomless pit, willingly dives into it, or enters the pit in some other fashion) falls endlessly in inky darkness at a rate of 500 feet per round. Other than its depth, the extraplanar space’s dimensions match those of the pit’s entrance, and the falling creature can attempt to catch itself on the wall, using the Climb skill (DC = 20 + the wall’s Climb DC, as normal for catching yourself when falling), and can attempt to climb out of the pit from there. The wall’s climb DC typically matches the type of terrain the opening was in, so a rocky chasm has a Climb DC of 15, for example. The creature can attempt to catch itself once per round. Because the creature falls endlessly, it can rest and even prepare spells while falling (although it must be careful not to drop any possessions, since it will likely fall at a different speed than the possessions do, causing it to lose them forever). If a campaign uses the sanity system, for each hour a creature falls in the bottomless pit, it must succeed at a DC 20 Will save or take 1d4 points of sanity damage.

Captivating Reflection (CR 3): Some narcissistic people need little encouragement to stop and admire their visage in the surface of the water, but occasionally this behavior comes from the bizarre supernatural influence of the water itself. A creature that sees its reflection in the surface of this captivating water must succeed at a DC 15 Will saving throw or become fascinated by the reflection for 1 minute, after which it can attempt a new saving throw to end the effect and look away. A creature that fails the second saving throw is fascinated for another minute, kneeling by the surface of the water and staring at its reflection, its nose nearly touching the surface. At the end of this time, the creature can attempt a third saving throw to end the effect. If the creature fails this third and final saving throw, it is compelled to plunge its head under the water, at which point the fascination suddenly ends, but the creature is paralyzed for 1 minute, unable to hold its breath because of paralysis and therefore immediately forced to attempt Constitution checks to avoid drowning.

The creature’s allies can pull its head from the water, but meet with surprising resistance, and must succeed at a DC 20 Strength check to do so, regardless of the paralyzed creature’s own Strength score. If the creature avoids drowning by the end of the third minute, it can thereafter act normally, and is immune to the effects of this particular captivating reflection hazard for 24 hours.

Corpsefruit Tree (CR 5): This gnarled, twisted tree grows only from ground containing the corpse of an intelligent creature (a creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher), providing an insidious tether that binds that creature’s spirit to the world of the living and twists it toward malevolent spite. The tree is shrouded by a veil of illusion, which causes intelligent creatures that see the tree to believe it bears a heavy bounty of ripe, succulent fruits, and such creatures are compelled to eat the tree’s fruit unless they succeed at a DC 15 Will save. In fact, the tree’s fruits are brown, shriveled, and rotten, and any creature that succeeds at the Will save can plainly see this.

Creatures that consume the fruit also consume a tiny portion of the spirit of the creature whose corpse nourished the tree, forging a spiritual connection between the deceased and the unfortunate victim. The next time the creature rests, it is affected as though by the nightmare spell (DC 17). The tree is treated as having a body part of the creature’s, and the tree uses the appropriate modifier based on the knowledge the spirit that nourished the tree has of the creature—typically none. The victim continues to be affected by nightmare for 3 days, or until it succeeds at a saving throw to resist the spell. Further, if the spirit of the creature whose corpse nourished the tree has become an incorporeal undead of any kind, the creature that consumed the fruit takes a –2 penalty on saving throws to resist the spells and spell-like abilities of that undead creature.

Exploding Window (CR 1): Whether from supernatural influence or simply from more mundane physical forces, windows can sometimes explode in a rain of glass shards. When this occurs, for each 5-foot square containing an exploding window, the shattered glass blasts out in a 15- foot cone that deals 1d6 points of slashing damage to each creature in the area (Reflex DC 12 negates). A creature caught in more than one of these cones (either from multiple simultaneous exploding windows or one large exploding window) takes a cumulative –1 penalty on its saving throw for each cone beyond the first, but attempts only a single saving throw and takes only 1d6 points of damage if it fails, regardless of the number of cones whose areas overlap on the creature’s space. Additionally, the glass shards remain on the ground, functioning as caltrops until they are cleared away.

Field of Bone (CR 6): This supernatural hazard usually plagues those who trespass on old battlefields still littered with the bones of soldiers who have never been laid to proper rest. These 30-foot-radius patches of strewn bones are considered difficult terrain, and they spring to a foul mockery of life 1 round after a living creature enters the area, causing 1d6 skeletons to animate and attack, as if subject to an animate dead spell. A field of bone can animate up to 24 skeletons in this manner from any single instance of trespassing (regardless of how many living creatures trespass into the area at once), at a rate of 1d6 skeletons per round. The skeletons continue to animate until all are destroyed, all living creatures leave the area, or the field of bone reaches its animation limit, whichever of these conditions comes first.

Gnarled Tree (CR 5): Some trees become poisoned and malignant, tainted by the corrupt land around them, and spring to a macabre semblance of animation to attack those who trespass on their dark realms. Gnarled trees animate in the presence of living creatures, and attack indiscriminately for as long as creatures are within range. The victims’ spilled blood seeping into the ground further feeds the trees’ corruption. Gnarled trees appear as twisted, or even dead, trees of great age and a variety of species, and they blend in with the surrounding forests. Spotting one as an anomalous growth requires a successful DC 17 Perception check (the DC may be higher, depending on the prevalence and condition of local trees). Though a gnarled tree is stationary and can’t move from its rooted spot, it attacks as if it were a treant. The gnarled tree doesn’t gain the treant’s animation and rock-throwing abilities, but does have the treant’s vulnerability to fire. When all living creatures move more than 30 feet away from the gnarled tree, it immediately returns to its normal, nonanimated state, until a potential target appears within range once more and provokes the corrupted tree’s ire again.

Grasping Graves (CR 4): Treading on the burial sites of the unquiet dead can be treacherous, as the buried dead seek to drag the living down into their restless graves. These patches of shallow graves are often found near sites of mass burials, such as those that follow plagues or famines, and are typically 60 feet across. Once a creature enters the area, rotting, grasping hands rip from the earth, turning the entire patch into difficult terrain and targeting each creature inside with a grapple combat maneuver check each round at the end of that creature’s turn. The hands don’t provoke attacks of opportunity, and have a CMB of +12 (with a base attack bonus of +8 and a +4 bonus due to their Strength). This check is attempted each round for every creature in the hazardous area.

If the hands successfully grapple a creature, that creature takes 1d6+4 points of bludgeoning damage, gains the grappled condition, and is unable to move without breaking the grapple first. The grasping claws receive a +5 bonus on grapple checks against creatures they are already grappling, but can’t move or pin foes. Each round the grasping claws succeed at a grapple check, they deal 1d6+4 additional points of damage. The skeletal hands have a CMD of 22, hardness 5, and 5 hit points each. The hands take full damage from channeled positive energy (no save). However, destroying a particular set of hands doesn’t harm the overall hazard, which generates new skeletal hands to grasp all creatures freed in this way on the following round. The only way to evade the hazard is to move out of the affected area, after which the unquiet spirits that animate the grasping graves become dormant once again.

Grasping Undergrowth (CR 2): In many forests, undergrowth is thick and tangled enough that it seems to be attempting to hinder travelers, but in some places, whether due to a malevolent spirit or the ire of nature itself, it actually is. Whenever a creature moves through an area of grasping undergrowth, the grasping undergrowth attempts a trip combat maneuver check (with a CMB of +5) against that creature. Tripped creatures fall prone in the first square of grasping undergrowth that they entered that round, and lose the rest of their movement. Creatures that move through the grasping undergrowth at half their speed (after factoring in any reduced movement speed for being in a forest) gain a +4 bonus to their CMD against trip combat maneuver checks from the grasping undergrowth, and creatures that move through the grasping undergrowth at a quarter of their speed gain a +8 bonus.

If a creature begins its turn prone in a square of grasping undergrowth, the grasping undergrowth attempts a grapple combat maneuver check against it, dealing 1d6 points of damage on a successful check and preventing the creature from moving from the spot until it breaks free of the grapple. The undergrowth can’t move or pin the grappled creature on subsequent rounds, and has a CMD of 17. For their own cryptic reasons, some patches of grasping undergrowth grant safe passage to characters of certain alignments or races.

Insidious Domicile (CR 4): The dwellings of some powerful evil creatures impose pervasive effects on those who disturb the restless hate that dwells within. These areas are typically single structures—a castle, a tower, or a home—infested with spite and malice. Creatures that enter the structure must succeed at a DC 16 Will save or be infected with overwhelming hate toward another creature, as if under the effects of malicious spite. For each day spent within the domicile, the target takes 2 points of Wisdom damage if it doesn’t act to subtly and indirectly slander, abuse, blame, extort, or cause mortal violence against the target of its spite. The malicious spite effect ends if the creature leaves the location, but resumes if the creature returns. Affected creatures get a saving throw every 24 hours to negate the effect. If the effect ends, the target remembers the spiteful behavior, but not the motivation for it.

If a campaign uses the sanity system, the target takes 1d6 points of sanity damage instead of taking Wisdom damage.

Misleading Echoes (CR 2): Some places create supernatural echoes that seem to come from random directions, or even all directions at once. An area suffused with misleading echoes imposes a –4 penalty on hearingbased Perception checks, and a listener must succeed at a DC 15 Wisdom check whenever she detects a noise, or else she believes the noise came from a random direction instead of its actual direction. Further, the misleading echoes can replicate the effects of ghost sound (DC 11) once per minute. Any creature that fails a Wisdom check or Will save to resist the effects of the misleading echoes takes a –2 penalty on saving throws to resist fear effects for as long as it remains in the area of the misleading echoes, and for 1 minute thereafter.

Misleading Path (CR 3): When the surrounding trees begin to move and change the paths when creatures aren’t looking, and the towering branches above even block out the sun, it can be difficult indeed to stay on track. In other environments, shifting dunes or underground tunnels can have the same effect. The DC for Survival checks to avoid becoming lost within an area of misleading paths increases by 2d6. Characters that become lost either travel in random directions, as normal, or are led by a strange intelligence toward a specific location, at the GM’s discretion. Because travelers appear to be on a path as they travel, the DC of the Survival check to identify that they are lost increases to 25.

Pervasive Gloom (CR 4): Some locations ooze dread and foreboding, whether from old evils left to stagnate or the presence of some lingering psychic residue from years of torture or oppression. The locations can be single rooms, entire structures, old cemeteries, or even decaying forest groves. Trespassing creatures find the gloom nibbles away at their mental defenses, and take a –2 penalty on saves against fear effects, effects with the emotion descriptor, the effects of haunts, the progression of corruptions, madnesses, and sanity damage.

Plague of Flies (CR 2): Often harbingers of famine and decay, these swarms of flies spread disease and pestilence wherever their buzzing wings carry them. These insects typically form a cloud 20 feet across, made of tens of thousands of flies. This cloud moves at up to 10 feet per round, and obscures all sight (including darkvision) beyond 5 feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment (20% miss chance), and creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker can’t use sight to locate the target). Moderate or stronger winds can temporarily disperse the cloud, as per obscuring mist, but the flies reform 1d4+1 rounds later to continue their pursuit of carrion. Spells such as fireball, flame strike, and wall of fire, as well as similar area spells, destroy the cloud of flies if they deal at least 10 points of damage. Creatures that spend at least 1 round in the cloud must succeed at a DC 13 Fortitude save or contract the shakes. Some plagues of flies carry other virulent diseases instead, which might affect the CR of the hazard if the DC is significantly higher or lower.

Rain of Gore (CR 3): This unusual and unsettling phenomenon results in the corpses of small animals (ranging from Diminutive to Small) falling from the sky in a localized area. A rain of gore generally covers a 500-foot-radius area, and lasts for 2d4 × 10 minutes. During this time, each round that a character remains in the open, it takes 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage unless it succeeds at a DC 13 Reflex save. In the wake of a rain of gore, scores of animal corpses are left strewn about in the area. Sometimes, a rain of gore will deposit animal corpses that are infected with filth fever or another disease, in which case each time characters take damage from the rain of gore, they risk infection. This version of the hazard has a CR of 4 or higher.

Sanguinary Cloud (CR 6): Often found floating over campsites of unfortunate travelers drained of all bodily fluids, these blood-red fog banks can be mistaken for colossal vampiric mists. A sanguinary cloud typically settles over a 60-foot-radius area, obscuring all sight beyond 5 feet, including darkvision, granting concealment (20% miss chance) to all creatures 5 feet away or farther. Creatures caught within a bank of this deadly fog must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude save each round or take 1d3 points of Constitution damage as their bodily fluids are forcibly extracted from their pores and mucous membranes and drawn into the crimson mist. A severe or greater wind disperses a sanguinary cloud, leaving behind a thin sheen of bloody bile.

Sour Ground (CR varies): These corrupted holy sites usually feature long-toppled standing stones and spiraling rock paths carefully arranged by a forgotten culture to invoke powerful divine magic. On these grounds, divine casters restored life to those who died before their time and buried those whose time indeed was up. However, time, overuse, and trespassers caused the ground’s life-giving properties to sour, corrupting the corpses of those whose loved ones are foolhardy enough to lay them to rest within the necropolis’s boundaries. Any mostly intact corpse of a creature buried within these ancient cemeteries animates 24 hours later as a juju zombie and seeks its revenge on those who condemned its corpse to this vile existence. These terrible creatures still retain a semblance of their former personalities and are often barely distinguishable from the living with the exception of cold flesh, slightly sunken features, distracted behavior, and an increasingly foul smell. They lure in mourning loved ones with comforting embraces before engaging in a murderous rampage, perhaps burying the resulting corpses in the same sour ground to increase their numbers and extract more revenge on the living. The CR and the XP reward of sour ground are based on the number of juju zombies that arise.

Suicide Copse (CR 4): Certain forests are known for attracting unusual numbers of suicides. The exact cause can vary, and may be the result of mind-altering pollen, strange psychic phenomena, or the work of mournful or malevolent spirits. Whatever the cause, suicide copses don’t so much attract suicidal creatures as inspire suicide in those nearby. Each hour a creature spends within the suicide copse, it must succeed at a DC 16 Will save or be affected by the spell terrible remorse (CL 10). A creature that succeeds at this saving throw three consecutive times is immune to this effect for 24 hours. At the GM’s discretion, some creatures affected by the suicide copse might be compelled to hang themselves, drown themselves, or kill themselves by other means, rather than being affected by terrible remorse, but such compulsions still last only 1 minute. Though called a copse, this effect can potentially cover entire forests spanning hundreds of square miles.

Watchful Doll (CR 1): These porcelain dolls resemble young children, and stare forward with blank, glassy expressions on their stylized yet eerily lifelike faces. Whenever a creature moves within 30 feet of a watchful doll, the doll’s head rotates to face the creature, and emits a childlike laugh that echoes as if across a great distance, and can be clearly heard up to 60 feet away. Creatures within 30 feet that hear the laughter must succeed at a Will save (DC 13) or be shaken for 1 minute. Creatures with 4 or fewer Hit Dice that fail their saves are instead frightened. Once triggered, the doll doesn’t laugh again for 1 minute, but its head continues to move so its gaze follows the creature that triggered it. The fear from the laughter is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Well of Evil (CR 5): These places are accursed morasses of depravity, nexuses of lingering hate and festering evil that bode ill for the pure-hearted who trespass upon them. A well of evil is typically a single room, cave, or structure, though it can expand to fill an area with a radius of up to 2d4 × 10 feet. Good-aligned creatures can feel the powerful evil presence tainting a well of evil, and such creatures that approach within 30 feet must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or become sickened and refuse to enter the location for 1 hour. A successful Will save negates these unfortunate effects, but if the creature actually enters the location, it becomes sickened with no save. Within a well of evil, the DC to resist negative channeled energy increases by 2, and good-aligned creatures take a –2 penalty on saving throws against curses, corruptions, madnesses, spells with the evil descriptor, and the effects of haunts. Haunts that lurk within wells of evil also gain a +4 bonus on their Initiative checks and to Perception check DCs to notice them.

Witch Light (CR 1): Often confused with will-o’- wisps, these shimmering lights also tend to lead unwary passersby to their dooms. Witch lights appear as flickering lights resembling lantern or torch flames, but can be seen only with a successful DC 10 Perception check. A result of 30 or higher on the Perception check allows the viewer to identify the witch light as a mirage. The witch light seems to move with the viewer, retreating if the creature moves toward it and following if it moves away. Some witch lights have a mind of their own, or are controlled by malevolent entities, and lead viewers toward specific places—often pits or other hazards, but sometimes treasures or long-buried secrets. Creatures actively following a witch light take a –4 penalty on Perception checks and a –4 penalty on Reflex saves to resist the effects of traps and hazards.

Domains of Evil

Source Horror Adventures pg. 159
Some powerful creatures are so corrupted that their malignancy creeps into the land around them, establishing dangerous domains of evil over which they rule. And though some vile lords find themselves trapped within these cursed realms, they also become capable of exerting tremendous influence over the atmosphere and composition of their domains, such that their lands grow to reflect their dark moods and deeds. These dark rulers are described in the dread lord template.

Domains of evil are dark pockets of supernatural activity embedded in a plane (often the Material Plane) like boils on pockmarked flesh. Most domains are hostile and uninviting at best, full of twisted forests, rough and intractable terrain, and putrid rivers that reek of rot and pollution. Wildlife could be similarly tainted, in which case even the occasional hare or ground squirrel is bony, cancerous, and infested with vermin. Packs of mangy coyotes, pustule-plagued wolves, and murders of molting crows might constantly harass travelers, nipping at their heels, ripping the flanks of their mounts, or snatching at the fingers of careless campers.

Supernatural creatures might also plague the unwary, as moaning zombies wander wind-blown mountain passes and spectral dead seek to drain the life from the living at every turn. Packs of ghouls roam the lowlands, devouring entire villages, and the gnawed skeletons they leave in their wake animate and attack travelers. Everywhere lurks the foreboding presence of some foul master, who has an uncanny knack for knowing the whereabouts of trespassers and is capable of bending the lands to his will to make them most unwelcome.

Such domains are not always devoid of humanoid populations—they may harbor villages of fearful and superstitious locals that usually serve as chattel and livestock for the domain’s lord. These populations tend to be incredibly insular and suspicious of outsiders and intrusions on their lifestyles, as trespassers into the realm—particularly adventurers—have ways of disrupting the locals’ tentative impasse with their lord.

Nightmare Dreamscapes

Source Horror Adventures pg. 162
The following section provides guidelines for creating nightmare dreamscapes: realms of fear and horror within the Dimension of Dreams. A nightmare typically has a goal, which the dreamer can complete within the nightmare dreamscape to win freedom from it, and features, which represent the ways in which the dreamer’s fears manifest. A nightmare’s goal and features might come entirely from the dreamer’s own mind or be chosen by the creator of a supernatural effect.