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All Rules in Horror Environments

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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.