Haunts

Haunts
The distinction between a trap and an undead creature
blurs when you introduce a haunt—a hazardous region
created by unquiet spirits that
react violently to the presence
of the living. The exact
conditions that cause a haunt
to manifest vary from case
to case—but haunts always
arise from a source of
terrific mental or physical
anguish endured by living,
tormented creatures. A
single, source of suffering
can create multiple haunts,
or multiple sources could
consolidate into a single
haunt. The relative power
of the source has little
bearing on the strength
of the resulting haunt—it’s
the magnitude of the suffering
or despair that created the haunt
that decides its power. Often, undead inhabit regions
infested with haunts—it’s even possible for a person who
dies to rise as a ghost (or other undead) and trigger the
creation of numerous haunts. A haunt infuses a specific
area, and often multiple haunted areas exist within a
single structure. The classic haunted house isn’t a single
haunt, but usually a dozen or more haunted areas spread
throughout the structure.
Haunt Rules
Although haunts function like traps, they are difficult to
detect since they cannot be easily observed until the round
in which they manifest. Detect undead or detect alignment
spells of the appropriate type allow an observer a chance
to notice a haunt even before it manifests (allowing that
character the appropriate check to notice the haunt, but at
a –4 penalty).
A haunt can infuse a maximum area with a 5-foot radius
per point of CR possessed by the haunt, but the actual area
is usually limited by the size of the room in which the
haunt is located.
When a haunt is triggered, its effects manifest at initiative
rank 10 in a surprise round. All characters in the haunt’s
proximity can attempt to notice the haunt at the start of
this surprise round by making a notice check). All haunts
detect life sources and trigger as a result of the approach
of or contact with living creatures, but some haunts can be
tricked by effects like hide from undead or invisibility.
On the surprise round in which a haunt manifests,
positive energy applied to the haunt (via channeled
energy, cure spells, and the like) can damage the haunt’s
hit points (a haunt never gains a Will save to lessen the
damage done by such effects, and attacks that require
a successful attack roll to work must
strike AC 10 in order to affect
the haunt and not merely
the physical structure it
inhabits). Unless the haunt
has an unusual weakness,
no other form of attack
can reduce its hit points.
If the haunt is reduced to
0 hit points by positive
energy, it is neutralized—
if this occurs before the
haunt takes its action
at initiative rank 10, its
effect does not occur.
A haunt can have
virtually any effect
identical to an existing
spell effect, but often with
different—and distinctly more
frightening or unnerving—sensory or physical features
than that spell effect normally has. (A haunt that has
an effect not identical to an existing spell is certainly
possible, but this requires designing a new spell effect.)
A haunt might cause a room to explode into f lames
(duplicating fireball or fire storm), infuse a chamber
with fear (duplicating cause fear, scare, or fear), or try to
frighten a target to death (duplicating phantasmal killer
or slay living). How the haunt’s effects manifest are left
to you to determine.
A neutralized haunt is not destroyed, and can manifest
again after a period of time—to destroy a haunt, a specific
action must be taken in the region to end the effect
forever (such as burning a haunted house to the ground
or burying the bones of the slaves who died on the site to
create the haunt). This specific act is different for every
haunt (although a number of nearby haunts often share
the same destruction act).
Some haunts are persistent, and their immediate
effects continue beyond the surprise round into actual
full rounds. Persistent haunts continue to trigger their
haunt effects once per round on their initiative rank
until destroyed or they no longer have a target.
All primary effects created by a haunt are mindaffecting
fear effects, even those that actually produce
physical effects. Immunity to fear grants immunity to a
haunt’s direct effects, but not to secondary effects that
arise as a result of the haunt’s attack.

Haunts

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