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In some Pathfinder campaign there is a house, where there are a lot of haunted things. The description of such a haunt says something like this:

CE obsessed haunt (around the bed) Caster Level 3rd

Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the sound of XXX) hp 6; trigger proximity ; reset 1 day

Effect: The haunted character suddenly feels [ something bad...]

the haunted PC must make a DC 14 Will save to avoid taking 1d4 points of Wisdom damage.

My question is now, how do I as a GM work with such haunts?

Say, one character goes near the bed. I'll let the player do a perception roll, and if they succeed, they hear the XXX sound.

Now what? Can the player run outside and nothing happens to him? What does the "Caster Level 3rd" mean here? What are the HP of the haunt good for?

My personal approach would be: 1st: perception roll, 2nd: on success let the player hear the XXX sound. 3rd no matter what the perception roll was, the haunt hits the player and [something bad] happens, including the mandatory will save. I don't use any HPs or any Caster Levels of the haunt, because I have no idea what to do with them.

I doubt that this what the original description means, but I think it nevertheless makes sense. What are your thoughts on this? And most important to me: what are the really intended steps of events?

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Do you mean, other than what is described in the haunt rules? d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/haunts –  mxyzplk Jun 2 at 2:38

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

According to the Haunts rules, there is one chance to avoid the effects of a haunt:

  • Notice the Haunt as it manifests, using the check of its Notice entry
  • Have a higher Initiative than the haunt's default Initiative of 10
  • Use your single surprise-round action to apply positive energy to the haunt
  • Do enough damage to bring its HPs to 0

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).

So you can also detect a haunt beforehand with the indicated spells. I assume this would allow you to "attack" it before it even manifests, or at least make its apparition a non-surprise round.

Below are the remainder of the rules for this aspect:

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)

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.

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All those Rolls seem to destroy the suspensefull mood in my opinion. ans all that just for a tiny success chance esp. on lower levels –  mawimawi Jun 1 at 17:52
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I also thought there were more chances to deal with haunts before reading the rules in details to answer your question. Now, nothing says a GM has to stick to this if it doesn't work out. –  leokhorn Jun 2 at 16:56

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