By Thilo Graf
This pdf by Rite Publishing is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 9 pages for the 30 haunts.
The pdf kicks of with one page introduction to haunts, including some insightful designer’s note.
The haunts presented herein range from CR 1 to CR 15.
- Common Door Haunt: Slams doors shut
- Common House Haunt: Minor poltergeist effects
- Common Phantom World: Strange, obscuring hallucinations
- Graverot: A spark of unlife in a corpse
- Hindering Haunts: Delay PCs in crucial moments
- Lonely House Haunt: Charm PCs into staying for the night…
- Phantom Blade: Haunted remains of a trap
- Reluctant Portal: Hard to open/close portal
- Solid Phantoms: Phantoms that block PCs
- Weedy Well: Lure PCs
- Associated haunts (haunts that belong together):
- Charred Man: Potentially lethal killer
- Fire Starter: Creepy little haunt
- Unrepentant Smoker: Lets smoke billow forth
- Biting the Hand that feeds: Make animals rebel
- Black Bile: Cool manifestation
- Chain Haunt: Poltergeist chains
- Envious Armour: Your fighter with LOATHE this haunt. I love it.
- Faithful Phantom Hound: A faithful phantom creature; great adventure seed/ idea for deceased PC-companions
- Feel my Pain: Brutal, pain-inducing haunt
- Gurglers: Creepy, almost Pow/Lovecraftian haunt
- Heartstopper: Great nod towards one of my favorite Poe stories
- Hot Handle Haunt: Fire walk with me
- Lich’s Lover: Anguish of a woman can kill you
- Mumbling Malediction: Lethal, nice focus point for a haunted house
- Open Grave: This haunt has a cool effect and works different from what you’d expect
- Rats in the Wall: Iconic take on a classic motive
- Restless Sleep Haunt: Insomnia-inducer
- Scrawl: Scribbles appear with a twist
- Shadowmaker Haunt: Undead-creating haunt
- Spinning Spiders: This haunt is really cool and includes a spinning chandelier. Go figure. 🙂
The pdf closes with a NPC (CR 4) for ghost-and haunt-related adventures, who was built via the excellent rules for Divine Channeling from RiP’s “Secrets of Divine Channeling”. All necessary information is given for you to run this character without access to the supplement, though.
When first reading this, I was a bit baffled by the common haunts being…well…common. However, that is exactly the premise – the 10 haunts presented in the beginning are supposed to be very generic for ease of inserting it into your campaign. The other haunts were more creative and, in spite of the limitations in word-count, some of them managed to evoke a creepy atmosphere or were mechanically interesting. The thin line between “generic and boring” and “generic and easy to implement” – 30 Haunts for Houses walks it with ease and for the better. Editing and formatting were top-notch, I didn’t notice any errors. Presentation and layout adhere to the high Rite Publishing standards. Art is ok and mostly from public domain. The NPC was a nice bonus.
So what’s my final verdict? Due to the low price and extreme usability, I’ll settle for a solid 4 stars. This is, as of yet, the best haunt-supplement out there. For a sequel, I’d like to see more complex haunts or a file containing only common/generic haunts and files containing haunts linked by a theme as well as more associated haunts – the 3 associated ones make for a whole encounter in and of themselves.
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