By Thilo Graf
This guide is 7 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 5 1/3 of pages content, so let’s check this out!
This pdf kicks off with a variety of different pieces of advice to properly handle haunts without overtaxing them. Beyond standard haunts, we also get options to expand the areas they cover, haunted objects and moving locations. On the pure gold side of crunch, we also get trigger variables that allow the Dm to create haunts that e.g. only show up every anniversary, randomly or add resistance and more hp to haunts – an interesting, concise little haunt-toolkit.
We also get 3 new different haunts, with the first one being the CR 4 Bruja Cauldron! Coming into existence by boiling a dead hag in a cauldron and consuming here, this cauldron grants access to the evil eye hex. Advice on similar 1st level ability-duplicating haunts is given as well. The second haunt clocks in at CR 8 and is a haunt that uses CMB to perform a manoeuvre, to precise, to drown its victim. Again, we are provided advice on creating similar haunts in the vein.
The final new haunt is the most complex one and presents us with a laboratory – one that is haunted and slowly but steadily churns out golems! Furthermore, the lab can fuse its components to create golems that defend it from those seeking to destroy it – narrative gold and, again, coming with rules-information to create similar “creature factory”-haunts.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’s landscape 3-column format and the pdf has no bookmarks, which is a pity.
This pdf is in its core a great toolkit to create some haunts with new, unique mechanics and should be considered a nice set of options for the Dm to make haunts more versatile and less predictable. Honestly, I really like this pdf – enough to consider it 5 stars+ seal of approval-material – were it not for the pdf’s brevity. Haunt-wise, we also saw expanded mechanics for haunts in T.H. Gulliver’s acclaimed “#30-Haunt”-series by Rite Publishing and while both are cool and complement each other, this Genius Guide feels like it is on the very short side. While the content is top-notch, I can’t help but feel that we should get 2 or 3 pages more, perhaps a couple of haunts more and this would be glorious. As presented, it feels slightly too short in comparison to aforementioned series (though the series by T.H. Gulliver is all about great haunts, not necessarily their creation). My final verdict will thus be 4 stars.
The Genius Guide to Horrific Haunts is available from: