Tuesday Tweak: Creepy Scene Saves | Pathfinder RPG Design

In this Pathfinder RPG design tweak, we’ll explore something for the horror genre and attempt to make your players afraid.

Tweak: Creepy Scene Saves; whenever a player comes upon a scene which the GM rules is frightening, they must make a Will save or become shaken. The DC of this save is 15 plus modifiers as outlined below. This save only needs to be made when first seeing something with the potential to be terrifying, and no additional saves are required when seeing the same event once again. Examples: an execution, a cult ritual, evil extraplanar creatures appearing, inanimate objects coming to life, a terrible disease taking hold, and children under evil influence.

DC modifiers

Multiple frightening enemies: +1 DC per enemy after the first

Darkness, fog, or other obstruction to sight: +2 DC

Sound, smell, or touch creating part of the creepy scene: +4 DC

Mysterious magic plainly at work: +1 DC

Warped humanoids present: +1 DC

Relative danger of  enemies completely unknown to players: +1 DC

Surprised by the scene: +1 DC

Broad daylight: -2 DC

Familiar scene: -1 DC for each previous time the player has seen something similar. Something which is experienced on a daily basis incurs no creepy save at all.

If you’re using some sort of Taint points in your game, failing this save could also inflict a taint point on the player.


This tweak is great for horror campaigns and especially scary scenes! Make sure that you only apply this tweak to especially dramatic moments, when you really want to impress your players with the idea that this is supposed to be scary.


-Max Porter-Zasada


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