The adventuring world is filled with dangers beyond dragons and ravening fiends. Hazards are location-based threats that have much in common with traps, but are usually intrinsic to their area rather than constructed.
Hazards fall into three main categories: environmental, living, and magical. Environmental hazards include subterranean threats like cave-ins and wilderness dangers like forest fires. Living hazards are creatures that are generally too passive to be considered monsters, but are still a threat to unwary adventurers, such as dangerous molds, slimes, and fungi. Magical hazards are the most unpredictable, and can be the legacy of arcane experimentation, strange underground radiations, or ancient enchantments gone awry.
Hazards have challenge ratings like traps or monsters. A typical hazard triggers if a creature ventures near or into it, causing hit point damage, ability damage or drain, or some other harmful effect. Most can be detected by wary and knowledgeable PCs. Every hazard should have a means of escape or a way to eliminate the hazard, if not both.
Environmental hazards specific to one kind of terrain are described in the Wilderness section. Environmental hazards common to more than one setting are detailed below.
The lingering effects of ancient curses or harmful energy leaching from a submerged cursed magical item can turn a simple pool of water into a dangerous magical hazard. An accursed pool lures passersby into its depths with a silent image (DC 16 Will save to disbelieve) of glittering treasure at the bottom of its 10-foot depth. Any creature that reaches the treasure triggers the curse. A creature within the pool must make a DC 16 Will save or be affected by the curse, which warps its perception of the pool. The water seems to thicken into viscous goo, while the pool appears to distort to a depth of 40 feet. Swim checks in the pool suffer a -10 penalty and are at half normal speed as a result of these effects, and spellcasting within the pool requires a concentration check with a DC of 15 + the level of the spell being cast. An accursed pool radiates strong magic, and is destroyed by dispel magic or remove curse (caster level check DC 15).
Corrosive acids deals 1d6 points of damage per round of exposure except in the case of total immersion (such as in a vat of acid), which deals 10d6 points of damage per round. An attack with acid, such as from a hurled vial or a monster's spittle, counts as a round of exposure.
The fumes from most acids are inhaled poisons. Those who are adjacent to a large body of acid must make a DC 13 Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution damage each round. This poison does not have a frequency, a creature is safe as soon as it moves away from the acid.
Creatures immune to acid's caustic properties might still drown in it if they are totally immersed.
The combination of high peaks and heavy snowfalls means that avalanches are a deadly peril in many mountainous areas. While avalanches of snow and ice are common, it's also possible to have an avalanche of rock and soil.
An avalanche can be spotted from as far away as 1d10 × 500 feet by a character who makes a DC 20 Perception check, treating the avalanche as a Colossal creature. If all characters fail their Perception checks to determine the encounter distance, the avalanche moves closer to them, and they automatically become aware of it when it closes to half the original distance. It's possible to hear an avalanche coming even if you can't see it. Under optimum conditions (no other loud noises occurring), a character who makes a DC 15 Perception check can hear the avalanche or landslide when it is 1d6 × 500 feet away. This check might have a DC of 20, 25, or higher in conditions where hearing is difficult (such as in the middle of a thunderstorm).
A landslide or avalanche consists of two distinct areas: the bury zone (in the direct path of the falling debris) and the slide zone (the area the debris spreads out to encompass). Characters in the bury zone always take damage from the avalanche; characters in the slide zone might be able to get out of the way. Characters in the bury zone take 8d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried. Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Those who fail their saves are buried.
Buried characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute. If a buried character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check or take 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead. See Cave-Ins and Collapses for rules on digging out buried creatures.
The typical avalanche has a width of 1d6 × 100 feet, from one edge of the slide zone to the opposite edge. The bury zone in the center of the avalanche is half as wide as the avalanche's full width.
To determine the precise location of characters in the path of an avalanche, roll 1d6 × 20; the result is the number of feet from the center of the path taken by the bury zone to the center of the party's location. Avalanches of snow and ice advance at a speed of 500 feet per round, while rock and soil avalanches travel at a speed of 250 feet per round.
An invisible hazard, pockets of low-oxygen gas present a danger to miners and spelunkers as well as caverndelving adventurers. Nonflammable gases such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen are CR 1 and require a DC 25 Survival check to notice. Creatures breathing the air must make a Fortitude save (DC 15 + 1 per previous check) each hour or become fatigued. After a creature becomes fatigued, slow suffocation sets in. Creatures holding their breath can avoid these effects.
Flammable vapors such as coal gas are much more dangerous (CR 4). The gases displace breathable air in the lungs, causing fatigue as described above. In addition, any open flame or spark causes an explosion for 6d6 points of damage (Reflex save DC 15 for half ) to all in the cavern or within 5 feet of an entrance. The fire burns away the oxygen in the air, leaving it unbreathable for 2d4 minutes. After an explosion, flammable gas usually takes several days to build up to dangerous levels again.
Heroes of the Darklands
|Low||13||1 Con drain||1 Cha damage/day|
|Medium||17||1d4 Con drain||1d4 Cha damage/day|
|High||22||2d4 Con drain||1d6 Cha damage/day|
|Severe||30||4d6 Con drain||2d6 Cha damage/day|
Blightburn is a highly radioactive crystalline mineral that grows in isolated pockets throughout the Darklands, from Nar-Voth all the way down to Orv. When exposed to air, blightburn crystals give off a deep green glow as bright as a candle. Any creature coming into physical contact with a blightburn crystal takes 2d6 points of fire damage per round, and creatures within 60 feet of blightburn crystals are exposed to blightburn radiation. Blightburn radiation interferes with spells of the teleportation subschool. A character attempting to teleport into or out of an area of blightburn radiation must succeed at a caster level check (DC = the Fortitude save DC for the radiation) to successfully cast the spell.
Brown mold feeds on warmth, drawing heat from anything around it. It normally comes in patches 5 feet in diameter, and the temperature is always cold in a 30-foot radius around it. Living creatures within 5 feet of it take 3d6 points of nonlethal cold damage. Fire brought within 5 feet of brown mold causes the mold to instantly double in size. Cold damage, such as from a cone of cold, instantly destroys it.
Characters exposed to burning oil, bonfires, and nonInstantaneous magic fires might find their clothes, hair, or equipment on fire. Spells with an instantaneous duration don't normally set a character on fire, since the heat and flame from these come and go in a flash.
Characters at risk of catching fire are allowed a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid this fate. If a character's clothes or hair catch fire, he takes 1d6 points of damage immediately. In each subsequent round, the burning character must make another Reflex saving throw. Failure means he takes another 1d6 points of damage that round. Success means that the fire has gone out—that is, once he succeeds on his saving throw, he's no longer on fire.
A character on fire may automatically extinguish the flames by jumping into enough water to douse himself. If no body of water is at hand, rolling on the ground or smothering the fire with cloaks or the like permits the character another save with a +4 bonus.
Those whose clothes or equipment catch fire must make DC 15 Reflex saves for each item. Flammable items that fail take the same amount of damage as the character.
Cave-ins and collapsing tunnels are extremely dangerous. Not only do dungeon explorers face the danger of being crushed by tons of falling rock, but even if they survive they might be buried beneath a pile of rubble or cut off from the only known exit. A cave-in buries anyone in the middle of the collapsing area, and then sliding debris damages anyone in the periphery of the collapse. A typical corridor subject to a cave-in might have a bury zone with a 15-foot radius and a 10-foot-wide slide zone extending beyond the bury zone. A weakened ceiling can be spotted with a DC 20 Knowledge (engineering) or DC 20 Craft (stonemasonry) check. Remember that Craft checks can be made untrained as Intelligence checks. A dwarf can make such a check if he simply passes within 10 feet of a weakened ceiling.
A weakened ceiling might collapse when subjected to a major impact or concussion. A character can cause a cave-in by destroying half the pillars holding up the ceiling.
Characters in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried. Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried.
Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.
Characters who aren't buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.
|1-5||No event for 1d6 rounds|
|6-9||No event this round|
|10-17||Collapse event this round|
|18-20||Collapse events for 1d4 rounds|
Any enclosed space, natural or constructed, that is designed to provide safety and shelter can collapse under the right circumstances. The factors that can weaken these structures to the point of collapse are numerous: direct damage, earthquakes, extreme weather, fires, floods, and so on. Underground fortresses and lairs are likewise subject to the same sorts of structural failure. Characters trapped inside of these spaces during a collapse face the dangers of falling debris and becoming trapped within. The basic rules above are rules are sufficient when dealing with normal underground environments that collapse rapidly, but might prove overly lethal when dealing with manufactured structures and more gradual collapses.
Following whatever event compromises a structure, several rounds might pass during which nothing happens, followed by several rounds in a row of structural failures presenting hazards to the characters. GMs should roll on the Failing Structure chart to determine what danger occurs that round, if any. This might reveal several rounds of safety or of deadly collapse events. Should collapse events arise, roll on the Structural Collapse event table to determine the threat.
|1||Falling Debris: Chunks of debris fall from above. All characters within a 10-foot square must make a DC 15 Reflex save or take 1d6 points of
|2||Door Shifts: The nearest door is either stuck open or closed (whichever it is at the time the failure occurs), requiring a DC 25 Strength check
to open. If the nearest door is an undiscovered secret door, it shifts enough to reveal its existence, though it requires the same Strength
check to open as described above.
|3||Wall Collapse: A 5-foot section of wall splits and falls away near the characters, potentially allowing access into an adjacent opening.|
|4||Moderate Falling Debris: A large section of material falls from above. All characters within a 15-foot square must make a DC 15 Reflex save
or take 2d6 points of damage.
|5||Floor Collapse: The floor the PCs are walking on falls out from under their feet. All characters within a 15-foot square must make a DC 18
Reflex save or fall onto the floor below-typically, about a 10- to 15-foot drop dealing 1d6 points of damage, though potentially more. If on the
lowest floor, falling characters sustain 1d4 points of damage from shifting debris.
|6||Large Falling Debris: Beams and other falling debris rain down upon the area. Characters within a 15-foot square must make a DC 15 Reflex
save or take 3d6 points of damage.
|7||Trembling: No significant damage occurs, though decorations fall from the walls and a cloud of particles obscures vision on the entire floor.
Each character on the floor must make a Fortitude save each round or spend that round choking and coughing (as per smoke inhalation). This
provides concealment to characters within.
|8||Collapse: Parts of the ceiling and contents from floors above come down. This collapse has a 10-foot radius bury zone and a 5-foot-wide
slide zone beyond that. Characters in the bury zone take 4d6 points of damage and are buried (Reflex DC 15 half ). Characters in the slide zone
take 1d6 damage (Reflex DC 15 negates). Those in the slide zone who fail their save are buried. The collapse otherwise functions like those described
|9||Cacophony: The trembling of the structure creates a deafening clamor for 1d4 minutes. This is so loud that it effectively drowns out all other
speaking and noise, affecting characters in the building as if they were under the effects of a silence spell.
|10||Massive Collapse: A significant portion of the floors above comes down on the PCs. This collapse has a 15-foot radius bury zone and a 10-foot-wide
slide zone beyond. It otherwise functions like a collapse as described above.
Should a structure be undermined but not completely destroyed, it begins collapsing in on itself. Those within must then contend with the building falling apart around them as they seek their escape. While dangers might be separated by minutes of seeming calm, the giving way of a load-bearing support might rain death upon those who don't make a hasty escape. Should a round call for a collapse event, roll on the following chart to determine what occurs. GMs might revise any of these effects to account for buildings with unusual structures or made of strange materials, or that face added threats, such as fire.
Cold and exposure deal nonlethal damage to the victim. A character cannot recover from the damage dealt by a cold environment until she gets out of the cold and warms up again. Once a character has taken an amount of nonlethal damage equal to her total hit points, any further damage from a cold environment is lethal damage.
An unprotected character in cold weather (below 40° F)must make a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description).
In conditions of severe cold or exposure (below 0° F), an unprotected character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check), taking 1d6 points of nonlethal damage on each failed save. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well. Characters wearing a cold weather outfit only need check once per hour for cold and exposure damage.
A character who takes any nonlethal damage from cold or exposure is beset by frostbite or hypothermia (treat her as fatigued). These penalties end when the character recovers the nonlethal damage she took from the cold and exposure.
Extreme cold (below –20° F) deals 1d6 points of lethal damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage.
Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars
Many kinds of dangerous chemicals rain down from the skies of Numeria, the result of alien fluids evaporating and intermixing with water vapor to form clouds. Corrosive rain acts as normal rain, but deals 1d6 points of acid damage per hour of exposure. Rains vary widely in what they affect, some dissolving nearly any material, others affecting only organic matter, metal, or plastics. When corrosive rain falls in a downpour, it deals 1d6 points of acid damage every 10 minutes instead.
Darkvision allows many characters and monsters to see perfectly well without any light at all, but characters with normal or low-light vision can be rendered completely blind by putting out the lights. Torches or lanterns can be blown out by sudden gusts of subterranean wind, magical light sources can be dispelled or countered, or magical traps might create fields of impenetrable darkness.
In many cases, some characters or monsters might be able to see while others are blinded. For purposes of the following points, a blinded creature is one who simply can't see through the surrounding darkness.
Creatures blinded by darkness lose the ability to deal extra damage due to precision (for example, via sneak attack or a duelist's precise strike ability).
Blind creatures must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to move faster than half speed. Creatures that fail this check fall prone. Blinded creatures can't run or charge.
All opponents have total concealment from a blinded creature, so the blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat. A blinded creature must first pinpoint the location of an opponent in order to attack the right square; if the blinded creature launches an attack without pinpointing its foe, it attacks a random square within its reach. For ranged attacks or spells against a foe whose location is not pinpointed, roll to determine which adjacent square the blinded creature is facing; its attack is directed at the closest target that lies in that direction.
A blinded creature loses its Dexterity modifier to AC (if positive) and takes a –2 penalty to AC.
A blinded creature takes a –4 penalty on Perception checks and most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks, including any with an armor check penalty. A creature blinded by darkness automatically fails any skill check relying on vision.
Creatures blinded by darkness cannot use gaze attacks and are immune to gaze attacks.
A creature blinded by darkness can make a Perception check as a free action each round in order to locate foes (DC equal to opponents' Stealth checks). A successful check lets a blinded character hear an unseen creature "over there somewhere." It's almost impossible to pinpoint the location of an unseen creature. A Perception check that beats the DC by 20 reveals the unseen creature's square (but the unseen creature still has total concealment from the blinded creature).
A blinded creature can grope about to find unseen creatures. A character can make a touch attack with his hands or a weapon into two adjacent squares using a standard action. If an unseen target is in the designated square, there is a 50% miss chance on the touch attack. If successful, the groping character deals no damage but has pinpointed the unseen creature's current location. If the unseen creature moves, its location is once again unknown.
If a blinded creature is struck by an unseen foe, the blinded character pinpoints the location of the creature that struck him (until the unseen creature moves, of course). The only exception is if the unseen creature has a reach greater than 5 feet (in which case the blinded character knows the location of the unseen opponent, but has not pinpointed him) or uses a ranged attack (in which case the blinded character knows the general direction of the foe, but not his location).
A creature with the scent ability automatically pinpoints unseen creatures within 5 feet of its location.
These desert storms differ from other storms in that they have no precipitation. Instead, a duststorm blows fine grains of sand that obscure vision, smother unprotected flames, and can even choke protected flames (50% chance). Most duststorms are accompanied by severe winds and leave behind a deposit of 1d6 inches of sand. There is a 10% chance for a greater duststorm to be accompanied by windstorm-magnitude winds (see Wind Effects). These greater duststorms deal 1d3 points of nonlethal damage each round to anyone caught out in the open without shelter and also pose a choking hazard (see Drowning, except that a character with a scarf or similar protection across her mouth and nose does not begin to choke until after a number of rounds equal to 10 + her Constitution score). Greater duststorms leave 2d3-1 feet of fine sand in their wake.
Zones of magical entropy that disrupt spells, dweomersinks are occasionally formed at the sites of great magical duels, by the destruction of powerful artifacts, or by vortices of eldritch energy at the fringes of antimagic zones. They vary in size from small bubbles only a few feet across to large areas the size of a town. A successful DC 20 Spellcraft check detects a tingling in the air that heralds the presence of a nearby dweomersink. An active spell brought into a dweomersink may be dispelled, and any spell cast inside a dweomersink is subject to an immediate counterspell (both as dispel magic, caster level 8th). The resulting release of magical energy inflicts 1d6 points of damage per spell level in a 5-foot burst centered on the bearer of the spell entering the area or the caster of a new spell (Reflex save DC 15 for half damage). If multiple overlapping bursts hit the same target, only the most damaging applies. Once a spell effect has survived a dispel attempt, it is not affected again unless it leaves and reenters the dweomersink. More powerful dweomersinks are even more disruptive. Each +1 increase in CR increases the caster level of the dispel check by 2 and the save DC for the damaging burst by 1.
Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars
Malfunctioning generators deep in the remains of crashed starship sections create powerful fields of electromagnetic interference that fluctuate in intensity in specific locations across Numeria. The fields don't harm living creatures, but they do wreak havoc on many technologically complex devices. Within an electromagnetic field, force fields (but not magical force effects) and technological devices that consume electricity fail to function. At the GM's discretion, heavily shielded technological devices may be immune to this effect.
Robots with 4 Hit Dice or fewer deactivate while in an active electromagnetic field. Robots with 5 HD to 10 HD are staggered, while robots with 11 or more HD function normally. There is a 50% chance that any energy weapon on a robot fails to function when used in an active electromagnetic field. Projectile weapons function normally, as do any energy weapons that don't require electrical power such as flamethrowers. Robots with immunity to electricity are not affected by these effects.
Electromagnetic fields generally measure 2d6 miles across and remain active for periods of 2d4 hours, with some particularly powerful fields lasting for days. The period of inactivity between electromagnetic events ranges from 1d4 days to 2d6 weeks.
Creatures that fall take 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6. Creatures that take lethal damage from a fall land in a prone position.
If a character deliberately jumps instead of merely slipping or falling, the damage is the same but the first 1d6 is nonlethal damage. A DC 15 Acrobatics check allows the character to avoid any damage from the first 10 feet fallen and converts any damage from the second 10 feet to nonlethal damage. Thus, a character who slips from a ledge 30 feet up takes 3d6 damage. If the same character deliberately jumps, he takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage and 2d6 points of lethal damage. And if the character leaps down with a successful Acrobatics check, he takes only 1d6 points of nonlethal damage and 1d6 points of lethal damage from the plunge.
Falls onto yielding surfaces (soft ground, mud) also convert the first 1d6 of damage to nonlethal damage. This reduction is cumulative with reduced damage due to deliberate jumps and the Acrobatics skill.
A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as feather fall. Casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check with a DC equal to 20 + the spell's level. Casting teleport or a similar spell while falling does not end your momentum, it just changes your location, meaning that you still take falling damage, even if you arrive atop a solid surface.
Falls into water are handled somewhat differently. If the water is at least 10 feet deep, the first 20 feet of falling do no damage. The next 20 feet do nonlethal damage (1d3 per 10-foot increment). Beyond that, falling damage is lethal damage (1d6 per additional 10-foot increment).
Characters who deliberately dive into water take no damage on a successful DC 15 Swim check or DC 15 Acrobatics check, so long as the water is at least 10 feet deep for every 30 feet fallen. The DC of the check, however, increases by 5 for every 50 feet of the dive.
Just as characters take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, so too do they take damage when they are hit by falling objects.
Objects that fall upon characters deal damage based on their size and the distance they have fallen. This table determines the amount of damage dealt by an object based on its size. Note that this assumes that the object is made of dense, heavy material, such as stone. Objects made of lighter materials might deal as little as half the listed damage, subject to GM discretion. For example, a Huge boulder that hits a character deals 6d6 points of damage, whereas a Huge wooden wagon might deal only 3d6 damage. In addition, if an object falls less than 30 feet, it deals half the listed damage. If an object falls more than 150 feet, it deals double the listed damage. Note that a falling object takes the same amount of damage as it deals.
Dropping an object on a creature requires a ranged touch attack. Such attacks generally have a range increment of 20 feet. If an object falls on a creature (instead of being thrown), that creature can make a DC 15 Reflex save to halve the damage if he is aware of the object. Falling objects that are part of a trap use the trap rules instead of these general guidelines.
Fires occur when indoor or outdoor areas that contain or are constructed from flammable materials are exposed to flame and catch fire. As the blaze spreads, creatures in the nearby area are subject to the deadly effects of fire and smoke inhalation. GMs running a fire encounter might refer to the rules for forest fires. The fires detailed here suggest more easily combatable fires, such as those newly sparked or spreading within an urban setting.
Unchecked, fire tends to spread both rapidly and unpredictably. Minor factors, such as the dryness of the burning material, the presence of wind or breeze, flammable finish on flooring, dry vegetation in an area, and countless other factors can all contribute to the spread of a fire. Once a fire has burned an area, it will not return to that area. Likewise, once an area has been doused with water or covered with a non-flammable substance, such as dirt, that area is safe from further effects of the blaze for the immediate future.
|1||The fire does not grow this round.|
|2||The fire grows 1 square to the north.|
|3||The fire grows 1 square to the east.|
|4||The fire grows 1 square to the south.|
|5||The fire grows 1 square to the west.|
|6||The fire grows 1 square in all directions.|
|7-8||The fire does not grow this round.|
|9||The fire grows 2 squares to the north.|
|10||The fire grows 2 squares to the east.|
|11||The fire grows 2 squares to the south.|
|12||The fire grows 2 squares to the west.|
|13||The fire grows 2 squares in all directions.|
|14-18||The fire does not grow this round.|
|19||The fire grows 3 squares in all directions.|
|20||The fire grows 4 squares in all directions|
Every round that a fire burns, regardless of whether characters are attempting to control it, roll 1d20 and consult the following table to determine the activity of the fire for that round and how many (if any) 5-foot squares the fire spreads to. The GM chooses which squares a fire spreads into if multiple possibilities exist. Fire cannot spread into areas where it has already been extinguished (unless noted otherwise), nor can it spread into squares where flammable materials are not present. Characters who are inside of a square when it catches fire are subject to damage, as per the rules for catching on fire.
Dousing a fire requires a large amount of water or other non-flammable material, such as dirt, to be deposited on the burning area. One effective strategy for extinguishing a fire quickly is to surround the burning area with nonflammable material. PCs doing this must make a ranged touch attack against an AC of 10 to deliver their payload to the intended square. The following indicates how many 5-foot squares of fire a number of the listed containers can extinguish with successful delivery.
Twenty waterskins full of water extinguish one square.
Four buckets full of non-flammable material extinguish one square.
Twelve gallon containers of nonflammable material extinguish one square.
One cauldron of non-flammable material extinguishes one square.
A portable hole filled with non-flammable material extinguishes a 12-square-by-12-square area.
Bag of Holding
A bag of holding, type I filled with nonflammable material extinguishes a 3-square-by-3-square area, type II extinguishes a 5-square-by-5-square area, type III extinguishes a 7-square-by-7-square area, and type IV extinguishes a 10-square-by-10-square area.
Fuel-starved flames bursting into freshly opened chambers pose a lethal threat to fire fighters. Such hazards typically arise from rooms no larger than 40 square feet and sealed from ample airflows. When these rooms catch fire, they deplete the supply of oxygen in 2d6 x 5 minutes. After such a point, the fire continues to burn, but the combustion is a slow smolder. When a door or obstruction is opened or removed, the air from outside the room rushes in and instantly restarts the flames, resulting in a fiery eruption. Any characters that are either already in the room or are within 15 feet of the newly opened entryway take 5d6 points of fire damage (DC 15 Reflex save for half ). The area opened to must be oxygen-rich for a backdraft to happen, and does not occur if one oxygen-starved room opens into another.
A number of spells have the potential to affect areas that have caught fire and can serve to reduce the seriousness of a blaze. While these are by no means all the spells that might aid a fire-fighting spellcaster, these account for the majority of the magical effects that can be brought to bear against flames. Other obvious spells, such as control water, rely on the specifics of a situation and are left to the GM to determine the effects.
In general, weather conjured by this spell has a 40% chance to extinguish an uncovered square full of flame every round. This does not prevent flames from spreading, but those left exposed are quenched with relative swiftness. Fires burning within a structure are unaffected by this spell unless it has some obvious point of entry (such as through an open roof or large window).
Gust of Wind
This powerful wind blows out 10 feet of fire in its path. Flames blown out can be reignited by nearby flames.
An ice storm extinguishes fire in the area it affects. The hail from the spell melts and leaves an area soaked, preventing it from catching fire again.
This spell extinguishes the fire along the ray's path. The ice from the spell melts due to the heat and leaves an area soaked, preventing it from catching fire again.
Upon affecting a fire, a pyrotechnics spell extinguishes up to four squares of fire. A#ecting flames with this spell can backfire upon a caster, though, potentially hindering those nearby with even more light and smoke.
Several summoned creatures might possess qualities allowing them to aid in putting out fires, whether special abilities or the power to cast any of the spells noted here. Water elementals especially can put out flames in any square they cross, though burning squares count a diffcult terrain for them while purposefully trying to extinguish flames. Even water elementals take damage from fire, and can be destroyed by entering a blaze.
Floods occur when the water levels in an area rise beyond their usual levels. This might be caused by river banks overflowing into a town, a sudden and unexpected rush of water from a broken reservoir, the effects of a powerful storm, or a similar incident. GMs contemplating a flood in their games should consider the basic rules for floods, as well as those for aquatic terrain and underwater combat, swimming, and drowning.
Floods can easily turn structures into watery deathtraps. Characters trapped in an underground complex or even merely a structure at a low elevation when a flood occurs might find themselves facing rising waters, dwindling pockets of air, and the risk of drowning. Before a flood begins, the GM needs to determine how high the ceiling is in a given area-typically 10 to 12 feet high, though variable depending on the structure's location and purpose. This height determines the length of time it takes for that space to fill with water. During a slow flood, water levels rise at a constant rate. The GM can determine this rate arbitrarily, or roll 1d6 to determine the number of inches that the water rises per round.
The next issue the GM must consider is where the displaced air goes. If this is an underground dungeon, the air might rise through cracks and grates, disappearing into areas where the PCs may not be able to follow. Since doorways tend to be lower than ceilings, many rooms in structures not designed with airflow in mind might flood only until the water level has risen to the top of a door frame, trapping a pocket of air in a room. However, just because characters occupy an area where a pocket of air is trapped does not mean that they are safe. Characters trapped within a flooded area must succeed at Swim checks to stay afloat, typically DC 10 for calm water, but armor and encumbrance can make even such a check deadly for unprepared characters. GMs dealing with characters trapped for several hours might also seek to address the risk of air depletion. As a rule of thumb, a resting Medium character takes 12 hours to deplete the air from a 5-foot cube (with Large creatures depleting half again as much, Small characters depleting only half as much, and so on). When a character is exerting himself, he consumes double the amount of air. With this information, a GM should be able to take the number of 5-foot cubes comprising an air pocket and formulate a rough estimate of how long it takes creatures trapped within to deplete the air. Once the air is depleted, characters begin suffocating.
Flash floods have the same issues associated with slow floods, but they also have the added danger of rapid flowing water. Most move through low-lying areas at a speed of 60 feet, sweeping away everything in their path. A creature can detect the onset of a flash flood with a DC 20 Perception check, success granting the creature 2d6 rounds to prepare. The first sign of a flash flood is a rumbling and a sudden flow of water along the ground. The wall of water that follows arrives quickly, striking only 1d4 rounds later.
A creature struck by a flash flood is immediately subjected to a bull rush (as if by a creature with a CMB of +20). A successful bull rush indicates that the creature is swept away. Creatures carried along by a flash flood travel in the direction of the flood at a speed of 60 feet and take 2d6 points of damage per round from buffeting (Reflex DC 12 negates). If those swept away are air-breathers, they must hold their breath or begin to drown. Swim checks are possible in a flash flood, but the water is treated as stormy, requiring a DC 20 Swim check to navigate. Most flash floods last for only 3d6 minutes before the rushing water either disperses or slows and becomes standing water (depending on the topography).
Energies seeping from powerful technological artifacts can create unpredictable gravitational fluctuations, and those who would traverse Numeria's landscape must be prepared to deal with unexpected changes in gravity. Gravitational differences have the potential to cripple characters or make them superheroes—and sometimes both at the same time. For most areas in Numeria, the gravity is Golarion's standard. Yet some areas affected by graviton-based artifacts require special consideration.
For areas that differ significantly from Golarion's standard gravity, the game effects are proportional; therefore, an area with half Golarion's standard gravity allows players to jump twice as high, whereas one with twice Golarion's standard gravity reduces jump heights by half (see below). In all cases, effects may be more severe and problematic for PCs when they first arrive in an area, and PCs may take additional penalties on attack rolls or to movement until they adjust to the new environment.
In high-gravity areas, such as those in close proximity to graviton-based artifacts, characters are literally crushed to the ground by their increased weight, and their physical abilities are affected accordingly. For example, in an area where the gravity is twice as strong as 26 Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars it is in areas with standard gravity, a character weighs twice as much as he does elsewhere on Golarion, but has only the same amount of strength. Such characters move at half speed, can only jump half as high or as far, and can only lift half as much. Their projectiles (though not those of creatures residing in the area, or who have occupied it for a significant amount of time) have their ranges cut in half as they fall to earth more rapidly.
The personal effects (modifications to running, jumping, lifting, etc.) can be negated by spells such as freedom of movement, but projectiles remain affected. Characters who remain in a high-gravity environment for long periods often become fatigued.
Low-gravity areas, such as those in which the effects of multiple graviton-based artifacts interact in unpredictable ways, are PC playgrounds, in which characters' relatively hyper-developed muscles are far more effective than normal.
In an area with only a third of Golarion's gravity, for example, PCs can jump three times as high and as far and lift three times as much. (Movement speed, however, stays the same, as moving in great bounds can be awkward and difficult to control.) Projectiles have their range categories tripled.
In rare circumstances, the close proximity of graviton-based artifacts counteracts gravity entirely in a limited area, sometimes intermittently for short periods. A lack of gravity is not the same as flight. Movement is difficult, and creatures without something to push off from often find themselves floating helplessly. When a creature does manage to find something to propel itself off of, it can choose to move in any direction, but at half speed. Double-moves and charges are still possible, but running is not. If provided with sufficient handholds, a creature with a climb speed can move along a wall at full speed, as can any PC who succeeds at a DC 20 Climb check (adding her Dexterity bonus). Note as well that a creature that moves in a given direction continues to move in that direction at the same speed each round (without the cost of a move action) unless it is able to change its motion by latching on to an object or creature, pushing off in a new direction, or creating thrust of some kind (all of which are considered move actions). Creatures that fly using physical means, such as wings or jet propulsion, are affected by these same rules only in vacuum—in normal atmosphere, they may recover and get their bearings within 2d6 rounds, after which they can fly normally. Magical flight is not affected. A character in a weightless environment can lift and carry 10 times her normal amount. Projectile weapons have their range categories multiplied by 10. In addition, ranged weapons no longer have a maximum number of range increments—their wielders simply continue to accrue penalties the farther away the target is. Projectiles fired from a null-gravity area into an area with gravity of any kind take a -10 penalty to hit.
A creature affected by inverted gravity falls upward, as though gravity had been reversed, carrying them away from Golarion's surface. A minor fluctuation sends the affected creature upward 10x2d6 feet within a single round before the creature falls again. A severe fluctuation sends the creature falling upward for 2d6 rounds, for a distance of 500 feet in the first round and 1,000 feet in each successive round. Fly skill checks take a -5 penalty while gravity is reversed due to disorientation, and a successful DC 10 Fly check is required for a flying creature to control its movement. Creatures with perfect maneuverability take no penalty and need not attempt checks to move.
While in a region of inverted gravity, there is a 10% chance every 10 minutes of 1d4 random individual creatures or unaccompanied objects weighing more than 5 pounds being affected. The effect targets individual creatures and objects within the area, rather than everything in the area. Areas subject to inverted gravity may be identified by a pronounced lack of larger rocks and similar objects in the area, though only by those familiar with the threat. A typical region measures 1,000 feet across, while larger areas span up to 5 miles.
This dungeon peril is a dangerous variety of normal slime. Green slime devours flesh and organic materials on contact and is even capable of dissolving metal. Bright green, wet, and sticky, it clings to walls, floors, and ceilings in patches, reproducing as it consumes organic matter. It drops from walls and ceilings when it detects movement (and possible food) below.
A single 5-foot square of green slime deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage per round while it devours flesh. On the first round of contact, the slime can be scraped off a creature (destroying the scraping device), but after that it must be frozen, burned, or cut away (dealing damage to the victim as well). Anything that deals cold or fire damage, sunlight, or a remove disease spell destroys a patch of green slime. Against wood or metal, green slime deals 2d6 points of damage per round, ignoring metal's hardness but not that of wood. It does not harm stone.
Heat deals nonlethal damage that cannot be recovered from until the character gets cooled off (reaches shade, survives until nightfall, gets doused in water, is targeted by endure elements, and so forth). Once a character has taken an amount of nonlethal damage equal to her total hit points, any further damage from a hot environment is lethal damage.
A character in very hot conditions (above 90Â° F) must make a Fortitude saving throw each hour (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per hour).
In severe heat (above 110Â° F), a character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the Survival skill). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per each 10Minute period).
A character who takes any nonlethal damage from heat exposure now suffers from heatstroke and is fatigued. These penalties end when the character recovers from the nonlethal damage she took from the heat.
Extreme heat (air temperature over 140Â° F, fire, boiling water, lava) deals lethal damage. Breathing air in these temperatures deals 1d6 points of fire damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save every 5 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Those wearing heavy clothing or any sort of armor take a –4 penalty on their saves.
Boiling water deals 1d6 points of scalding damage, unless the character is fully immersed, in which case it deals 10d6 points of damage per round of exposure.
This hazard occurs in areas where the air close to the surface of the desert is heated to a significantly higher temperature than the air above it. Creatures beyond 30 feet appear indistinct, as though affected by blur, and they gain concealment against ranged attacks. Effects and abilities that would allow a character to ignore this concealment, such as blindsight and true seeing, negate this effect. Heat haze has no effect on navigation and cannot be disbelieved.
These powerful duststorms can last for days. A khamsin storm reduces visibility to 1d6 . 5 feet and imposes a -8 penalty on Perception checks. The storm's sands deal 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per hour of exposure. A khamsin leaves behind 1d6 inches of dust and sand per hour it rages. A single khamsin can last anywhere from 1d4 hours to 1d3 days, and historians report a rare few lasting a week or even longer, generally leaving a completely different landscape in the wake of its shifting sands.
High altitude travel can be extremely fatiguing—and sometimes deadly—to creatures that aren't used to it. Cold becomes extreme, and the lack of oxygen in the air can wear down even the most hardy of warriors.
Creatures accustomed to high altitude generally fare better than lowlanders. Any creature with an Environment entry that includes mountains is considered native to the area and acclimated to the high altitude. Characters can also acclimate themselves by living at high altitude for a month. Characters who spend more than two months away from the mountains must reacclimate themselves when they return. Undead, constructs, and other creatures that do not breathe are immune to altitude effects.
In general, mountains present three possible altitude bands: low pass, low peak/high pass, and high peak.
Most travel in low mountains takes place in low passes, a zone consisting largely of alpine meadows and forests. Travelers might find the going difficult (which is reflected in the movement modifiers for traveling through mountains), but the altitude itself has no game effect.
Ascending to the highest slopes of low mountains, or most normal travel through high mountains, falls into this category. All non-acclimated creatures labor to breathe in the thin air at this altitude. Characters must succeed on a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or be fatigued. The fatigue ends when the character descends to an altitude with more air. Acclimated characters do not have to attempt the Fortitude save.
The highest mountains exceed 15,000 feet in height. At these elevations, creatures are subject to both high altitude fatigue (as described above) and altitude sickness, whether or not they're acclimated to high altitudes. Altitude sickness represents long-term oxygen deprivation, and affects mental and physical ability scores. After each 6-hour period a character spends at an altitude of over 15,000 feet, he must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1 point of damage to all ability scores. Creatures acclimated to high altitude receive a +4 competence bonus on their saving throws to resist high altitude effects and altitude sickness, but eventually even seasoned mountaineers must abandon these dangerous elevations.
Characters walking on ice must spend 2 squares of movement to enter a square covered by ice, and the DC for Acrobatics checks increases by +5. Characters in prolonged contact with ice might run the risk of taking damage from severe cold.
Lava or magma deals 2d6 points of fire damage per round of exposure, except in the case of total immersion (such as when a character falls into the crater of an active volcano), which deals 20d6 points of fire damage per round.
Damage from lava continues for 1d3 rounds after exposure ceases, but this additional damage is only half of that dealt during actual contact (that is, 1d6 or 10d6 points per round). Immunity or resistance to fire serves as an immunity to lava or magma. A creature immune or resistant to fire might still drown if completely immersed in lava (see Drowning).
Heroes of the Darklands
Lazurite is a decayed form of a radioactive material no longer found in its natural form within the Darklands, said to be the remnants of a long-dead god. Lazurite is encountered exclusively in Sekamina, and appears as a crumbling black dust that emits a strong aura of necromancy. A corpse left within 30 feet of a naturally occurring deposit of lazurite for 24 hours has a 50% chance of spontaneously reanimating as a free-willed ghoul (often with the class levels it had in life). All undead within an area of lazurite radiation gain a +4 bonus on Will saves to resist channeled energy.
The strange energies of the subterranean world can charge rocks and veins of ore with powerful magnetic fields, creating a hazard for anyone carrying or wearing ferrous metals. Any steel or iron brought within 20 feet of the ore is drawn toward it. Medium-sized creatures carrying 30 or more pounds of ferrous metal are pulled toward the ore as if by the pull special ability (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 303).
The ore has an effective CMB of +7 and CMD 17. Small creatures are pulled if they have 15 pounds of metal, Large if they have at least 60 pounds. For creatures of other sizes, modify the weight required as per the rules for carrying capacity. Creatures wearing metallic armor suffer a penalty to their CMD to resist the pull (-2 for medium armor, -4 for heavy armor).
Affected creatures are pulled up to 20 feet and slammed against the rock for 2d6 points of damage and gain the grappled condition. Creatures not carrying large amounts of metal but holding metal items in their hands are affected by a disarm maneuver as the items are ripped free. Freeing a stuck item requires a successful grapple check against the ore's CMD.
Mirages are naturally occurring optical illusions that function similarly to illusion (glamer) spells, particularly hallucinatory terrain and mirage arcana. Unlike magical illusions, mirages cannot be dispelled, though they can be disbelieved upon first sight with a successful DC 20 Will save. Mirages are long-distance phenomena in which hazy images appear on the distant horizon, often in the shapes of rock formations, flat pools of reflective water or oases, and city walls. These mirages pose the greatest threat to travelers suffering from dehydration (whose desperation may persuade their minds to believe in an otherwise obvious mirage) or to those using the desert's few landmarks as aids to orient themselves. When navigating through the desert, the existence of a mirage imposes a -2 penalty on Survival checks to keep from getting lost. Spells such as true seeing indicate a mirage's true nature but can't reveal what the mirage is obscuring because of the distance (generally several miles) at which the phenomena are observed. A character who succeeds at a DC 15 Survival check while observing a mirage can estimate the perceived distance to the image. When the character has traveled the estimated distance toward the mirage, he can attempt a DC 10 Will save to disbelieve the mirage. Otherwise, the mirage either vanishes or seems to be even farther off in the distance (equal chances of either result).
Mnemonic crystals are large (2-4 feet tall) clusters of violet quartz crystals that radiate a strong abjuration aura. They can be identified with a DC 25 Knowledge (arcana) check.
Attuned to the unique energies of spellcraft, mnemonic crystals harvest magical energy for growth and defense. The crystals drain prepared spells from spellcasters within 30 feet, who must make DC 22 Will saves each round while in the crystals' area. Failure results in the loss of one prepared spell, chosen randomly. Spontaneous spellcasters such as sorcerers are unaffected.
Damaging or breaking the crystals causes them to release their absorbed spells in a burst of mental energy that does 1d6 points of Wisdom damage to all creatures in a 10-foot radius. Mnemonic crystals are exceedingly fragile (hardness 0, 1 hit point). In areas thick with the crystals, creatures passing through must make DC 10 Acrobatics checks to avoid stepping on or brushing against the crystals and breaking them.
Piercers resemble 1-foot long stalactites and are found underground in caves and caverns hanging from the ceiling waiting for living creatures to pass underneath.
Those viewing a piercer must make a DC 20 Perception check to discern its true nature; else it is overlooked and mistaken for a normal stalactite. Piercers gather in clusters of up to 20 creatures.
When a living creature stands in a square directly below a piercer, it drops and attempts to impale the unsuspecting foe. The creature can make a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid the piercer's attack. If the save fails, the target sustains 1d6 points of piercing damage. If the save succeeds, the piercer misses its target and may not attack again until it climbs back into position. (Piercers move 5 feet per round). A piercer on the ground is easily dispatched, though touching or attacking it unarmed or with natural weapons causes it to secrete an acid that deals 1d4 points of acid damage to the opponent each time one of its attacks hits.
Piercers can grow to a length of 6 feet. Those of 2 to 4 feet in length are CR 1 and deal 2d6 points of damage if they hit a foe. Their acid deals 1d6 points of acid damage. Those of 5 to 6 feet in length are CR 2 and deal 3d6 points of damage if they hit. Their acid deals 1d6 points of acid damage. The DC to avoid a piercer's attack is 15, regardless of its size.
Contact with poison oak (CR 1) causes a painful rash, and the resulting itch leaves the hapless victim sickened until the damage is healed. Full body contact or inhaling the smoke from burning poison oak is particularly dangerous, and can be fatal (CR 3). A DC 15 Knowledge (nature) check reveals this seemingly innocuous plant for what it is.
This hazard can also be used for similar noxious plants such as poison ivy, poison sumac, and stinging nettles, the latter not being hazardous when burned.
Type poison, contact; Save Fortitude DC 13
Onset 1 hour
Effect 1d4 Dex damage, creature sickened until damage is healed; Cure 1 save
Poison Oak (Severe Exposure)
Type poison, contact or inhaled; Save Fortitude DC 16
Onset 1 hour; Frequency 1/hour
Initial Effect 2d4 Dex damage and 1d4 Con damage, creature sickened until damage is healed; Secondary Effect 1 Con damage; Cure 1 save
Patches of quicksand present a deceptively solid appearance (appearing as undergrowth or open land) that might trap careless characters. A character approaching a patch of quicksand at a normal pace is entitled to a DC 8 Survival check to spot the danger before stepping in, but charging or running characters don't have a chance to detect a hidden patch before blundering into it. A typical patch of quicksand is 20 feet in diameter; the momentum of a charging or running character carries him 1d2 × 5 feet into the quicksand.
Characters in quicksand must make a DC 10 Swim check every round to simply tread water in place, or a DC 15 Swim check to move 5 feet in whatever direction is desired. If a trapped character fails this check by 5 or more, he sinks below the surface and begins to drown whenever he can no longer hold his breath (see the Swim skill description).
Characters below the surface of quicksand may swim back to the surface with a successful Swim check (DC 15, +1 per consecutive round of being under the surface).
Pulling out a character trapped in quicksand can be difficult. A rescuer needs a branch, spear haft, rope, or similar tool that enables him to reach the victim with one end of it. Then he must make a DC 15 Strength check to successfully pull the victim, and the victim must make a DC 10 Strength check to hold onto the branch, pole, or rope. If both checks succeed, the victim is pulled 5 feet closer to safety. If the victim fails to hold on, he must make a DC 15 Swim check immediately to stay above the surface.
Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars
Radiation is a deadly threat to those who would explore the technological ruins in Numeria, and even in areas that appear devoid of strange artifacts, the land, the water, or the local flora and fauna may be irradiated. At the GM's discretion, adventurers may even be affected by the cumulative effects of mild levels of radiation that would be harmless if encountered briefly, but may build into dangerous levels over sustained or repeated periods of exposure. Radiation is a poison effect, but its secondary effect is different from its initial effect. Radiation dangers have four levels of intensity: low, medium, high, and severe.
|Low||13||1 Con drain||1 Str damage/day|
|Medium||17||1d4 Con drain||1d4 Str damage/day|
|High||22||2d4 Con drain||1d6 Str damage/day|
|Severe||30||4d6 Con drain||2d6 Str damage/day|
Radiation suffuses a spherical area of effect that can extend into solid objects. The closer one gets to the center of an area of radiation, the stronger the radiation effect becomes. Radiation entries list the maximum level of radiation in an area, as well as the radius out to which this radiation level applies. Each increment up to an equal length beyond that radius degrades the radiation strength by one level. For example, a spherical area of high radiation with a radius of 20 feet creates a zone of medium radiation 21 feet to 40 feet from the center in all directions, and a similar zone of low radiation from 41 to 60 feet.
Radiation initially deals Constitution drain unless the exposed character succeeds at a Fortitude saving throw. A new saving throw must be attempted to resist radiation's initial damage each round a victim remains exposed to it.
Secondary effects from radiation deal Strength damage at a much slower rate than most poisons. This secondary effect ends only after a character succeeds at two Fortitude saving throws to resist secondary radiation damage. If a character is suffering Strength damage equal to her current Strength score, any further damage dealt by secondary radiation is instead Constitution damage.
All radiation damage is a poison effect, and as such can be removed with any effect that neutralizes poison. Ability damage and drain caused by radiation damage can be healed normally.
Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars
The spores of this black mold grow uncontrollably on contact with flesh. As it grows, the mold secretes a potent acid to break down the flesh of its host. When a colony of ravenous mold is disturbed or agitated (such as by bumping or wind), the mold takes root on any organic matter within 20 feet. Any living creature, magic item, or attended object can avoid infestation with a successful DC 14 Fortitude saving throw. An unattended object gains no saving throw. Infested living creatures and organic objects take 1d6 points of acid damage each round as the mold spreads. Only half of an object's or creature's hardness applies to the damage, but acid resistance or immunity applies in full. Exposing an infested creature to bright light destroys the mold, as does 10 points or more of fire damage dealt in a single round. Additionally, the mold can be cured by any effect that removes disease. Ravenous mold cannot consume inorganic materials or bone, or dry organic materials such as cured leather and wood.
Ravenous mold escaped from a quarantine chamber in Silver Mount, where it was being studied to determine its potential efficacy as a biological weapon.
Russet mold is found in dark, wet areas. At a distance of 30 feet or more, it is likely to be mistaken for ordinary rust (DC 25 Perception check to see it for what it truly is). A patch of russet mold is about 5 to 7 feet in diameter. When a living creature comes within 5 feet of a patch of russet mold, it releases a cloud of spores in a 5-foot radius. All in the area must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or take 2d6 points of Constitution damage. Another DC 15 Fortitude save is required 1 minute later—even by those who succeeded at the first save—to avoid taking another 2d6 points of Constitution damage.
A creature killed by russet mold rises as a vegepygmy in 24 hours, unless antiplant shell is cast within one hour. Antiplant shell does not actually prevent the creature from becoming a vegepygmy, but it does delay the process for the spell's duration. After that, only a wish or miracle can prevent the creature from rising as a vegepygmy.
Russet mold is immune to fire and cold. Acid-based effects, alcohol (at least 1 gallon per foot diameter of mold), continual flame, or remove disease instantly destroys russet mold.
Argent Mold (CR 8)
A far more insidious type of infection, argent mold is a reflective, gray-hued fungus. Creatures that come within 15 feet of argent mold must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude saving throw or be infected by the mold's spores. Twenty-four hours after initial infection, the mold takes root and begins dealing 2 points of Constitution damage per round; success at a new Fortitude save halts the effect. All vegepygmies spawned from a character slain by this infection possess the advanced creature simple template.
Aurus Mold (CR 5)
Aurus mold is a golden-tinged fungal matter that can sometimes be found on the surface. This variant mold is unaffected by sunlight, but its spores deal only 1 point of Constitution damage per round. There is a 50% chance that any vegepygmies created by this mold gain the degenerate creature simple template.
Iron Mold (CR 6)
This rare variant of russet mold is susceptible to cold damage instead of acid. Vegepygmies created by this variant mold gain immunity to acid and cold, but also gain light sensitivity.
A sandstorm reduces visibility to 1d10 × 5 feet and provides a –4 penalty on Perception checks. A sandstorm deals 1d3 points of nonlethal damage per hour to any creatures caught in the open, and leaves a thin coating of sand in its wake. Driving sand creeps in through all but the most secure seals and seams, chafing skin and contaminating carried gear.
A character who breathes heavy smoke must make a Fortitude save each round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or spend that round choking and coughing. A character who chokes for 2 consecutive rounds takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Smoke obscures vision, giving concealment (20% miss chance) to characters within it.
Dense smoke, as might fill a burning building, can prove even more dangerous than the flames that create it. In addition to the rules for smoke inhalation, a character in dense smoke must make a DC 10 Fortitude save every round that she is subject to these conditions. A character may fail this save a number of times equal to her Constitution modifier. After failing to save for the last time, the character falls unconscious and is subject to suffocation.
Characters might find themselves without food or water and with no means to obtain them. In normal climates, Medium characters need at least a gallon of fluids and about a pound of decent food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) In very hot climates, characters need two or three times as much water to avoid dehydration.
A character can go without water for 1 day plus a number of hours equal to his Constitution score. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each hour (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Characters that take an amount of nonlethal damage equal to their total hit points begin to take lethal damage instead.
A character can go without food for 3 days, in growing discomfort. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each day (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Characters that take an amount of nonlethal damage equal to their total hit points begin to take lethal damage instead.
Characters who have taken nonlethal damage from lack of food or water are fatigued. Nonlethal damage from thirst or starvation cannot be recovered until the character gets food or water, as needed—not even magic that restores hit points heals this damage.
Characters who spend long periods exposed to direct sunlight risk the effects of severe sunburn. After 8 hours of exposure to the sun (but no more than once per day), a character in such a situation must succeed at a DC 12 Fortitude save or become severely sunburned, taking 1d2 points of Constitution damage and becoming sickened as long as any of this damage remains in effect. Whenever a character fails three successive Fortitude saving throws against sunburn, the Constitution damage increases to 1d4 points and he becomes fatigued (or exhausted if already fatigued). The fatigue or exhaustion lasts until the damage caused by the sunburn is healed. Wearing clothing or armor that covers the skin grants a +5 bonus on this saving throw, and endure elements provides complete protection from sunburn. The Endurance feat grants a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against sunburn, while a successful DC 15 Survival check each day grants a +2 bonus on that day's Fortitude save.
A character who has no air to breathe can hold her breath for 2 rounds per point of Constitution. If a character takes a standard or full-round action, the remaining duration that the character can hold her breath is reduced by 1 round. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check in order to continue holding her breath. The check must be repeated each round, with the DC increasing by +1 for each previous success.
When the character fails one of these Constitution checks, she begins to suffocate. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hit points). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she suffocates.
A Medium character can breathe easily for 6 hours in a sealed chamber measuring 10 feet on a side. After that time, the character takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage every 15 minutes. Each additional Medium character or significant fire source (a torch, for example) proportionally reduces the time the air will last. Once rendered unconscious through the accumulation of nonlethal damage, the character begins to take lethal damage at the same rate. Small characters consume half as much air as Medium characters.
Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars
Thirsting brambles pull the moisture from living creatures, other plants, and even the air and ground around them. Brought to Golarion from a desert planet, thirsting brambles cannot tolerate exposure to large quantities of water like lakes and rivers, thus limiting their spread. The brambles draw blood from a victim through even the tiniest scratch, but so subtly that it goes unnoticed unless the victim succeeds at a DC 25 Perception check. After 10 minutes of pushing through bramble-infested terrain, a creature becomes dehydrated as though having spent a day without drinking water. Each additional minute acts as an hour without water. After a number of additional minutes equal to the creature's Constitution modifier, the creature must succeed at a Constitution check each minute (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Any creature taking nonlethal damage in this fashion is fatigued. This damage cannot be cured until the target hydrates properly with large quantities of water. Armor that provides 5 or more points of AC bonus or a natural armor bonus of 2 or more adds 10 minutes before a creature becomes dehydrated, as does a successful DC 15 Survival check once each hour to reduce contact with the brambles. Combining these measures imparts a period of safety equal to 30 minutes + the target's Constitution score. Any amount of damage reduction prevents scratches from the brambles, as does airtight technological armor.
All flames are extinguished. All ranged attacks are impossible (even with siege weapons), as are sound-based Perception checks. Instead of being blown away (see Wind Effects), characters in close proximity to a tornado who fail their Fortitude saves are sucked toward the tornado. Those who come in contact with the actual funnel cloud are picked up and whirled around for 1d10 rounds, taking 6d6 points of damage per round, before being violently expelled (falling damage might apply). While a tornado's rotational speed can be as great as 300 mph, the funnel itself moves forward at an average of 30 mph (roughly 250 feet per round). A tornado uproots trees, destroys buildings, and causes similar forms of major destruction.
Depending on the size of the tsunami and the slope of the shore, the wave can travel anywhere from hundreds of yards to more than a mile inland, leaving destruction in its wake. The water then drains back, dragging all manner of debris and creatures far out to sea.
The exact damage caused by a tsunami is subject to the GM's discretion, but a typical tsunami obliterates or displaces all temporary and poorly built structures in its path, destroys about 25% of well-built buildings (and causes significant damage to those that survive), and leaves serious fortifications only lightly damaged. As much as a quarter of the population living in the area (including animals and monsters) perishes in the disaster, either swept out to sea, drowned on shore, or buried under rubble.
A creature can avoid being pulled out to sea with a DC 25 Swim check; otherwise it is pulled 6d6 x 10 feet away from shore. Waters after a tsunami are always treated as rough or stormy, barring magical influence.
A creature caught in a collapsing building takes 6d6 points of damage (DC 15 Reflex save for half), or half that amount if the building is particularly small. There is a 50% chance that the creature is buried (as for a cave-in), or the tsunami may tear the building apart, freeing the creature from the rubble.
Whether from an ancient curse or fell necromancy, one of the most terrifying of all supernatural disasters is the undead uprising—the dead emerging from their graves to claim the living. This disaster can strike any area where the dead have been laid to rest, not just towns and cities. More than one blood-soaked battlefield has given rise to a legion of desiccated undead warriors.
Undead uprisings occur in waves, with the timing varying according to the underlying forces at play. The events may happen over the course of only a few days, devastating a city, or be spread out over weeks as the terrified populace cowers behind locked doors and struggles to survive. During the day, life often returns to some semblance of normalcy, as the light of day brief ly suppresses the power of the undead.
On the first nights of an undead uprising, the bodies of the recently dead rise as zombies. Those interred in consecrated ground remain at rest, but bodies left unburied or in mass graves lurch out into the streets, wreaking havoc. At first, only a few corpses are able to free themselves from their coffins and tombs, but each night, more bodies return to walk the land of the living. When dawn breaks, the dead seek safety in their graves or other hidden places. Any caught in the daylight flail about confused, as per the condition until they are destroyed or manage to stagger into shelter. At the GM's discretion, non-humanoid corpses may rise as undead on subsequent nights.
As the uprising progresses, older and older corpses join the shambling ranks of the undead. Skeletons wearing traces of long-rotted funeral garb claw their way out of graveyards and crypts, and act with a malevolence and organization rarely encountered among their ilk.
The undead remain mindless, but the magical power behind the incursion gives them the eff iciency and tactical acumen of a living army. The skeletons seek out weapons and armor to gird themselves for battle. Elite skeletal champions lead the troops, wielding magic items scavenged from abandoned graves. Eventually, ghouls and wights prowl the streets after dark as well, along with other lesser, freewilled undead.
As the uprising gathers strength, the unquiet souls of bodies long since turned to dust awaken as well. Ghosts, shadows, wraiths, and even spectres arise to prey upon the living. A handful of the ghosts might be free from the malevolent influence of the uprising, and enterprising PCs may be able to glean valuable intelligence from these troubled spirits.
The infusion of negative energy strengthens the undead within the area of the incursion, providing the benefits of a desecrate spell. Areas that were once consecrated are now treated as normal ground, and may well provide new sources of corpses for the undead armies, but hallowed ground remains inviolate.
As the undead grow stronger, the growing flood of negative energy brings the Shadow Plane closer, leaving colors muted or gray except during the brightest hours of daylight. Even those undead most vulnerable to light can move about with impunity from late afternoon to mid-morning.
If the flow of negative energy is not reversed, darkness finally claims the area, cloaking it in perpetual shadow. The entire area of the undead uprising functions as if under the effects of an unhallow spell (with no additional spell effect tied to it). Hallowed ground remains a rare sanctuary, but only until destroyed by the malevolent forces without.
Heroes who perished in the battle against the uprising return as fearsome undead generals. The few living survivors are enslaved as thralls. The area becomes a city of the dead, or construction begins if no such city existed or survived. Free-willed undead flock to this new sanctuary, and only the greatest of heroes can return this now-blighted area to the world of the living.
Lava flows are usually associated with nonexplosive eruptions, and can be a permanent fixture of active volcanoes. Most lava flows are quite slow, moving at 15 feet per round. Hotter flows move faster, achieving speeds up to 60 feet per round. Lava in a channel such as a lava tube is especially dangerous, moving as fast as 120 feet per round (a CR 6 hazard). Creatures overrun by a lava flow must make a DC 20 Reflex save or be engulfed in the lava. Success indicates that they are in contact with the lava but not immersed.
Blobs of molten rock may be hurled several miles from an erupting volcano, cooling into solid rock before they land. A typical lava bomb strikes a point designated by the GM and explodes in a 30-foot radius. All creatures in the area must make a DC 15 Reflex save or take 4d6 points of damage. Creatures under cover or capable of covering themselves (like with a shield) gain a +2 bonus on this save. Particularly large lava bombs might sometimes occur, dealing 12d6 points of damage. Normal lava bombs have a CR of 2, large lava bombs have a CR of 5.
One of the more insidious threats of a volcano is toxic gas, often escaping notice amid the fire and destruction. A wide variety of poisonous vapors can result from a volcanic eruption, some visible, some unseen. Poisonous gas causes 1d6 points of Constitution damage per round if inhaled (Fortitude DC 15 negates, the DC increases by 1 per previous save), and visible gases also function as heavy smoke. Poisonous gas clouds flow toward low ground, and are typically 50 feet high. Gale-force winds can divert gas clouds, as can high barriers—provided the gas has somewhere else to go.
Some volcanic eruptions create a devastating wave of burning ash, hot gases, and volcanic debris called a pyroclastic flow that can travel for miles. Treat a pyroclastic flow as an avalanche traveling at 500 feet per round, combined with the effects of poisonous gas listed above. Contact with the searing-hot debris of theflow causes 2d6 points of fire damage per round, while any creature buried in the flow suffers 10d6 points of damage per round. Only reality-warping magic like miracle or wish can turn aside or impede a pyroclastic flow.ERUPTIONS AND ACTIVITY
Erupting volcanoes spew ash, which can obscure vision and cause creatures to choke as if it were heavy smoke (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 444). Prolonged contact with hot ash deals 1d6 points of fire damage per minute. Clouds of ash can linger in the atmosphere, darkening the sky for weeks or even months, and leading to colder temperatures and prolonged winters. This combination of cold and lack of sunlight hurts crops, and can cripple food supplies and lead to famines. On the ground, ash buildup creates difficult terrain—not only is it slippery, but it might conceal other hazards. In heavy eruptions, a blanket of ash several feet thick may eventually blanket the region downwind of the volcano. Over the long term, however, this volcanic ash becomes fertile soil.
Volcanic tremors can cause any of the effects listed in description of the earthquake spell, depending on the nature of the terrain (Core Rulebook 275). Movement during an eruption requires an Acrobatics check. The base DC of this Acrobatics check is 10, but particularly powerful earthquakes and difficult terrain can increase it.
|Minor||9||10 feet||100 feet||100 feet/round||8d6||15|
|Typical||10||25 feet||500 feet||250 feet/round||8d6||20|
|Massive||12||50+ feet||2,500+ feet||500 feet/round||16d6||25|
When intense heat melts a volcano's glaciers or snow, a lahar results. This churning slurry of mud and debris can travel hundreds of miles beyond the volcano, devastating anything in its path. Motion alone keeps a lahar liquid. When a lahar strikes a creature, it deals the damage listed in the table below (Reflex half, at the listed DC). For creatures caught in a flowing lahar, use the rules for being swept away in flowing water with a DC 25 Swim check. Anyone trapped under a lahar cannot breathe and must attempt Constitution checks to avoid suffocation. Lahars may be hot or cool depending on the events that cause them. A hot lahar deals 2d6 points of fire damage per round to those trapped by it. As a lahar slows, it settles to the consistency of packed earth, entombing those trapped beneath. See the Cave-Ins and Collapses section on page 415 of the Core Rulebook for rules on digging out a buried creature.
Ash clouds can generate powerful lightning strikes. These strikes typically deal between 4d8 and 10d8 points of electricity damage and are particularly difficult to dodge (Reflex half, DC = 15 + number of damage dice).
Major eruptions of steam or boiling water often precede an eruption and deal between 4d6 and 15d6 points of fire damage (Reflex half, DC = 10 + number of damage dice). The radius of such bursts is typically equal to 5 feet per die of damage. Mild steam vents are as hot as saunas, and have a sulfurous odor.
Any character can wade in relatively calm water that isn't over his head, no check required. Similarly, swimming in calm water only requires Swim skill checks with a DC of 10. Trained swimmers can just take 10. Remember, however, that armor or heavy gear makes any attempt at swimming much more difficult (see the Swim skill description).
By contrast, fast-moving water is much more dangerous. Characters must make a successful DC 15 Swim check or a DC 15 Strength check to avoid going under. On a failed check, the character takes 1d3 points of nonlethal damage per round (1d6 points of lethal damage if flowing over rocks and cascades).
Very deep water is not only generally pitch black, posing a navigational hazard, but worse, deals water pressure damage of 1d6 points per minute for every 100 feet the character is below the surface. A successful Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) means the diver takes no damage in that minute. Very cold water deals 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from hypothermia per minute of exposure.
Any character can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to twice her Constitution score. If a character takes a standard or full-round action, the remaining duration that the character can hold her breath is reduced by 1 round. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round in order to continue holding her breath. Each round, the DC increases by 1.
When the character finally fails her Constitution check, she begins to drown. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hp). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she drowns.
Unconscious characters must begin making Constitution checks immediately upon being submerged (or upon becoming unconscious if the character was conscious when submerged). Once she fails one of these checks, she immediately drops to –1 (or loses 1 additional hit point, if her total is below –1). On the following round, she drowns.
It is possible to drown in substances other than water, such as sand, quicksand, fine dust, and silos full of grain.
Skull & Shackles Adventure Path
Characters unaccustomed to life on board ships run the risk of getting seasick. Such characters must succeed at a DC 5 Fortitude save or become nauseated for the rest of the day. On the following day, the character is entitled to a new save. On a success, the character is sickened instead of nauseated. On a failure, the nauseated condition persists for another day. Each day thereafter, a character is entitled to another Fortitude save. Making two successful saves in a row allows the character to recover from seasickness for the duration of the voyage. The DC of seasickness increases to 15 in rough weather, and those who succeed at a check to stave off seasickness for a day must make an additional save if conditions change for the worse. Characters with 1 or more ranks in Profession (sailor) are never subject to seasickness.
If disturbed, a 5-foot square of this mold bursts forth with a cloud of poisonous spores. All within 10 feet of the mold must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or take 1d3 points of Constitution damage. Another DC 15 Fortitude save is required once per round for the next 5 rounds, to avoid taking 1d3 points of Constitution damage each round. A successful Fortitude save ends this effect. Fire destroys yellow mold, and sunlight renders it dormant.