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Soul Pumpkins 
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Evil Genius
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Post Soul Pumpkins
Since halloween is around the corner and my sister is running her campaign with her friends through a haunted manshion since halloween is close I came up with the unique idea that they should find pumpkins that look like them and have to fight through the rest of her dungeon/mansion protecting them or die. (hinted at by a dead man reaching out for a smashed pumpkin but no obvious wounds)

Well decided to try my hand at developing it slightly more ravenloftish.... heres my attempt....




Soul Pumpkins:

It is said that there is a tree(s) that grows pumpkins in the shape of people’s heads. It shows up once a year and some even seek out the tree for various reasons. The local lore says those that have seen the tree will find their face amongst the pumpkins and it will hold their souls as long as it is lit up.

Some have sought to find their pumpkins to take it home and place in a safe location. The pumpkins are said to prolong life indefinitely as long as the pumpkin remains with you. Should you travel more than a few miles from the pumpkin it begins to age normally and so do you along with the pumpkin. After about a month the pumpkin begins to wither and fade along with your soul.
When you first encounter the tree you must make a will save against its pumpkin creating abilities or be linked to a pumpkin on the tree. A Will Save (20 DC) prevents you from being linked to the tree. After your life is linked to the pumpkin, then if it is ever smashed or destroyed will have to make another Will Save (20 DC) or die. This would be considered a death effect so things like Death Ward would make you immune to the slain part, you will still age rapidly without the pumpkin present.

If the pumpkin is left on the tree, the tree will provide the pumpkin with life and only ever appear once a year. As long as no one comes to smash your pumpkin and thus subjecting themselves to the same weakness you will live a normal life span. Though one night a year you’ll find an odd pumpkin that looks like you smiling as all pumpkins do.

The tree(s) have a guardian that guards the tree from those who would seek to destroy the trees or steal other people’s pumpkins. It’s rumored to be an old pumpkin farmer who liked to use hollowed out pumpkins to decorate nearby trees that children would go by on the way to his house when the parents were coming to buy pumpkins for food. They seemed to like it so much that he started working to make them even more entertaining, even carving the children’s faces into them. Eventually when the pumpkin’s got more life like the people nearby began to think the farmer was a necromancer or a sorcerer that was stealing their souls for demons. Superstition gave way and he was lynched by beheading. As a cruel joke they the latest pumpkin that he had been working on, upon the top of his head. The pumpkin he had been working on was his own….

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:43 pm
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
That's very interesting! So it's like a reverse phylactery - a life force burden that you have to protect as an added vulnerability. I like it!

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:58 pm
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Oh I forgot to ask, for oppinions, ideas and/or twists....

Never done something like this so don't know if DC20 is too high? I was also beginning to think maybe 1 night is too short to make an adventure out? Though It could be an event then.... don't know. xD thanks for liking the idea.

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:18 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
I also like this idea. I like how it is different from other typical concepts, but still gothic horror. The rose (or is it blood rose) of ravenloft has the same feel, maybe this could begin a series of supernatural (in effect anyway) plants that have indirect impacts on the players and is more than something else that needs "defeating". I would try to set up a pseudo fairy tale that drops some hints, but nowhere near the full story. Also give them a "red shirt" who could suffer the effects (like a guide or expendable npc) and die when his pumpkin is destroyed. Would the players take damage as the pumpkin does? Then following adventures could revolve around trying to break the ties (which sounds like it would fail) and then safeguarding these vessels, lest they shuffle off this mortal coil. Really intriguing and I first thought this would not be a good adventure for my higher level pcs. Wrong! My characters are like 8-10th level and they would charge into a horde of undead and fight, slip into Soth's keep, and laugh at a humanoid champion. But have that same character (linked to a pumpkin) and they have to worry about them as if it were their child. Oh, this is a keeper. Keeps them on their toes and makes them aware of their fragility. Good times and wacky fun.

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:28 pm
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Indeed....

If you did need something to 'defeat'

Maybe you could defeat the guardian who might be linked to HIS pumpkin. You could have the only way to kill him is to kill his pumpkin... but then what happens to all the other pumpkins? Would they all just go out? Or would they be free'd? Then I guess you could cover those who have this pseudo 'immortality' perhaps they would like to keep it that way and create rumors, to mislead adventurers to flat out defying them.

I'd imagine you could turn the idea into a high or low level adventure depending on how you wanted to stat out the guardian.... I'm kinda picturing a Dullahan or 'Headless Horsemen' but it could be anything you wanted. Hell even a Trent. xD

Glad you liked it. All from talking with my sister and coming up with a quick interesting way to throw players off their usual game. xD

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:42 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
That's our job (throwing the players off), I read the rakshasa entry and it said they can appear as beasts (partially) either as a tiger or ape (usually, I could only think of Markov). So instead of the more common tiger, it was in ape form. They had no idea and were fearing this new monster. These pumpkins might be a new twist on the Voodoo doll, god forbid a darklord who gets ahold of these. What would the effect be on a darklord (do they have souls?). Those would be the blackest ass pumpkins out there!

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:00 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Zilfer wrote:
Oh I forgot to ask, for oppinions, ideas and/or twists....

Never done something like this so don't know if DC20 is too high? I was also beginning to think maybe 1 night is too short to make an adventure out? Though It could be an event then.... don't know. xD thanks for liking the idea.


In general, the DC should be about 10 + party level, so it might be a little high for the sorts of levels where I see this as coming into play. Up to you. There's no reason why you can't have a huge CR for a minor problem - that way, you get more adventure out of it.


EDIT: I had CR; I meant DC. Sorry.


Last edited by Ryan Naylor on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:00 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
So now this cool tree is drawing all of the attention, I got ask. What is in that manor? Is it some immortal who is using the tree? Or is the manor more or less abandoned to facilitate some unleashable horror?

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:05 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Ryan Naylor wrote:
Zilfer wrote:
Oh I forgot to ask, for oppinions, ideas and/or twists....

Never done something like this so don't know if DC20 is too high? I was also beginning to think maybe 1 night is too short to make an adventure out? Though It could be an event then.... don't know. xD thanks for liking the idea.


In general, the CR should be about 10 + party level, so it might be a little high for the sorts of levels where I see this as coming into play. Up to you. There's no reason why you can't have a huge CR for a minor problem - that way, you get more adventure out of it.


Ah i see, that sounds reasonable enough for DC's. I'll keep that in mind for anything I homebrew from now on. :D

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Dark Angel wrote:
So now this cool tree is drawing all of the attention, I got ask. What is in that manor? Is it some immortal who is using the tree? Or is the manor more or less abandoned to facilitate some unleashable horror?


As I mentioned this was based off just a quick idea I gave my sister over lunch. She was telling me about her campaign she runs, and she is new to DMing so seeks 'older DM's' advice. (oddly enough both DM's she consults are Mat(t)'s)

Anyways she was telling me about this mansion she was going through and told the players they had to have at least one fear. That there was a evil guy in it controlling it, and telling me about her 'maids' that she had run into. (needless to say their downstairs contained something other than normal) They had interacted with them and thought they were probably the only thing 'normal' in this manor. Endless hallways, spiders, and the like she had thrown in there.

So throwing her a quick bone over my 1 hour lunch before having to rush back to work, I suggested a pumpkin that looked like them to show up in one of the rooms. One for each of them. The next room would be a room full of smashed pumpkins and the third (slowly leading up to their realization of why they had pumpkins with faces on them) would have someone reaching out dead to a pumpkin that was smashed with no physical signs and maybe a younger looking person. Maybe grabbing their chest or something then she could decide if it ACTUALLY was linked to them or not and watch with DM evil eyes as they tried to guard their pumpkins. Whether or not monsters would know to target the pumpkins or you have small evil toys running around with hammers.... heh.... I think would be funny to see. xD


That's the basis of where this was thought up from. Again you could probably add more to it, and say that someone was using the tree as 'black mail' or a 'soul collecter' of sorts for experiments. in that case you could probably make it a 'year round' type of thing and connected to the manor.

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:23 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
It definitely adds a "crap your pants" moment to the adventure. I am assuming one of my players would instinctively try to destroy theirs (the body would not help, really). It would send a message though!

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Well then if you wanted to be 'nice' you could have them now 'hollow' with no soul perhaps? Thus not ressable upon death? I was giving her a more 'think before you act' type of thing because her players don't tend to do that. xD She wants to slowly wean them off of that style of play i thinks. XD

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:55 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Zilfer wrote:
Well then if you wanted to be 'nice' you could have them now 'hollow' with no soul perhaps? Thus not ressable upon death? I was giving her a more 'think before you act' type of thing because her players don't tend to do that. xD She wants to slowly wean them off of that style of play i thinks. XD


Well, so am I. If it takes a few bodies to drive that home the better. I could take a page from my book and have a npc freak out and toss theirs across the room (taking damage, not needlessly dying) to emphasis the link they all share. I am tempted to toss a ghost their way that cannot be killed (or at least laid to rest) until certain conditions are met. Investigation would be needed or all would be lost. Kind of like the Awakening, too where that type of play is far better than just the typical "hit it until it falls down" style of play.

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Last edited by Dark Angel on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
I like it too! Though pumpkins grow on vines, not trees. I'm not sure if this was a deliberate choice to "weird it up" a bit or not. But the concept works just as well with a vine anyway..

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Soul Pumpkins
Gonzoron of the FoS wrote:
I like it too! Though pumpkins grow on vines, not trees. I'm not sure if this was a deliberate choice to "weird it up" a bit or not. But the concept works just as well with a vine anyway..


Indeed!

The reason I drew from the tree is because of an old Cartoon I used to watch every year because my mother had bought the movie and it kinda became a tradition that I watch it once a year.

No surprise it was called the

"Halloween Tree" and it centered around a group of kids on halloween going to their friend's house to see that 'pip' a leader type person in a band of younger kids had fallen sick and gone to the hospital but they follow his 'ghost' thinking it's actually him to a mansion, with a tree out back full of pumpkins. The ghost 'pip' steals his pumpkin even though he's set to die and allows the prolonging of his life. (Magic pumpkin actually takes him back through time to different ages and what 'Halloween' really meant back then and in different places.)

Ends with the kids finally coming to terms with pip trapped and the kids know he can't run forever so they give up 1 year of their lives each so that pip can live. (Now it never covers how much time this gives pip.... xD)

Anyways that's the original thought for it... ah that guy in the mansion so weird looking.


carapace clavicle moundshroud is quite the mouthful when your a kid. xD still is!

Image

But yeah original source of inspiration :D

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:32 pm
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