Chronicles of Ephemera
Fear, Horror, and Madness
Heroes in Ravenloft campaigns may find
themselves facing slavering monsters that can slay
with a touch, haunted by the memory of
horrendous cruelties, or exposed to alien forces
that can wrench their minds apart. The heroes can
prevail — but only if they can face their fears.
Fear, Horror, and Madness saves represent the
power of terror — a roleplaying tool to help
players visualize the hysteria that often clouds the
minds of characters in classic tales of horror. The
DM can always consider these saving throws
optional. If a player portrays the stark terror of her
hero without prompting, no die roll is necessary.
Note: Creatures without Intelligence scores
are immune to Fear, Horror, and Madness effects.
Making the Saving Throw
Fear, Horror, and Madness saves are considered
Will saves in all respects. Anything that
modifies a Will save likewise modifies Fear,
Horror, and Madness saves; anything that modifies
saves vs. fear effects modifies Fear saves.
Fear, Horror, and Madness saves all use the
same basic mechanic: a Will save against a specified
DC. Specific DCs depend on the situation and
type of check being made and are provided in the
following sections. Luck effects and resistance effects
(such as those generated by a luckstone or a
cloak of resistance) do not affect Fear, Horror, and
Madness saves; they are outside the purview of
luck and are not “active” effects that would be
resisted. Divine effects do aid Fear, Horror, and
Madness saves, however.
If a character succeeds at the Will save, then
there is no effect, and she is immune to that
specific source of fear, horror, or madness for 24
If a character fails the Will save, then the
margin of failure determines the result. Subtract
the final check result from the DC; this result
determines whether the character suffers a minor,
moderate, or major effect.
Failure Margin Effect
1-5 points Minor
6-10 points Moderate
11-15 points Major
16+ points Major, plus additional effect
(see below for specifics).
When determining the results of failed Horror
and Madness saves, the player also needs to roll
1d4 to select a specific effect.
A character who fails a Horror or Madness
save needs to make recovery checks to shake off
its effects. Recovery checks are actually just
Horror or Madness saves, usually with the same
modifiers and DC. However, succeeding at a
recovery check removes a Horror effect or lessens
the severity of a Madness effect; failing a recovery
check does not cause additional ill effects.
Characters may take 10 on recovery checks. See
“Recovering from Horror” and “Recovering from
Madness,” below, for more details.