Lets Make A Haunted House/
The Haunted House
This is the working draft of Let's Make a Haunted House. The work is done here:
You receive an intricately designed invitation in the mail:
Text of the invitation:
Lord and Lady P.B.S. Endicott
Request your presence at a
formal ball in celebration
of the marriage of their
Adelaide Henrietta Endicott
Theodore Douglas Larkin III
at noon, Endicott Manor,
Highdark Hall has been in the Endicott Family for generations. The palatial manor has a distinct old-world flavor with all of the charm and functionality of our modern 1900s. And Preston Beauregard Stedeman Endicott, the current Lord of the Manor, loves to show off his family and estate. Famous for its statues, formal dining halls, and inner courtyards, Highdark Hall also offers guests a view of the stars, a medieval weapons collection, and a well appointed gaming wing. The manor even boasts its own chapel!
The Endicotts are hosting a ball to celebrate their daughter's nuptials and everyone who's anyone is invited. Who will you meet there?
Roll 1 / corridor, 1 / undescribed room, occasionally when nothing else is happening, and more often at night. Consider keeping the same reroll result at least once, for reinforcement.
1 Cat turns around a corner. Not there if you go looking.
2 Raven caws above a doorframe.
3 Rat stares at you like ‘you looking at me?’ before scurrying off.
4 Delicate gecko skeleton on the wall.
5 Scarab beetles scatter like cockroaches
6 Bat flutters up near the ceiling like it is lost.
7 Scorpion: probably poisonous and what is it doing here?
8 Doberman dog: you think this guard dog has not yet been introduced to you…
9 Dinner plate sized spider plops down on you.
10 Terrarium filled with sand, ants and an antlion.
11 A mouse makes its way straight toward your legs.
12 Wasp nest in the corner. One buzzes your head.
1 Chamber pot, partly filled
2 Long handled brass bed warmer
3 Empty, short (4 ft tall), suit of armor
4 Soot grimed painting. Can’t tell if it is a man or a woman.
5 Painting whose face fades before your eyes.
6 Painting of the most hirsute person you have ever seen.
7 Lead toy soldier
8 Photograph of the desert and a tent
9 Fringed tapestry lightly fluttering in an unfelt breeze. Shows a fenced in unicorn.
10 Clay Grecian urn, an amphora.
11 Fine china tea cup filled with sand. Picking this up causes an intense desire for tea immediately. If this cup is offered to a ghost, they will act civilized during the drink. The cup refills with sand after tea is drunk.
12 Hollow metal 2 inch pyramid over a well preserved Egyptian coin
13 Large roll of gauze
14 Box of Lucifer’s (matches)
15 Wall has a splotch of sparse black mold.
16 Opera glasses
17 Tarnished silver tea spoon
18 Tall thin black cat statue
19 Toy leather crocodile complete with belly pouch
20 Handkerchief with a monogrammed hawk head
21 Sandalwood box containing a decapitated and preserved human hand. The word ‘thief’ is inked on the hand.
22 Silver candlestick holder
23 Vase with thorny rose stems without blooms
24 Brass dustpan and whisk. If you pick this up, you feel compelled to clean something, before you can put them down.
25 Priapistic bronze baboon fetish (Egyptian). If you have this you are more susceptible to sexual advances.
1 Footsteps stop a couple of steps after you do.
2 Footsteps on the floor above you.
3 A door creaks open or closed nearby.
4 The sound of a crackling fire.
5-8 The endless susurrations of sand moving against sand in the desert wind.
9 Hollow booming as if a stone closed a tomb
10 Sounds of an animal gnawing wood.
11 Scales slithering quickly over the floor.
12-13 KRAKOOM of thunder reverberates throughout the house. Near windows, there was a lightning flash.
14 The persistent faint sound of worms pushing aside dirt. It is everywhere, and it is driving you mad.
15 The crack of a whip.
16 An animal screams in pain. You don’t know what kind, or where from.
17-18 Pipe organ music: Toccata and Fugue in D, Night on Bald Mountain, O Fortuna, or other wild music.
19 Smell of rosewater
20 Strong body odor
21 Smell of burnt meat
22 Smell of ozone, like a lightning storm
23 Gooseflesh / goosepimples
24 Suddenly icily cold
25 Desperately thirsty and parched; you can’t even lick your lips.
1-2 Elderly man in only a nightshirt. Has no short term memory. Will escape at the earliest opportunity. Non-cooperative. Wants to go home.
3-5 Mr. Body inappropriately talks excessively about the many ways to murder people. (If you roll this a 2nd time, he’s dead, murdered.)
6-7 Dr. Lucky keeps looking over his shoulder and into adjoining rooms, and wants to stay with you. Clingy. Can talk about medical issues and the science of embalming.
7-9 Foundling is good, normal, sane, and undefiled. He won’t say anything bad about anyone else, but if you are about to enter a dangerous area he’ll warn you. Even though he can’t explain the house, he’s lived here long enough to know how to navigate it.
10 Footman Claquesous is out thieving.
11 Housekeeper Theodosia
12 Chamber Maid
13 House Maid
14 Laundry Maid - her hands are full with 2 baskets.
15 Hallboy with a white forelock. Answers to ‘Boy!’ Can be sent to fetch or pass a message.
16 Butler, well dressed in black and white, he’s cool on the surface and harried underneath. He’ll try to pass any request for help to another servant.
Maid's Dressing Room
The two wardrobes in the room contain spare maid's uniforms. During they day they also contain nightgowns and dressing robes. During the night they contain freshly pressed and laundered uniforms ready for the next day. In the pocket of one of the uniforms is a list of birthstones and their associated months, a reminder for the maid tasked with fetching jewelry to match her mistress's gown.
The order of birthstones, as per the 1800s: Garnet:January, Amethyst:February, Bloodstone:March, Diamond:April, Emerald:May, Pearl:June, Onyx:July, Moonstone:August, Sapphire:September, Opal:October, Topaz:November, Lapis Lazuli:December.
Lady's Maids - West room
Ysbeau and Mirna, Adelaide Henrietta Endicott's maids, should be sleeping in this room. However, something happened here that has spooked them. They now sleep in the Maid's Dormitory with the rest of the maids. When questioned they will say the are with the other maid's "For there is safety in numbers." They will politely inquire if you wish to spend the night in their room, but they are doubtful much will come of it. They are not happy about the situation, but would rather not bring the matter up to Theodosia the Housekeeper - or Silvie.
Lady's Maids - East room
There are two beds in this room, reserved for the highest ranking Lady's Maids in the household. The bed closer to the Jewelry Stash, is empty, and has not been slept in for months. The bed closer to the Lumber Storage belongs to Silvanire.
Silvanire, known affectionately as Silvie, was brought with Lady P.B.S. Endicott's when she married into the family. She is an old, friendly woman, with a face that would have been beautiful when she was younger. She mostly is found in the Lady's Wing of the house, traveling from room to room when not serving her Lady. She lives in fear of Theodosia, and will do what she says if the two are together. Alone, she might be persuaded to talk.
The empty bed belonged to Maud, the Lady's Maid to P.B.S. Endicott's mother. She had been with the family a long time, only to succumb to a sudden cold last spring. Her position has not been replaced within the household, though many still speak of her with respect. It was said she did not approve of what was going on in the house, though just what that was, no one could say.
The door to this room is locked, and there are only two copies of the key, one of which can be found on the Housekeeper's key ring, the other is with the Lady's Maid Silvanire. The room is unfinished, built into the solid rock. The only furniture is the built-in shelves, which encircle the room. The middle shelf, if tapped, is hollow.
There are twelve visible cases arranged in a semicircle on the shelves. The cases are set into depressions in the shelves. The cases can be removed, and can be swapped with any of the other cases. Each case is made of wood, inlaid with a single word. The cases are labeled, in order from left to right: Birth, Mourning, Formal Dance, Dinner, Supper, Walking, Riding, Travel, Presentation, Afternoon Tea, Wedding, and Church. The middle shelf hides the thirteenth case, which is labeled Sacrifice.
The cases are unlocked, and each case contains a set of jewelry which includes three necklaces of varying extravagance, two rings - one for a lady and one for a lord, one bracelet, one brooch, one tie pin, and two cufflinks.
The type of stones the jewelry is made from is as follows: Birth = Garnet, Mourning = Amethyst, Formal Dance = Emerald, Dinner = Diamond, Supper = Lapis Lazuli, Walking = Bloodstone, Riding = Topaz, Travel = Moonstone, Presentation = Sapphire, Afternoon Tea = Opal, Wedding = Pearl, and Church = Onyx.
The case labeled Sacrifice is empty except for one necklace. It is made from translucent stones of unknown origin, with a kaleidoscopic brilliance of flickering lights when held. It is set in gold so old it looks as if it could have been mined in the times of Solomon. If a piece is touched: "You feel a sense of unnatural calm and drugged peace when you hold the jewelry." If any other pieces of jewelry from this case are found, they look and act similar to this necklace.
To open the hidden compartment in the middle shelf, the cases must be arranged in the order of birthstones, as per the 1800s: Garnet, Amethyst, Bloodstone, Diamond, Emerald, Pearl, Onyx, Moonstone, Sapphire, Opal, Topaz, Lapis Lazuli.
When the cases are rearranged, there is a click and the middle shelf swings open. Alternatively, it does not take much to break open the middle shelf to find the hidden cache.
The dormitory is well-lit and spotlessly clean. There are two fireplaces, both of which howl when a strong wind blows, no matter how the flues have been closed. All the beds are claimed. Roll 1d6 upon entering the room. On a 1-2 two of the beds are occupied. On a 3-4 three of the beds are occupied. On a 5-6 four of the beds are occupied by maids catching a quick nap when they can.
A cursory examination will show that all is in typical order here. Mops, brooms, carpet beaters, buckets, cinder scuttles, chamber pots, and so forth are hung on the walls on packed in chests, etc. Most of the consumables are soaps, detergents, and vinegars. Bunches of lavender, chamomile, rose petals, daisies, marjoram, basil, milt, and other aromatics are present. Stores of soapmaking ingredients (bark ash, lard) are held in buckets. Sheaves of seeding wormwood are held in a cedar chest (the Lady believes it repels bedbugs). An old bucking basket and wooden paddles are stored here, though no longer used. A smaller brass chest holds silver polishing tools and pastes. A similar brass chests holds a variety of small hand tools, including chisels, small mallets, picks, and small wire brushes. A large lidless chest holds fine scouring sand; this chest contains about one cubic yard of sand and weighs about 3,000 pounds. It is extremely sturdy and has large ring-bolts mounted with strapping which allows it to be lifted and moved (assuming enough people are available). Underneath the chest the flagstones have been removed and a small excavation made. It holds a locked sturdy iron box that is literally packed with various types of liquid poisons held in wax-sealed bottles. The key to the box can be found in the q.v. Wine Cellar.
This chapel is covered with thick red draperies, with places for paintings that depict gruesome scenes of people being tortured in bizarre hellscapes. An enormous eight foot slab of granite serving as an altar is most prominently featured in the middle of the chapel, with thick shackles and chains embedded in its sides. The altar is varying shades of red, but close examination will reveal that its rocky surface is stained over and over with blood.
A full-sized organ takes up one end of the chapel. Some of its pipes rise through the ceiling, going further up into the home. The ghostly apparition of Alfonso Sinacore sits at the organ, and plays a lengthy, sorrowful piece, until abruptly stopping near the end. After 15 or so minutes, he begins again.
If approached during the piece, Alfonso will yell harsh critiques in Italian, but refuses to stop playing. If approached after the piece has ended, Alfonso will happily talk, describing his love of music and teaching, and speak fondly of the Endicott's, especially Adelaide. He describes a torrid love affair with Adelaide, which ended "a short time ago" after she took him down here to show him the glorious organ. He liked the instrument, but could not support her family's dark sacrifices, so she murdered him on the spot. Now he plays the last piece they ever wrote, but can't remember the ending. If he is brought the final page, he will complete the piece and feel at ease, disappearing into the hereafter.
The Lumber Storage room unsurprisingly is full of logs and cut lumber. The two alcove windows are elaborately hinged and can open outward nearly 270 degrees, fastening flatly back against the alcove walls. A steep but suitable ramp leads from the ground floor down to the storage room, allowing fairly easy, if not convenient, access. Normally the windows are locked with heavy internal crossbeams. The room is the home of Lesovik-leshy, a minor wood goblin who was mistakenly harvested with some of the larger logs. It's not particularly malevolent but doesn't really like humans, either. In the unlikely even that it finds itself in a position to do some mischief, it will do some mischief. Favorite tactics are causing bodily harm by helping a pile of wood to fall over or a log to roll or shift. Petty theft is enjoyable, as well. But the wood goblin will never willingly simply reveal itself or "attack" in the common sense of the word. It sometimes ranges into the q.v. Furniture Storage room.
Cave of the Ancient and Hungry One
The secret door from the Larder opens smoothly and quietly, revealing a twisting flight of smooth stone steps curving away into the noxious and nitrous depths. 100 feet down the steps open into an irregular cave. There is no light unless a ceremony is taking place. The smell of rotting meat and the iron tang of stale blood grows ever stronger the further into the room you go. Analysis of the pile of flesh in the centre of this chamber reveals it contains every kind of wild and domesticated mammal, torn apart with large claw and bite marks. There are no skulls. There are also no human remains here. Through the northern exit a larger, rougher cave is dominated by a dark and stagnant pool. Skulls of the larger animals sit in carved sconces around the outside of the cave.
The pool is extremely deep, but there are ledges 50 and 100 feet down where the remains of two bodies can be found. One of the bodies will be the recently sacrificed Dairy Maid. At the bottom of the pool, or in a connecting dimension, resides the Ancient and Hungry One, a Great Old One. At monthly ceremonies the Hall cultists seek the favour of their god by chants and the sacrifice of meat, living and dead. Dead animals are left in the first cave for the god to feed on, while living sacrifices are (usually) drugged and thrown into the pool. Thus far, the god has not directly appeared to the cultists, but the leader is now hoping a new passage he has found in an ancient tome will do the trick.
If the Ancient and Hungry One appears it will launch a pillar of water into the cave,dowsing all the lights in the room. The god will then sample something from everyone in the room and completely devour the thing it judges the tastiest. The god has a mouth of shark-like teeth, four claw-like arms and two large-flippered feet.
The Cult of the Ancient and Hungry One
The Cult was an extreme Celtic order, supposedly eliminated by Roman legions. However, one Centurion from Hispania protected the secret cave, and his descendants built a series of impressive mansions, churches and castles over the cave over the next two thousand years. During the Reformation the Chapel of St. Ogbert was ransacked and the last cult leader killed while resisting Henry VIII’s troops. Now a new leader is trying to raise the god to make himself rich and powerful. With the research he has done around the district and in the house itself, Head Steward Andrew Magnusson believes he should be the rightful owner of the Hall, and rules a cult of seven others by blackmail, coercion and promises of power. The Under Butler, Valet, the Parlour Maid, Laundry Maid and Dairy Maid, one of the Groundskeepers and a Verger from the church in the nearby village make up the coven. Some of the members are having second thoughts, especially after the Dairy Maid mysteriously vanishes...
As above, except that there is another cult that has been worshipping the Ancient and Hungry One continuously since ancient times. They have their own secret access to the lower cave from a wood near the hall, and worship on a different day of the month. When they find out about the other presumptuous worshippers, the true cultists begin sending avatars of the Ancient and Hungry One to consume the blasphemers in their sleep. These avatars are tiny versions of the god itself, and might be spotted disappearing into the cracks in the floors and walls when a devoured corpse is uncovered.
The Scooby Doo Option
As in the Gothic option, except Magnusson is trying to scare the non-cultists and family out of the house by faking manifestations of the god. Of course, the Mythos option might still apply, or the god may finally awaken just as the fake is exposed.
This room is cool and unlit. Three long wooden racks hold large pitchers and jugs of milk, cream and yoghurt, and tubs and boxes of butter and cheese of many different flavours and sizes. Large cultured cheeses hang from the ceiling , partially veiling the curved north-eastern wall. This wall features rough and unusual stones that can be dated back to pre-Roman times. Latin graffiti in one corner says: ‘Feed the Hungry One’. An epicure who spends ten minutes searching the cheeses finds a ‘Fromage du Rêve Doré’ Anyone who eats a slice will have a dream when they next sleep that will lead the way to a large treasure but cause annoying hiccoughs.
The ghosts of cows who died here in prehistoric times can sometimes be heard, mooing mournfully for their lost calves.
A pleasant smell of cured meat dominates this cool room. There is a single bare lightbulb (gas lamp) to light the room, turned on from a curious bronze lightswitch in the pattern of a tentacled face. Various cooking herbs and supplies are stacked on the shelves nearest to the door, with preserved meat, pies, sausages and smoked fish stored on the shelves opposite the door. Whole and half cuts of beef, pork and mutton hang along the north east and west walls. There are also chickens and rabbits, not yet dressed or plucked.
A wooden hatch in the north east corner of the room slides up to reveal a dumb waiter just large enough to fit one crouching person or six large plates stacked vertically. A hatch also opens into the Meat Kitchen to the East.
A secret door is hidden on the north wall that requires careful searching behind the cow carcasses to find. Inspection of the floor also reveals a recent trail of blood that ends with splash mark cut in half by the secret door. The secret door is opened by unlocking the keyhole in an ancient stone with a bronze key marked with a tentacled face. On the night of ceremonies to the Ancient and Hungry One the larder will be guarded by the most junior cultist, with each cultist wearing robes and carrying the bronze key to unlock the secret door. They also carry food to bring to their god. At those times, chanting can be heard from the Cave behind the secret door.
The area opens up into a cave with stalactites and rough walls. There is some glowing fungus giving the cave the little bit of light it has. The darkness helps cloak a viewer if they do not get too close.
The goblin's grotto has two different areas. Right when someone comes in is an area where the goblins appear to be very interested in a fertility statue. On the other side are goblins frolicking in the pool and hanging out on the shore.
Some of the goblins are talking about the statue. Some say a cook brought it to them and others say they took it from a high, high room. Others are talking about the shiny in the pool.
If anyone tries to take the statue, get too close or go in the pool the goblins will attack. They will talk about how the statue will help make lots more goblins.
The shiny object the goblins talk about in the pool is the key to the Pornographic Library which is also where the statue is from.
Over the years there has been a relatively constant secretive notion that at some point the Porters and Laborers will need to "rise up" and take control of "the situation". Though only vaguely defined, this has led to the secret excavation of a large weapons stash. The stash is stocked with primarily hand weapons such as swords, cleavers, daggers, and such - though a few obsolescent rifles are included. These weapons have not been well cared for and are fairly rusty and decrepit.
The Meat Kitchen is mostly counter tops to chop up and dress meat before cooking. Cleavers and knives of many sizes are on the counter tops and put away in drawers. There is also a stove and a large fireplace with a spit for when they prepare whole animals.
If someone shows up within 2 hours of a meal the kitchen staff will try to immediately shoo them away.
If they get in during preparation some of the staff are preparing meat normally and some appear to be trying to hide what they are working on. Also the cook can be heard talking about how hard it is to get meat for all these people.
If they show up and it is not time for preparation the kitchen will look like someone hastily left some meat behind on the counter. The meat does not look like any animal they have eaten before. There are also things that look like shreds of cloth and weird feet in the area to dispose of scraps.
The Root Cellar looks very typical with bushel baskets and barrels holding the contents of the cellar. There are apples, turnips, potatoes, onions, carrots and more in this room. There is only a single lamp for the cellar. It is quite dark and chilly. There is a single shelf in the back of the room containing seed potatoes that has strange scratches on the floor around it. The shelf is surprisingly light and can be moved aside to get to the room behind it.
The cesspit has been used for decades to dispose of numerous unwanted things – including vast amounts of human waste and other compostable garbage (mostly kitchen scraps). The stench is horrific, even though the four-inch venting stack (running up the corner of the q.v. Kitchen Courtyard) is working correctly. Every four weeks a crew of gongfarmers arrives from town to excavate the top four or five feet of the cesspit, though they never dig much deeper than that. In the unlikely event that the characters decide to dig in beyond a depth of two yards, they can find a huge variety of bizarre things buried in the filth (enumerated below – needless to say, everything recovered will be fouled with excrement). However, if they begin to scavenge these “treasures” from the cesspit they will inevitably offend the resident fecal spirit. The spirit is the insane incorporeal remains of a murder victim disposed in the cesspit many, many years ago. It attacks by reincorporating a physical “body” of feces and composting filth from the cesspit. Damaging/destroying the corporeal mass may slow the spirit, but does not actually harm it. Meanwhile, blows from its disgusting “fists” not only cause damage but are laden with a supernaturally potent disease (gastroenteritis, bloody flux, bloody vomit, hepatitis, abdominal cramping, high fever). It continuously babbles, though the incomprehensible semi-words sound more like watery, burbling, explosive farting than speech. The spirit will never leave the cesspit and will return to inactivity if not pestered for a few hours.
• A 1" tall lead miniature of a warrior
• A badly decayed human infant wrapped in rotting canvas
• A badly decomposed cat wrapped in rotting linen
• A bent door plate engraved Endicott
• A brass knitting needle
• A broken clay ashtray bearing the house crest
• A broken piece of stone (about 6" x 13" x 1") inscribed with ancient-looking Egyptian hieroglyphics
• A complete set of chess pieces (for white) wrapped in an old, rotting leather
• A decaying icon of Saint Brendan
• A gold wedding band
• A human skull
• A large pearl
• A large rusted padlock
• A live sewer rat (mad)
• A magnifying glass
• A monocle on a golden chain
• A pearl necklace in remarkably good condition
• A relatively fresh but otherwise unidentifiable mass of meat and connective tissue
• A rotting (and nearly illegible) book on Egyptian death rites - inscribed "Ex Libris Hackney" and removed from the q.v. Sealed Library
• A rotting leather harness with lead plates, used for electroconvulsive therapy)
• A rotting leather sack full of human teeth with gold fillings
• A rotting shoe
• A rusted and broken ancient German Calvary sword
• A rusted and ruined ancient French dueling pistol
• A rusted and ruined sword that might be recognized as nearly identical to the "Spathe Sword" in the q.v. Sword Room
• A sacrificial dagger with ancient Celtic symbols
• A sealed glass vial containing a slip of paper with the writing "...the worms ate into his brain..."
• A severed human hand in a small wood case
• A severed zombie head that still looks around and bites
• A shard of broken pottery
• A shark-like tooth from the q.v. Ancient and Hungry One
• A skeleton key with a tag that says "copy" (it doesn't open anything)
• A small rusted padlock
• A three-point deer antler with a piece of skull still attached
• A twisted pair of underwear
• A whalebone corset
• A World War I Victory Medal
• An empty bottle, etched with crossbones
• An empty wine bottle
• An enormous toothed worm (several feet long and mad)
• An intricate crystal (piece of the chandelier from the q.v. Grey Drawing Room)
• An old bronze coin
• An old Civic Service medal and ribbon
• An old ivory billiard ball
• An old, live, tear gas grenade that will go off when lightly jostled
• An old milk jug from the q.v. Dairy
• An old pipe
• An old silver ashtray inscribed "Hackney"
• An old silver coin
• An old, bent, silver picture frame engraved "C. A. Mason"
• An old, silver cigarette holder
• Both pieces of a broken ivory stake (used to kill vampires)
• Several old maid's outfits rolled up and fastened with a leather belt - they are embroidered "Elisabet"
• The lid of a snuff box, inscribed "Theodosia"
• The lower jawbone of an unknown animal
• The rotting carcass of a sheep
• The rotting front half of a medium-sized dog with the collar tag "Houndoom"
• The rusted lock plate of an old flintlock musket
Porter's Laborers, & Coachmen's Dormitory
The Porters, Laborers, & Coachmen's Dormatory is unremarkable in most respects. These six individuals are hired by the Lady of the house and must meet her standards - thus, they are all young, good-looking men, physically imposing, and blue-eyed and blonde; the Lady insists they speak only German (primarily their native tongue). They are frequently called up to the Lady's room at odd hours to "make a report" on some activity or another. Generally, they detest the Footmen & Valets (q.v. Footmen & Valet's Dormatory) for being "effete politicals". The fact that they are paid less than the Footmen & Valets may have something to do with this. Each bed in the room has two footlockers beneath - one holds mostly personal effects and "going into town" clothes; the other holds various hand tools, work boots, and "working" clothes. It's possible to find various articles of the Lady's underclothing here and there, as well as the oddment of stolen silverware from almost anywhere in the house.
- Coachman Xaver Hohenleiter is a wanted felon hiding out and passing the time by working as a coachman; he can be easily convinced to do nearly anything that sounds fun or violent, especially if it involves fire; he's generally surly and prone to vituperative outbursts of profanity
- Coachman Schinderhannes is a practices thief and escape artist, holding a job as a coachman primarily as a means for going to various upper class destinations and having a method of hauling away whatever he steals, without provoking notice or comment - his chest has a very clever false bottom concealing a considerable amount of money; he's unusually well-spoken and charming
- Porter Wilhelm Brückner is incredibly strong and exceptionally depraved; after murdering his entire family he contemplated suicide but instead fled to a menial job moving things in the great mansion - mentally unstable, he is like a ticking time bomb
- Porter Carl Großmann is a lifelong serial murderer and, worse, cannibal - he's popular among the servants for his surprising ability to always have good, fresh meat available as quite reasonable - one might even say "bargain" - prices, on very short notice
- Laborer Fritz Haarmann has a very creepy look in his eyes, as if he's looking at you like a piece of meat he'd like to carve up and then have sex with (that's actually what he's thinking, too)
- Laborer Wilhelm Voigt is the least depraved of the great house's laborers. A handsome, simple, but gifted confidence man he can seemingly talk anybody out of anything. Because of his persuasive powers he will rarely be seen actually working, instead his shift will be "covered" by somebody - anybody - else, while Wilhelm enjoys a stroll into town where he usually eats for free and then offers "private singing lessons" to suitable young ladies.
Lower Kitchen Storage
The Lower Kitchen Storage is somewhat unremarkable, save that it's never actually inspected and therefore never actually cleaned properly. Much of the food stored here falls prey to vermin. While the house staff won't eat food stored here they delight in preparing and serving these foods to visiting dignitaries and, especially, the house family. Rats are infrequent; mice a little more common; but the real problem is insect larvae - primarily worms.
To outward appearances, the wine cellar is stocked with a world class supply of exotic and exquisite wines and liqueurs. Numerous rare and exotic bottles bearing ancient labels fill the racks from floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Adventurers may rapidly conclude they are now "in the money", as it were. Alas, the robust patented lock that seals the massive iron door has a defective mechanism that will spring open if the lock plate is "whacked" on one or three times. Nearly every resident of the house knows this, except for the Lord and Lady, and nearly every resident of the house interested in having a tipple will sneak to the basement, jiggle open the lock, and take their pleasure. As outright, wholesale theft would be noticed, the favored tactics include cork and bottle drilling, cork replacement, and every other type of alcohol theft known. While some bottles are empty, most have been carefully refilled with lesser vintages or water or even worse.
To make sure the Lord and Lady are not embarrassed and the shenanigans discovered, the cook staff (among the primary thieves) never draw upon the wine cellar for state events or even family dinners. Thus, wine deliveries to the house provide everything "officially" served.
One bottle of wine bears the rather peculiar label "Escape of a Different Kind." It has a key inside, suspended by a piece of ribbon that is held in place by the cork. This key opens the poison lockbox in the q.v. Cleaning Storage.
The wine cellar is also home to an infamous drunkard, Anna Perenna, who will always be passed out and nearly insensate in a state of nearly complete nudity. She is quite beautiful and alluring. She can be roused, however, and in fact she is a spirit of considerable magical ability. If aroused, she will insist characters drink with her - and her invitation is nearly impossible to resist. She will also suggest various forms of revelry and licentiousness and as the characters become inebriated these will appear more and more desirable. Any bottle which she takes up will be filled with exquisite wine which can be passed around. Characters are likely to wake up "in the morning" with horrible, preternaturally savage hangovers (likely with help from the vamplet in q.v. Candle & Lamp Sorage), clothes removed, and limbs intertwined. Anna Perenna will also still be there - passed out once again. From painful past experience, the house inhabitants know she should not be roused - but find it quite amusing when others make that mistake.
The Tool Storage is fairly unremarkable - unless the massive southwest cupboard is moved away from the wall; it will be found to sit upon a small excavation that holds the long-dead and badly decomposed bodies of two apparent infants. The cupboards hold all manner of tools and hardware - nails, screws, hinges, knobs, hammers, chisels, saws, etc.
This utilitarian bedroom contains a bed made with military precision, fireplace with saucepan, chair and desk, a travel trunk, and window letting in pea green tinted light from some climbing vines. The desk contains a few cookbooks from around the world and a small amount of stationary. The trunk contains a few uniforms, a set of plain clothes, and a hand spade.
When it is not the hour or 2 before a meal or dining event, the cook may be found here.
The cook traveled with the lord, and is loyal only to him. The cook knows French cooking very well, North African and English cooking fair, and at least one dish from a dozen other regions well. The cook is arrogant and vain, taking the slightest insult to his cooking as a personal affront. After one meal, any guest is nearly bound to make this mistake unless they praise the food profusely. This then will convince the cook to ‘experiment’ on subsequent servings.
Under the desk is a secret panel to the poison stash.
There are easily 20 small glass bottles here, all different, but nothing is labeled. Some are empty. The cook thinks he knows what effect goes with what, but dosages are so tricky. A small balance scale and chemistry scoop are also here.
Well-traveled, the cook has a variety of poisons and drugs here to include:
Arsenic – a slow deadly poison requiring weeks of dosage.
Cyanide – a fast deadly poison acting in minutes. Smells of almonds.
Digitalis – an herb that can cause heart problems.
Fugu – dried poison fish parts that, if well measured, can induce a fake death. AKA the zombie drug.
Bacteria culture to cause lockjaw. (Robbed of the power of speech.) This is impure strychnine.
Hallucinogenic and other Drugs: (1d4 hours. Roll for effect.)
1 Every motion leaves rainbow trails briefly behind it. Fascinating.
2 It feels like bugs are crawling under your skin.
3-5 Roll extra on Random Events Animals and Senses. These are not really here.
6 Dizzy. You’ve lost all sense of balance, can’t walk a straight line, and appear drunk.
7 Everything becomes thin, distorted and wavy. Sounds sound far away.
8 You are so hot that you can’t stand the feel of clothes against your skin.
9 Everything is suddenly hilarious. You can’t stop yourself from laughing.
10-12 Insomnia tonight.
13 You are ravenously, gluttonously hungry. You need a snack!
14 Paranoia. They, someone, all of them are out to get you!
Firewood / Coal
Many years ago a street urchin named Jack knocked on the front door and begged for food or a coin. The lady of the house found him offensive, slapped his face, and sent him away. He skulked around the place, feeling the first nips of fall, and when the evening came he sneaked down through the coal chute into this room where he snuggled inoffensively in the corner (on the east side of the stairs, along the south wall of the room) and fell asleep. Several hours later he woke up to the sounds of the season's major coal delivery and within moments he was dead, buried in several feet of coal. His body remains undiscovered under piles of coal, reburied with each new delivery. His spirit persists in the north portion of the room, which is stacked deep with cut firewood. He spends most of his time staring out the basement window, looking up at the sky, and wishing he could see more of the outside. As a young ghost, he is much bullied and tormented by many of the other malevolent spirits in the house. This has caused him to become prone to violent outbursts and irrational fears. However, if properly handled he can divulge large amounts of information about the house's various evil beings - especially those living in the basement.
He normally appears as a scrawny, smelly, and filthy street urchin in rags, with an over-sized cap and feet wrapped in cloth. But he is a cheerful urchin and will speak in a heavy lower-class accent, asking visitors what they've come for - "coal or wood" - and how their day is passing. Upon any suggestion that he is a wretch, poor, dirty, or questionable - or upon any request that he perform what he considers "children's work" (menial or errand-like service) - he will fly into a rage and transform into a horrific semi-corporeal Revenant. His wrathful form is nimble and capable of moving through the cut wood or the piled coal, and he will use this to his advantage. He will lunge out at an opponent and breath out a huge, black cloud of coal dust that will cause choking and possible suffocation. Those who survive will, months later, develop a persistent hacking cough that will be diagnosed as "black lung". He will preferentially target female characters, then apparently-wealthy characters, as he recalls his unfortunate death at the hands of the wealthy lady of the house. He also has a hatred for the various younger "valet" type servants around the house - young men doing what he would like to have done in life. However, this hatred is mingled with a sort of awed respect of their station and bearing.
Candle & Lamp Storage
The stairs up to the pantry are well-traveled. The west door has a fairly obvious peephole drilled through about two feet up from the floor. The room is clean, ordered, and incredibly well stocked. The west cabinet holds thousands of candles of numerous types - everything from whale oil to common paraffin can be found, in a huge variety of colors, diameters, lengths, and even styles. A wooden shipping crate of large Easter Trudon candles remains sealed. A dozen candle molds in typical sizes are present, as are about one hundred pounds of lightly scented tallow and several spools of wick. Wick trimmers, candlesticks, followers, and snuffers are stored in boxes. Several thousand tealight candles are held in large waxed boxes. A large sheave of rushlight pithes is in a box with an iron fixture and a two sealed bottles of grease.
The east cabinet holds nearly one hundred mantle lamps, most empty of fuel and in cardboard sleeves. A variety of metal-bodied lanterns are available, including several copies of various types - oil lamps, Argand lamps, railway lanterns, candle lanterns, and kerosene lanterns are the most common. Scores of bottles of common lantern fuels are stored in ordered rows on shelves near the floor. An opened but re-sealed wooden crate of six Julleuchter is stored on the bottom shelf. Hundreds of boxes of matches are available - many are wood chemical matches of the brand Euperion, but most are wood friction matches in Congreves tins. Dozens of boxes of parlor matches in Jönköpings boxes are bundled in pages torn from Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne. A wide variety of other matches in various shapes and lengths also is found. An archaic Döbereiner's lamp is pushed to the back of the shelf, behind a random assortment of Ronson Wonderlite and Zippo lighters. A few trench art lighters are also on the shelf.
The room always is chilly, and a drapery excludes most of the light coming through the basement window. The chimney post appears to be merely the bricked back of a chimney - but does not radiate notable heat, even if the fire in the q.v. Footmen & Valet's room is burning. Several bricks can be moved rather easily, disclosing a small opening at the base of the bricked column. The opening contains an infant-sized coffin.
This is the coffin of Mała Dziewczynka, a six-year-old female vampire. She will always attempt flight, hiding, and misdirection (she is very good at all of these). If cornered and closely restrained she will explain (in simple Polish - the only language she speaks) that she's a match girl and will produce books of matches (and Polish coins) from her pockets. She'll only accept grosz or złoty coins as payment, however, nodding "no" if offered any other type of currency. It's unclear whether she realizes she's a vampire, though she knows she's not like other kids. She spends most evenings peeking out the peephole, and looking for people to go into the q.v. Wine Cellar and (hopefully) pass out, whereupon she receives a liberal blood donation. If weeks pass without a good feeding, she will sneak upstairs to the q.v. Nursery and "snuggle in" with one of the younger children for a few minutes.
Footmen's & Valets' Dormitory
The Footmen & Valets' Dormatory is fairly unremarkable. The six bed are made, but not particularly neatly. A footlocker is beneath each bed, and each locker contains clothing, personal effects, letters, perhaps a book, a few coins, radical political tracts, and a hand tool or so. The three bureaus in the room are all used for clothing and boots. The Lady of the mansion enjoys the frequent company of these men and they are all good-looking, twenty-something, physical specimens. They all have darker hair, darker eyes, and tend to be tall; the Lady insists they speak only French (their native tongue). To a man, they are afraid (never acknowledged) of the house, foster an extreme dislike (never voiced) for the Lady, an outright loathing for the Lord and Heir (rarely voiced), and are only retained by the unusually generous remuneration. During the night it is not uncommon to find Anna (q.v. Governess's Bedroom) in one or another of the beds here.
- Chief Valet: Marius - an innocent who is passionately carried about by new ideas and falls in love easily (any young woman who speaks directly to him is likely to inflame his ardor)
- Valet: Enjolras - a political radical who hopes to one day overthrow everything and initiate a new Utopia for the working class. He is much given to rambling, semi-coherent diatribes on politics and economics
- Footman: Montparnasse - a dullard who enjoys wine, women, and thievery - primarily in that order
- Footman: Babet - a lazy youth much prone to sleeping and shirking
- Footman: Claquesous - an indolent who steals liberally and justifies this by being convinced that stealing from those wealthier than he is (e.g., anybody with anything he wants) is a form of legitimate class struggle
- Footman: Gueulemer - a hot-head and petty thief, sure of his own martial skill (which is not inconsiderable)
The dining room is highly decorated, paintings adorn the walls showing battle scenes from various wars but mostly from the 16th and 17th Century. Commanding most of the space in the room is the dining table and chairs. There are Greco-Roman style statues of semi-naked women in two corners of the room. Above the table is a huge crystal chandelier that originally held candles but has been converted to electricity.
Above both fireplaces are crossed claymores and a buckler, rumour has it these are from the battle of Culloden. Anyone removing a claymore from its mount will experience an adrenaline rush as the smell of black powder and the screams of the dying overwhelms their senses. Both fireplaces are ornate and surrounded by marble ornamentation. If the inside of the west fireplace (nearest to the gun room) is inspected it is clean but clearly used on occasion, scrape marks can be seen on the 'floor' of the alcove where a fire would be placed. Careful inspection will show that the metal backplate of the alcove is hinged in the middle and can be swung on its vertical axis (like a revolving door) to gain secret entry into the gun room.
Dependent on the time you enter the dining room the table will be laid for the next meal. Regardless of the meal to be eaten the table will be laid with ornate silver cutlery, expensive glassware and fine porcelain. In the centre of the table there is a large silver Regimental centrepiece that once belonged to the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Foot.
If anyone touches the Regimental centrepiece a wailing sound will arise from the statues at both ends of the room. The statues will dismount from their pedestals take down a claymore each from above the fireplace and attack anyone in the room. The statues are possessed by the spirits of two witches burnt at Culloden for supporting the Jacobite rebellion and trying to raise spirits to aid the clans.
Most of the guns in this room are displayed on racks on one of the walls, occasional vintage pieces are displayed in cases. Cleaning equipment and ammunition is stored carefully in two cupboards in one corner of the room. A stained central table is clearly used for gun maintenance.
On entering the room what sounds like a scratchy gramophone recording of ‘Run rabbit, run’ starts to play though there is no obvious source. Moving images of animals being shot or eviscerated by packs of hounds play across the walls, getting more and more violent as time passes. At first the voice is cheerful and bright but as the song progresses it becomes increasingly strident and eventually manic. Finally it ends in a gunshot and a scream.
Optional add on: There is silence for a moment then an insidious voice says “We hunt other animals here; you had better run, the hounds are coming.” The images on the walls change to show a human figure being pursued across the local moors by a pack of hounds before it is caught and pulled to the ground. The image zooms in and the figure becomes one of the people in the room screaming as they are torn apart.
The fireplace is large but otherwise plain and unremarkable. If the inside of the fireplace is inspected it is clean and unused, scrape marks can be seen on the 'floor' of the alcove where a fire would be placed. Careful inspection will show that the metal backplate of the alcove is hinged in the middle and can be swung on its vertical axis (like a revolving door) to gain secret entry into the dining room
The secret passageway is hidden behind the two storage cupboards in the corner of the room. Careful checking around the cupboards will reveal a hole about the width of a finger in the skirting board to each side of the cupboards. These holes contain the release mechanism for the cupboards, allowing them to slide sideways and reveal the secret passageway to the Hellfire Chapel. Releasing the trigger mechanisms requires the use of some form of hard tool (bullets are perfect), trying to release the mechanisms with finger pressure will only result in sore fingers.
Secret Passage to Hellfire Chapel
The secret passage to the Hellfire Chapel is luxurious in its appearance. The walls are lined with plush red velvet wallpaper and the floor is carpeted with a thick red carpet. The lingering scents of incense and perfume pervade the air. Light fittings hanging from the ceiling all contain red bulbs housed within head shaped shades made of translucent crystal. All the head shaped shades bear faces that show either agony or ecstasy, it is hard to tell. Interspersed along the walls are manacles and collars in black leather with whips and riding crops stationed in holders near each one. By the last set of manacles nearest the chapel is an ornate knife on a red cushion. The carpet at this point is damp and sticky underfoot.
The door to the Chapel is baroque and ornate with a large brass knocker in the shape of a devils head. The knocker ring is made of two horns that arise from the forehead and sweep down under the chin. When the knocker is used the face leers and cackles at the person knocking.
The large table is a carambole billiards table with balklines; it has a bronze plaque bearing the maker's mark "C. Goodyear". The fireplace is always kept banked with coal cinders which are used to keep the table slate heated. The room is cloudy with pipe and cigar smoke. The two cabinets on the southern wall hold a variety of quality ivory billiard balls in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes, and a variety of one-piece carom billiard cues in several woods. Several markers, chalks, pawns, green visors, and packs of cards are found in the cabinet drawers. The fireplace mantle bears numerous bottles of liquors and beers, ashtrays, pipes, cigarettes, and cigars, lighters, and snuff boxes.
During the day, the room will likely be empty. During the night the room will be full of eight corporeal ghosts. The room occupants will challenge visitors to a game of "71.2 balkline" or "fantaisie classique". Any other game suggestion will be shouted down with cries of "completely idiotic" or "never here!" Due to the spirits' influence, characters can never win a game though they may lead throughout most of the play (a standard lemonade hustle). The ghosts are inveterate betters and will make increasingly hefty wagers with each other and the characters. Players who don't even up on wagers will certainly be physically assaulted - the ghosts's favorite tactic is to roughly strip defaulters down to their socks and then expel them into the hall amidst raucous laughter and well-aimed punches.
Jake Schaefer, Sr. - the others refer to him as "The Wizard" - is probably the most skilled player, though he also coughs up tubercular blood from time to time. He wears a heavy mustache.
Jake Schaefer, Jr. - the other players refer to him as "The Prodigy" - is not too far behind his father. He is always very well dressed and coiffed.
Johnny Layton - the other players refer to him as "The Diamond King" - is a skilled player who is particularly adept at defensive play and spends a lot of time putting rail markers out before shooting.
Michael Phelan - will snort loudly whenever a player selects a cue from the rack (regardless of which cue is selected). If he's asked to help make a cue selection he'll hand over his own cue and explain it's the only one worth shooting with (and then he'll pull a rack cue and snort). He makes large wagers and wears a lot of diamonds.
Mingaud - the others refer to him as "Captain" - uses an old, decrepit looking cue with a wobbly leather tip, but uses it to great effect, producing almost impossible spin effects and curve shots.
Charles Goodyear - an exceptionally wealthy industrialist with excellent billiards ability. Characters who mention the table bears his name will be warmly patted on the back and handed a rubber cue tip with an invitation to use it and see how superior it is to leather (which will set off a lengthy shouting match between Goodyear and Mingaud).
Dorothy Wise - the other players refer to her as "Cool Hand" - is the only female participant. She is treated just like one of the guys by the other ghosts and any type of comment about her biological sex are met with icy looks and silence.
"Buddy" Hall - the other players occasionally refer to him as "the road player" - apparently does not know the other participants well, and is dressed rather informally in travelling attire. He'll explain he's from "out of town" but is otherwise fairly tight-lipped. If he makes a wager the other players will ask him to produce the cash before the bet is accepted - he always produces the cash (in a dubious foreign currency).
As you enter the room you immediately notice that the senses are affected. Sounds seem muffled and vision is ‘hazy’ as though underwater. A slow sense of drowning will develop and breathing will become difficult as your airways begin to close.
The room itself is opulently decorated with plaster seashells and pebbles, interspersed between these are realistic reliefs of crabs and images of dripping water.
In one of the chairs in the room is the body of Brigadier-General Le Bestiaire. A normally corpulent man his body is bloated and shows all the signs of drowning. Closer inspection of the body will reveal his eyes are missing, inside his mouth is a small crab.
If you remain in the room for very long the crabs become animated and crawl across the floor to tear at the Brigadier-General’s body.
Two ornate oak card tables and the lingering aroma of cigars dominate the room. One of the table has an inlay of a chessboard. A drawer in each table contains chess pieces, checkers, dominoes, a couple of decks of cards, poker chips, and cribbage pegs.
The two statues in the corner of the room are stylized depictions of a king and a queen on a large pedestal, looking like either from a chess set or deck of cards.
The chess set looks like hand carved ivory and ebony with a fanciful medieval theme, the pawns fashioned into foot soldiers. The second table is an ornate replica Senet table.
A hungry spirit is bound to this room, a former gambling buddy and poor poker player and the original owner of gold and silver playing cards hidden in the king’s pedestal. The spirit will feed on the first person who wins a game in this room.
The spirit only hungers on one person at a time and it must remain in the same room as the silver and gold cards. The strength of the effect increases with each victory. Also with each victory, the effect extends beyond the room by one room for each victory beyond the first (one room beyond with two victories, two rooms beyond with three victories, etc.), so the effect on the victim may continue until they are beyond the effect reach of the hungry spirit.
The effects of the hunger are as follows:
1st victory – person has advantages on the next game played.
2nd victory – person has insight on the opponent beaten, possibly knowing a hidden secret or shame. Person also notices a hidden drawer in the king’s pedestal.
3rd victory – person has insight on the opponent beaten, possibly knowing a hidden secret or shame. The person is guaranteed to win the next game played and wants to play another game.
4th victory - person has insight on the opponent beaten, possibly knowing a hidden secret or shame. Person notices a hidden drawer in the queen’s pedestal, undetectable until now, and unlockable except by the person with the 4th victory. The person insists on playing another game and will not leave the room until he or she plays. The person is guaranteed to win the next game played.
5th victory - person has insight on the opponent beaten, possibly knowing a hidden secret or shame. The person is guaranteed to win the next game played. The person violently refuses to leave the room and continues to play games, even if solitaire. Victories are assured while played in this room.
The king’s pedestal contains an ornate deck of cards decorated in gold (red cards) and silver (black cards), another set of poker chips decorated imprinted with damask designs, and a wad of cash.
The queen’s pedestal contains a set of tarot cards.
Other effects while the hunger spirit is feeding on a victim:
Opponent sees the chess pieces as skeletons and demons instead of knights. The more infected the victim, the more pronounced the images are on the chess pieces. This is only seen by the opponent of the hunger spirits victim.
When the hunger spirit victim is playing cards against others, the face cards will appear to be tortured images. The more infected the victim, the more likely the tortured face cards will appear to be moving. This effect is only seen while playing a game against the hunger spirit victim.
The Tarot cards can reveal the hunger spirit for what it is, who it is affecting, and a fount of the hunger spirit (the silver and gold playing cards).
Hunger spirit is destroyed when the silver and gold playing cards are destroyed.
Instruments are featured prominently throughout this red colored room, with visitors invited to pick up an instrument of their choice. The piano is the main attraction, and is clearly well-used and well-loved. A violin, cello, flute, clarinet are all available, as are a number of various-sized djembes in one corner, clearly brought back from one of the Lord's safaris.
The walls are lined with bookshelves carefully and precisely stocked with music, organized by instrument, and then composition date. The largest section by far is for organ, taking up an entire bookcase. The last entry is leaning haphazardly against the book end. It is missing its last page, and is title "The Misery of the Wicked" - composed by Alfonso Sinacore and Adelaide Henrietta Endicott, the date one year prior to the date of the ball. Many of the other organ pieces are also composed by the duo.
One square section of the wall is much brighter than the rest, clearly the former resting place of a painting. If asked, staff will say that there used to be a portrait of the music tutor for all of the Endicott's family, Alfonso Sinacore. If pressed further, staff will mumble that the tutor abruptly left in the middle of the night (though no one was up for his departure)a year ago, and Adelaide in particular was devastated.
The shelves here are made of old walnut, darkened with time and coated with lacquer. Faint whiffs of tobacco mix with the scents of expensive oils and dust. Leather bound books adorn the shelves. Each cover is a different shade of red, from the most delicate of pinks, to bright scarlet, to deep burgundy almost the shade of dried blood. The furniture is covered in matching red leather, which gives the room its name.
Rich damask curtains, once a vibrant red now faded to a dusty taupe, cover the many windows. The main source of light comes from the torch held by the statue at the center of the room. Should there be only one person in the library, the statue will turn to face the person once their back is turned to the statue. There is a faint grinding noise when this occurs.
Most of the books in the library are on utterly mundane topics. Hunting, falconry, land division, rate of taxes on tenant farmers, and the like. There are a few books of greater interest. One is the history of the house itself, which lists several strange happening. Another book contains a chart of birthstones for the months, which includes a 13th month between December and January and makes mention of a strange birthstone.
The embers in the fireplace cast a bloody glow into this room. One statue is really a stuffed hooded cobra, while the other is a stuffed mongoose. One chair is upholstered in zebra skin, one in cheetah skin, one in wildebeest hide, and one stitched together from multiple rattlesnakes. The rattles hang down like a fringe and rattle whenever anyone sits in or gets up from that chair. There is one footstool made from an elephant’s foot. The walls contain a ram’s head, a rhino head, a boar head, and gazelle head. Opposite the fireplace, the floor has a ginger brown bear skin rug. The floor is made of limestone pavers. Next to the bay windows is a painting of a fox hunt, and another painting of some red coated British officer. Over the mantelpiece is a coral snake skin. On the mantelpiece is a scrimshawed walrus tusk covered in indecipherable runes. The back of one door has an empty frame labeled 'Black mamba'. This room echoes with the feel of the hunt and the hunted. (Live animals avoid this room.)
Lord Gerald's Courtyard
This looks like the African plain. It is full of tall grasses. The walls are cleverly painted to continue this illusion, and so are even the backs of the doors. 3 of the walls feel hot where the fireplaces are on the other side. A large tree trunk leans up against the 4th wall, and if moved could reach one of the 2nd floor windows. The 1st floor windows have iron bars over them. In the center of the courtyard is a water fountain. From above the catch basins of the fountain look like an eye.
Occasionally here, the bass rumblings of elephants echo amidst their trumpets and the distant fluting of a wild village. (In reality, these sounds come from the chapel below.)
A lioness lurks here watching the doors and windows. The tawny lioness blends in very well with the tall grasses. Fancying himself an amateur zookeeper or circus lion tamer, Lord Endicott keeps the lioness as a pet, and occasionally takes her out the front door. The lioness will not harm Lord Endicott and the one male servant that brings and hides meat. But anyone else is fair game for stalking.
There is a secret door between here and the Gaming Room. Opening it from this side will take some time to figure out.
The Lunar ballroom is a marbled room furnished with lacquered chairs, leather armchairs, and low-lying sofas. Various small shelves and short columns serve as holding places for drinks and purses. Plants adorn every corner between the windows. The statue is one of a bishop of the family's past, a stern figure of the XVIIth century.
The ceiling of the room is an accurate representation of the Moon, circled with various gods, goddesses, muses, and allegories. Though no places are named, any beginning astronomer can spot the circuses and the seas.
During the day, the room is empty and quiet. At night though, and especially when there is a ball going on, it becomes dangerous.
Anyone playing the piano alone at night, can call out the Things that live in the painted Moon. The room is bathed in a pale light and things grow uncorporeal. The musician finds him/herself playing in a desert plain, then the piano vanishes. In the distance a princely estate can be seen.
The estate belongs to a pair of powerful beings. If it is Crescent or Full Moon, the visitor is greeted by a Renaissance prince who introduces himself as Spirifiume. He invites the guest into a frenzy of unending pleasures. The guest is free to stay for as long as he pleases, but as the Moon wanes, Spirifiume grows wary. If the guest does not leave by then, Spirifiume will suddenly turn stern and tell him that he must now retire to his private chambers. It is now too late for the guest to go; soon after Spirifiume has left, another door opens, and out walks the Lady a figure clad in a white gown. The Lady then proceeds to rain torment and pain upon the unfortunate, for a full fortnight, until Spirifiume walks out again. As Spirifiume says, "the Moon is a harsh mistress".
[For a more Egyptian-like theme, the palace might be a pharaoh's. Spirifiume is named Iâh (the Egyptian minor god of the Moon, an aspect of Thot). The Lady is an aspect of Noût, the goddess of the dark sky.]
If it is already Waning Moon or New Moon, the guest is directly thrown into the Lady's clutches, and will not experience Spirifiume's princely delights.
As soon as the guest leaves, be it by his/her own choice or because the Lady has had enough of him/her, he is at his seat by the piano again. No time has elapsed at all. If the guest sustained the Lady's torment, he/she is broken and has aged several years.
Sometimes, when there is a ball, things grow even bleaker. When the doors are open, everything is pleasant, but when they are closed, anyone standing by the closed doors will notice that the music is turning grim and demented, and the shadows behind the stained glass grow more inhuman.
If the spectator flees, something bashes against the doors and horrible screams can be heard.
If he stays put or steps closer, the doors open in a volley, and out walk two or several guests chatting about drinks, sports, or business. Nothing seems out of place until the doors close again.
The room is at its most dangerous when midnight comes. The person playing the piano becomes compelled to play a slow, melancholy music of unknown origin. The dancers begin a pavane as the lights dim and the Moon starts glowing bright.
Suddenly, at midnight, two characters clad in black frocks appear, and the dancers suddenly part to reveal the bloodied corpse of one of them. The black figures step to it and hold it upright as a huge whitish pseudopod elapses from the ceiling; the corpse is soon enveloped and starts screaming as though it was alive, before the pseudopod retracts back into the Moon with a loud swallowing noise.
The dancers clap ceremoniously as the black figures bow and salute, then the party begins anew.
[For an Egyptian theme, the figures seem to be bidimensional, and the tentacle resembles a giant snake.]
Anyone who is caught joining the ball uninvited will also be offered to the Moon Thing unless they are wearing one of the safeguard items (see the other rooms).
The Starry Salon was first a reception area for estimated guests, but since the Lunar Ballroom was added circa 1800, it has become an antechamber to the larger room. It is designed and furnished both as a welcoming room, and a resting place for those who overexerted themselves dancing. Between balls, it has various uses.
The salon gets its name from the ancient ceiling, which was painted with stars back in the XVIIth century. The furniture in it is simple yet expensive. Other than that, the room is quite unimpressive. The only interesting feature in it, is the trolley which rests between two armchairs.
First, it is filled with drinks - mainly alcohols, though fresh, non-alcoholic drinks are added and frequently renewed when guests are around.
Second, the inconspicuous drawer in the bottom holds a complete Chinese opium set with four pipes. [i]Remember that in the Victorian era, a moderate (and private) use of drugs is acceptable as a hobby for rich people. Abuse is seen as a sign of moral weakness, rather than an offense or a health issue.[/i]
Opium has the faculty to make people more receptive to the unseen. At the GM's discretion, the pipes may allow an easier contact with the ghosts... or elicit attention from the monsters.
The Central hall is large, running 34' 3" from east-to-west and 25' from north-to-south. The east and west walls are over twenty inches thick; the north and south walls are nearly eight inches thick; this enormous central room provides much of the house's structural, load-bearing capacity. The hall is dominated by two massive iron staircases that rise from south-to-north to a ten-foot-high balcony, providing access to the second floor; then they run upwards from north-to-south to a twenty-foot-high balcony, proving access to the third floor. The room's ceiling is a full thirty feet above the floor, though a full height line runs only through the central area between the staircases. Both balconies have heavy iron railings, as do the staircases themselves. The walls are a heavy granite stone; the floor is marble; the ceiling is wooden panelling.
The ground floor features large double-doors in the south wall, providing access from the q.v. Grand Vestibule and then on to the main entrance. A matching set of double-doors in the north wall provides access to the q.v. Starry Salon and then on to the q.v. Lunar Ballroom. These two pairs of large double doors are nearly never closed, though the doors themselves are massively built from solid oak, reinforced with heavy iron strappings, and bearing excellent locks (the southern pair can be barred from inside the hall). The ground floor also has two doors that allow access to the house's two interior courtyards - q.v. Lord Gerald's Courtyard and q.v. Kitchen Courtyard. These doors normally are closed but not locked.
Beginning ten feet above the floor, and extending a full twenty feet to the ceiling, two large windows are on the west wall and two are on the east wall. These windows are 3' 8" wide and allow in a considerable amount of light from each of the courtyards, though the staircases cast shadows that make the room seem darker than it actually is. Each of these windows presents a central figure wrought in stained glass - taken together they are obviously the four horsement of the apocalypse (Conquest on the White Horse; War on the Red Horse; Famine on the Black Horse; Death on the Pale Horse). Every full moon the figures will change windows - nobody ever sees the move happen, however.
The first balcony provides access to the (second story) q.v. Upper Salon through two doors on the north wall. These doors are nearly never closed, though they can be locked. The second balcony provides access to the (third story) q.v. Front State Salon through a single set of large double doors that match the two pair of doors on the ground floor of the hall. These doors are nearly never closed though the can be closed, locked, and barred (from the Front State Salon).
The room is heated by two ground-floor fireplaces. However, the enclosed central space does not require much to stay warm throughout all but the coldest months and these two fireplaces are rarely used.
The room includes four large statues on the ground floor and four smaller statues on the twenty-foot-high balcony; all statues are placed against the south wall.
The ground floor statues are atop labeled pedestals that bear the inscriptions (west to east): Pain, Struggle, Confusion, and Decay. All four statues are in cast bronze, covered in verdigris, of nudes at about the age of twenty. Pain depicts a man holding both hands over his face and apparently weeping, shoulders slumping. Struggle depicts a man in a low crouch, arms and hands wrapped over a bowed head, his muscles taught. Confusion shows a woman tentatively pointing to the east but looking back over her shoulder to the west. Decay shows a young woman looking upward, weeping, with both hands apparently broken off about the wrists.
The balcony statues are smaller and stand on abbreviated marble mounts. The statues are of delicately carved hardwood and highly polished. On the west is Jezebel, intently looking away from the window to her left; on the east is Draga Mašin, intently looking away from the window to her right. Next to Jezebel is Isabella of France, holding a fireplace poker with a snarling leer on her face. Next to Draga is Anula of Anuradhapura, holding a teapot and smiling demurely.
The entire north wall of the room presents a single massive painting applied on the plastered surface. It is entitled "The Terminal Point of the Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria". The eastern half is dominated by shattered battalions of heavy cavalry: dazed horses and dying knights are strewn about; their pennants (red crosses in blue fields on white flags) are trampled in the gore; and those who are mobile are fleeing. On the west side intact battalions of leather-clad pikemen stand triumphant in front of a brooding, heavy castle of black stone. The central figure is of a man in full gothic plate with a wicked demon mask thrusting a two-handed sword through the breast of a kneeling, supplicant knight with a red-cross-on-white surcoat. The murderer's page stands a pace behind holding a lance vertically; its tip flies a long pennant inscribed "World Without End".
On the remainder of the walls hang several lesser portraits - due to the staircases, doors, and fireplaces, most of these portraits are fairly difficult to view closely. They depict: Catherine Monvoisin, Zu Shenatir, Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, Charles Domery, Luísa de Jesus, Gilles Garnier, Elizabeth Báthory, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Sophie Charlotte Elisabeth Ursinus, Tarrare, Mary Bateman, György Dózsa, Alice Kyteler, Boone Helm, Anna Maria Zwanziger, Vassili Poyarkov, Giulia Tofana, Alexander Pearce, Gesche Gottfried, Gilles de Rais, Dorcas Kelly, Peter Stumpp, Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperguer, Captain Thomas Jeffries, and Delphine LaLaurie.
People who stand on the top balcony may hear muffled shrieking and thumping noises seemingly coming from directly overhead. People who stand near the west wall may hear eerie, muffled music seemingly coming from the courtyard. Note the Central Hall is one of the busiest places in the entire mansion - day or night.
The main entrance is gained by ascending a massive iron staircase that ascends to a platform, or landing, that is five feet above the terrain. The platform passes above two smaller descending staircases that lead to the q.v. Basement entrance. The staircases have sturdy railings - the ironwork matches the work on the staircases found in the q.v. Central Hall.
The Grand Vestibule serves as the primary entrance to the mansion for typical visitors and dignitaries. It is not used by staff or service persons. Access is gained into the room through a single enormous outward-opening door that is 4' 9" wide and nearly twice that height. The door is made from massive vertical oak planks tied crosswise with thick iron straps. It mounts to four sturdy iron hinges that are countersunk into the stone framing. The door has a sturdy and complex lock of excellent craftsmanship. It also has three large iron bolts on the interior. A slot one the door can be opened to accept the pass through of small items and a small opening at eye level can be used as a viewing port. The slot and the port can both be covered over with iron plates that can be bolted closed. The room has three other exits - two small doors that lead to the q.v. Breakfast Room and q.v. Housekeeper's Quarters. These doors, too, are exceptionally sturdy and can be locked, bolted, and barred from the other side. The main exit from the room is a huge set of double doors discussed in the q.v. Central Hall.
Four large south-facing windows allow in a substantial amount of natural light. The winds include cut-and-colored glass highlights that add an occasional rainbow light flare to the interior. Like the main entrance door, these windows are framed by four thick stone pillars that are carved in the Corinthian style. These pillars extend from ground level bases for twenty-five feet into the air, where they support the (third floor) q.v. Grand Balcony. They give the house a colossal, magnificent appearance that will surely impress visitors with permanence, affluence, and strength.
The room is heated by two fireplaces in the north wall. These are well provisioned with cut aromatic wood and coal, and will be used frequently when the weather is colder. The interior walls of the room are plastered and painted white with light rose highlights. The floor is a light wood parquet pattern covered by a thick, plush carpet. Too, a six-foot-wide running carpet extends in a straight line from the main entrance to the main exit.
The room is furnished with two sitting chairs and two large writing tables. The chairs are uncomfortably straight and unpadded; waiting visitors are not seated in much comfort. The writing tables have blotters; ink and pen; an oil lamp, and complex, wind-up desk clocks that show the time, date, and astronomical trivia. Drawers hold a variety of writing papers and envelopes, silver letter openers, matches, lamp wicks, and a few other routine oddments.
The west desktop has four fine, leather-bound Latin books: Ovid's Ars Amatoria; and Abelard's Theologia Summi Boni, Theologia Christiana, and Theologia Scholarium. A drawer holds leather-bound English copies of Pynchon's The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption; Defoe's Moll Flanders; Kollár's On the Origins and Perpetual Use of the Legislative Powers of the Apostolic Kings of Hungary in Matters Ecclesiastical; Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom; Milton's Areopagitica; Cleland's Fanny Hill; and Shelley's Frankenstein.
The east desktop has four fine, leather-bound books: Sappho's Fragments (Greek; variorum); The Shabuhragan (Persian); The Sibylline Oracles (Greek; variorum); and The Apocryphon of Ezekiel (Latin; variorum). A drawer holds leather-bound copies of: Miczyński's Zwierciadło Korony Polskiej (Polish); Flaubert's Madame Bovary (French); Boccaccio's Decameron (Florentine); and Voltaire's Candide (French).
The room has two large, stylized portraits - one over each sitting chair. They depict Theodora (on the west) and Justinian I (on the east). Theodora's portrait has a brass plate with the inscription "Avarice & Heresy (527-548)"; Justinian's portrait has a brass plate with the inscription "Lust & Plague (527-565)".
The room has four large marble statues, one in each corner. The northwest statue shows Hippolytus, feet tangled in reigns even as he is trying to rise from the ground, one hand extended toward the door leading to the Breakfast Room. The southwest statue shows Bisclavret during transformation into a werewolf, his face turned skyward in a grimace of pain. The northeast statue depicts a medieval plague doctor holding a mace and a lantern; rats crawl across his feet as he peers toward the double doors leading to the Central Hall, mace ready to strike. The southeast statue depicts the Syrian goddess Enyo, holding a spear and a whip - she is looking intently toward the main entrance, as if guarding it.
It is claimed that if a large fire is kindled during the late evening of April 13 each year, an apparition will appear in the east fireplace. The ghost is that of middle-aged woman who writhes in agony, shrieking, in the flames for several minutes before staggering out into the room and, engulfed in flame, runs out the main entrance - passing through the door if it is closed. Although she leaves a cascade of embers and sparks they too are ghostly and do no damage.
The Kitchen Courtyard is part of the Servants' Quarters, but borders on the main hall and is in view of several rooms in the upper levels. The bushes there are thicker than in lord Geralt's Courtyard, in order to hide the servants' going-ons, yet still make for a pleasant sight from above.
[i]The courtyard stands above the Root Cellar and Cesspit. On the Ground Floor, it has doors to the Central Hall (West), Kitchen (North), and Housekeeper's Quarters (South); the Servants' Hall (East) has only windows.
In the second story, the Sewing Room (North), Third Story Balcony (West), Puce Bedroom (East) and Lady's dressing Room (South) have windows on it.
In the third story, the Cavalier Drawing Room (North), Rose Bedroom (East), and Green Drawing room (South) also give a view on the courtyard.
A four-inch diameter clay pipe runs up the length of the southwest corner of the courtyard - it vents the q.v. basement Cesspit.[/i]
This courtyard is not kept as tidy as Lord Geralt's, therefore small items which are lost there can go unnoticed for a few days. For each D10 minutes spent looking in the bushes and grass, one may find one of the following (D100):
01-10 a misplaced shard of glass or metal, causing a light wound to the researcher.
11-30 nothing, and the gm may rule that the courtyard actually holds nothing else.
31-40 a small pair of scissors which either fell from one of the bedrooms or from a maid's pocket. Can be used as a concealed blade.
41-50 add your item here.
61-70 a child's toy.
71-76 a silver cigarette pouch.
76-80 a small kitchen knife.
81-85 an expensive lighter which intricate carvings. These carvings can serve as a pass in the Lunar Ballroom.
86-90 a letter that was blown by the wind from one of the bedrooms (content gm's discretion).
91-00 one of the missing jewels.
This room is very clean, almost too clean. The bed is rarely slept in, and has perfect hospital corners. The rest of the room is just as neat, and utterly impersonal. There is not a ribbon out of place, nor photographs of her family. Theodosia is the sort to know when someone has rifled through her belongings.
Theodosia, the current Housekeeper, has not been with the Endicott family long. She is neither old nor young, but dresses severely and wears her make-up in such a way as to seem older than she is. She is strict with the younger maids, and any who seem to form attachments are let go with no references.
Theodosia has a key ring with keys to every room in the house. She has patiently found keys long thought to be lost. She never sets the key ring down, even sleeping with it. It is looped through her chatelaine and protected by some very sharp scissors.
It is rumored Theodosia killed the previous Housekeeper in order to get hired here. The old Housekeeper did die mysteriously, but she was also an old lady, having served three generations of masters in the house. It is true is that Theodosia is here to find something, and can often be found in random rooms closing drawers. She sleeps in snatches - a hour here, a half-hour there, but she is a light sleeper, and has a temper when roused.
The chest pushed into the corner is completely full of packed clothing, well folded and sorted, and apparently undisturbed for quite some time. Also inside is a small journal that enumerates various daily household tasks, interspersed with dated notes about specific sexual acts and monetary amounts. Tied up with the journal by a piece of string are a dozen dated, sealed envelopes (they are unopened but hold cash) - the dates and monetary amounts correspond exactly with the journal entries; the envelopes bear the imprint of the Lord's stationary. The chest is shut with a padlock, but it is not locked, and the lock has a brass plate engraved with the name Elisabet.
The scullery is well lit, with a giant sink, large enough for giant soup pots, against the north wall, and two tables for general use in the middle of the room. Various cooking utensils (ladles, serving spoons, etc.) hang from the walls.
The door on the east wall leads to a set of steps reaching down to the main lawn. The door is unlocked, and sits partially open. When opened or closed, it creaks loudly.
If someone opens or closes the door it creaks loudly. Ten seconds later, a raven lands on the top stair, deposits a dead rat, and flies away.
If the door creaks from being opened or closed again, a raven again appears ten seconds later, deposits an empty bird's nest, and flies away.
If the door creaks from being opened or closed a third time, a raven again appears ten second later, deposits a 1 karat princess cut diamond covered in blood, squawks angrily, and flies away.
If the door creaks from being opened or closed a fourth time, a raven appears ten seconds later and attacks the nearest character with its claws. The raven will continuing attacking as long as any character is accessible and it is able. If the door is open, the raven will not enter the house. If the door is closed with no one outside, the raven flies away. If the door creaks from being opened or closed again, squawking is heard in the distance, but no further ravens appear.
This long, narrow room is dominated by a long wooden plank table surrounded by 18 rough wooden chairs. A side table sits against the eastern wall on both the north and south ends of the room. Above the side tables are 4 rows of brass bells, each with an engraved placard below listing a separate room of the manor. A freestanding cupboard rests along the southern wall, next to a grandfather clock. A large fireplace is carved out of the western wall. The mantle of a striking polished wood that has been waxed to a lustrous sheen that reflects and refracts light, casting odd shadows on the walls of the room.
- Close inspection reveals a non-working mechanism in the grandfather clock, which has stopped at 2am.
- Next to the door leading to the servant's hall, a black fire iron is stuck into the floor so deeply that no one can remove it.
- There is a strong fire in the hearth, but it immediately dies if anyone stands directly in front of it. Stepping away caused it to ignite again and burn as if it has never faltered.
- When anyone enters the room, a bell will ring, but none of the bells can be seen moving as if rung, and the sound cannot be triangulated to a single bell.
- If anyone is in the room for more than 15 minutes, the bell to the sealed back 3rd floor bedroom rings. Closer inspection finds that the clapper has been removed (due to this, no one is able to make the bell ring manually).
There are 5 wardrobes here. Only 1 may be open at a time. If another is opened, the previous one will close.
Smelling of ancient forest, if someone enters this wardrobe the back opens up between 2 entwined apple trees. To the east is a light; it is dusk and the sun is about to go down.
This forest is deserted for 20 rough miles. At the light are a creek, 3 small buildings, and a hillside covered in herbs and vegetables. One building is a woodshed with a root cellar extending back into the hill, one is an herbalist’s lab, and the third and largest hut contains a bed, table, kitchen and fireplace. A cronely grandmother lives here. The buildings are surrounded by wolvesbane and garlic.
If players stay in the forest at night, they will likely encounter wolves (50%). This is even more likely if anyone is injured or sick (70%). There is a pack of party number + 1 wolves, who will attack by tripping the weakest, slowest, or injured. There are also 2 werewolves, one of whom is related to the crone. These will attack if the wolfpack is defeated, the crone is harmed, or 1/10th of the month (3 days) during the full moon.
The crone is plump, old, with a bent back, long nose, peasant garb, and a large hairy mole that looks like a spider on her face. She smells of exotic spices. She’s surprisingly hardy, but may act feeble to see if she gets sympathy.
The crone is a master herbalist. If a potion needs to be made, she can make it, if you are friendly to her. Some potions may require a quest for one last ingredient such as a gem, or personal item. Piss her off though, and if the random item that’s poisoned does not get you, she may deliberately slip you a dangerous dose. Calling her a witch is a sure way to antagonize her. She makes her own alcohol, at least one bottle of which is poisoned.
Being alone as often as she has been, she’ll try to be hospitable, but frankly she’s a bit odd and grumpy. She can see through the average lie, and will resent being lied to if she catches it. She can always use a day’s hard labor at gathering wood, chopping wood, hunting small game, watering the garden, or backbreakingly gathering vegetables for drying. A skilled story teller could try entertaining her. Curing her grandson of lycanthropy would be risky but certainly worth a reward. (It would probably take at least a week before she’d mention this grandson, and your visit will start to get awkward after 3 days.)
One of the mansion’s maids occasionally visits her ‘aunt’, the crone, for seasonings and herbal remedies in exchange for kind talk, gossip, cloth, stolen metal kitchen implements, and maidly duties.
Each time this wardrobe is reentered, a day passes on the inside. But moments pass on the outside. This door can NOT be opened from the inside; the entwined apple trees simply fail to transport you.
French maid outfit
13 all white linen tunics
Blue and gold stripped skirt
Top hat and jackal headed cane
Ladies hat with obviously long dried roses as decoration
Oriental smoking jacket
A fancy dress 100-200 years out of fashion
There are a variety of coats here, particularly fur coats. The coats behave normally unless someone enters the wardrobe. Then they seem to cuddle up a little too closely, grapple the player, and suck their blood.
The 1st time this appears empty. If it is opened again though, roll on random events, with items possibly appearing inside the wardrobe.
Towels, aprons, & sheets. A black table cloth. A wool blanket.
During the day the Pantry is a perfectly normal room, with a large window to let in the light, and well stocked shelves. Servants are constantly bustling in and out, as the servant's stairs run through the room.
The door from the Servant's Corridor into the Pantry is locked every night. While this is inconvenient for the servants, it is vastly preferred in case the... thing... that haunts the stairs should get out. Each night starting at eleven there is a slow thumping on the stairs between the Pantry, Linens, and State Linens. It sounds as if a body is being dragged down the stairs. Should anyone try to use the stairs between the hours of eleven in the evening and four in the morning, they are pushed down the stairs.
The shelves of this room are lined with food which is too expensive to leave in the care of the lesser servants. Only the Housekeeper, Cook, the Steward, Butler, and Under-Butler have keys to this room.
Roll 3d6 to determine what is currently on the shelves:
1) Expensive wheels of cheese
2) Crocks of butter
3) Lidded salt cellars
4) Barrels of beer
5) Fine wine
6) House-made brandy
Any items not on the shelves are in a woeful state, and need to be restocked, much to the anger of the Cook and the distaste of the Steward.
One of the type of items has gone rancid. When any container which holds that item is opened, a terrible odor is emitted. Roll 1d6 for what pours out:
3) Finely powdered mold
4) Smoke, which causes coughing when inhaled
6) Viscous black goo
This corridor is finished like most others with a rich wainscot of paneling covering the first 42" of the wall and the rest painted in fine shade of pale grey. Numerous family pictures hang on the wall. The pictures are plentiful and a little bit disorganized. They show many images of normal family life and include babies, children with Santa, kids splashing in the rain, the family playing cricket on the lawn, a family sitting down to breakfast, and many more.
Each time someone enters the corridor they will catch a faint but likely happy aroma. These include:
| Fresh-Cut Grass
| Freshly-diapered baby
| Summer Rain
| Fresh Pot of Coffee
| Bread warm from the oven
Any character who smells a smell here feels better about things.
Mistress's Bedroom & Secret Passage to Attic Laboratory
This room's door will always be closed and locked. The Mistress's Bedroom is quite posh but is decorated more or less like a cheesy brothel with much velvet and tassels, and deep red and magenta with thread-of-gold highlights. The west bureau is full of extravagant gowns and clothing that could be worn in public; astute characters may note that the dozens of pairs of shoes are not all the same size. The east bureau is full of lingerie and various sexual devices ranging from run-of-the-mill to hardcore sexual torture. The various "locking" devices have keys that normally are found in the desk of the q.v. Lord's Office. The windows are covered with three curtains apiece - a light, diaphanous layer; a normal drapery layer; and a heavy "black out" layer. A large mirror is affixed to the ceiling above the bed. The secret door to the Secret Passage is exceptionally well concealed and further obscured by heavy wall hangings (that are on all the walls to muffle sounds). The fireplace is well stocked with aromatic woods and coal. The mantle is much encumbered by numerous framed pornographic photographs of several beautiful women in various lewd poses.
The Heir's Cabinet has several pornographic books (removed from the q.v. Attic library). The desk drawer is locked, though the key can be found in q.v. the Heir's Drawing Room. If carefully searched, a small iron box full of marijuana and a glass pipe can be found inside the fireplace flue. A spyglass sits on the shelf next to the west window. Careful inspection of the north wall will reveal a peep hole has been bored through to the secret ascending staircase.
If forced or opened, the desk drawers contains:
- Sophocles' Oedipus Rex (Greek), Electra (French), Aeschylus' Oresteia (French), and Euripides' Orestes (German)
- A heavily marked copy of Freud's Dostojewski und die Vatertötung (German)
- A handwritten journal full of monetary tallies and notes on poisons
- A dagger
- A sealed jar full of stray hairs (mostly gray) and nail clippings
- A bottle marked "Poison" which is in fact full of Prussian blue ink
- Several explicit sexual letters from "Andre"
- Several small skulls of rodents and one skull of a cat
- Several pieces of women's underclothing
There are two statues in the room, a matched male and female set of nudes in bronze. Both are covered with a draped sheet; the male statue also is "wearing" a belt strapped around the middle.
Grey Drawing Room
The Grey Drawing Room is a shadow of its former self. The female staff make a point of avoiding the room, and will take a longer route even when going through this room would be shorter. The male staff are not affected. The room not kept locked. Once inside, the room is depressing, reflecting more than the current state of neglect. The rosewood baseboards and sideboard have not been polished or dusted, but more than dust hangs in the air.
There is a mirror above the fireplace to catch the light of the chandelier. The chandelier has seen better days. Cobwebs cluster between the crystals. It has not been lit in a long time. The mirror is horribly tarnished. Sometimes a weeping figure can sometimes be seen reflected in the mirror. It is impossible to tell if the figure is male or female, thanks to the state of the tarnish. The female servants insist it is a woman, when asked. The male servants have no opinion.
One wingback chair is to the side of the fireplace. It is the only piece of furniture without a slipcover in the room. The chair is covered in pale grey silk with floral patterns of silver set into the weft. The silver has tarnished, making the flowers seem dead and black. Should any female character sit in the wingback chair, the sound of loud weeping is heard with faint hints of organ music in the background. If she stands up, the sound goes away. Men do not hear the weeping if they sit in the chair.
Anything silver taken into the room immediately tarnishes.
The Foundling’s bedroom is part bedroom, and part cabinet, the private retreat of the foundling. There is a scent of fresh air here. Aside from the obvious bed, desk, workbench, windows and fireplace, the ‘statue’ nearest the window is a clown outfit perfectly balanced on a rack such that the mask will turn upon even the slight breeze of the door opening, while the other statue is a poseable fencing dummy. A foil lies nearby next to an empty vial labeled “Holy Water”. The foil has “Invictus Dei” etched on the blade, and detects as a holy weapon if the player can tell that.
Books include: English Birds, Natural Geology, How to Draw, Beginning Architecture, a Latin textbook, an English to French dictionary, Book of Common Prayer, and King James leather bound bible. These then have examples on the shelves and bench to include: 20 rocks labeled on a card, a dozen blown eggs all different, 3 different types of bird’s nests, a stuffed cuckoo bird, a stuffed dove, a sketchbook of birds, a journal of bird sightings for the last year, an older sketchbook of still lifes, portraits and landscapes demonstrating a growing skill, a dozen arch types made out of toy wooden blocks, and one incomplete or scattered full circle arch made from fine orange sandstone blocks flat on a board.
If this latter arch is completed and stood up, a yellow light will flash and a beetle will come through bearing a tiny scroll. The scroll contains hieroglyphics that ask ‘Who, where, when?’ The beetle will attempt to return in a minute. Assume a curious Egyptian priest is on the other side. If the gate is left open, they may peer through or send more trained animals through, particularly at night. The connection can be broken by disassembling the arch. Reestablishing the connection may change the personality on the other side.
(One window can see the secret passage in the lord’s office. Assume the foundling knows this.)
Heir's Drawing Room
The Heir's Drawing room smells heavily of stale tobacco and a dozen Meerschaum pipes (and cases) are scattered on the fireplace's mantle. The north wall features several excellent but crass paintings of female nudes. A pile of mathematical textbooks is shoved under the north chair. Two once-fine fowling pieces are leaning in the northwest corner behind the bureau - now their bores are pitted and dark. The burea is full of various oddments of clothing, mostly sitting in a dishevled pile with the door shoved closed. A key is hidden on top of the bureau (it opens the desk drawers in the q.v. Heir's Cabinet).
Careful inspection of the east wall will reveal a peep hole has been bored through to the q.v. Lord's Office. Careful inspection of the north wall will reveal several peep holes have been bored through to the Foundling's Bedroom, thought they have all been filled from the far side with stuffed rags.
The Heir's Bedroom is decked out in a weird mish-mash of finery, all of which clashes when taken together. It is quite apparent that the staff are rarely, if ever, allowed in because the room is in shambles and have an extremely unpleasant odor of decay and filth. Both fireplaces are full of ash and cinders, spilling out onto the tiles. The bed is merely a pile of heavily stained bedclothes. The southwest bureau is stuffed full of soiled clothing, all heaped in a jumble.
The desk is piled high with various books and magazines on mesmerism, galvanism, anatomy, and hypnotism. A massive leather-bound volume entitled "Experimente in der Menschlichen Vivisektion durch den Herophilus und Erasistratus" occupies the central portion of the desk - it is heavily annotated and extensive illustrations, with notes translated into French, have been carefully reproduced onto a sheaf of nearby papers. Intermingled with all this are several pornographic books, several books on Vodoun, numerous explicitly sexual letters in several different handwriting styles, a plethora of tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine containers and pipes, candle stubs, pens and ink, various coins, and several old syringes. Two heavy keys can be located in a leather bag; they are tied together with a small braided length of what appears to be human hair.
The two statues are cast bronze, depicting Castor and Pollux. Castor, to the northwest, has been outfitted with a strange leather harness and helmet, bearing numerous wires and electrodes, all hooked up to a formidably large battery pack (fully discharged) sitting on the floor. Pollux, to the northeast, has been dressed in a bra, slip, and dress, and sports a wig of long, black hair. The statue's face is covered in poorly applied makeup.
The door is flanked by two massive brass-bound, cedar trunks. The west trunk contains a jumble of surgical equipment, hammers, knives, a profusion of ammunition, a few old revolvers, and a large quantity of towels soaked through with dried blood. The east trunk has been nailed shut in addition to being locked with two heavy padlocks (the two keys are in a bag on the desk). If forced open a noisome stench billows out; it is found to contain a human corpse wrapped in a waxed tarpaulin. The corpse is quite old and nearly mummified. It appears to be a middle-aged female and bears the unmistakable signs of extended torture. She is wearing the shredded remains of a maid's outfit embroidered with the name Elisabet. She still wears a fine chain around her neck bearing a key that fits the (unlocked) padlock to her chest in the q.v. Housekeeper's Quarters. Also in the chest is a cardboard box containing a key and matching padlock, along with a handwritten receipt itemized "RUSH: key duplication" and "fitted padlock". The price noted is exorbitant. The key has a tag that says "copy". This is all wrapped up in a page of grotesquely explicit pornography apparently torn from a book. The key does fit the padlock, but also fits the attic's q.v. Pornographic Library sturdy lock; it is a duplicate made long ago from the original (currently "long lost") key now found in the q.v. Goblin's Grotto.
Lord's Dressing Room
The room is sparsely furnished, but what is there is lavishly carved mahogany with tasteful silver inlays and heavy silver fittings. A massive wardrobe dominates the northern alcove. It is full of tailored and beautiful clothing which would be worth a fortune - except it is all supernaturally tainted with an indelible odor of rotting flesh. A variety of cufflinks, stud sets, fine watches, rings, and tie bars are held in a series of smaller padded boxes. These trinkets are apparently quite valuable but handling them for appraisal, or - even worse - wearing them will make the bearer's skin crawl. If persistently worn over an hour or more they will cause the bearer's skin to take on a ghastly greenish pallor. Longer exposure will cause a cadaverous look to come upon the face and, eventually, a malevolent odor of decay to seep from the body.
The two statues are cast in fine bronze and each is about four feet tall, standing on a two-foot marble pedestal. Both statues show men who appear to be musicians. The eastern statue shows a man holding a musical score and a director's baton. If examined, the score can be determined as the opening pages of Die Moritat von Mackie Messer from Die Dreigroschenoper (Brecht and Hauptmann, 1928). The western statue shows a man holding a closed violin case with a reproachful look on his face. If the piano in the ground floor Lunar Ballroom is used loudly to play Die Moritat von Mackie Messer, and if the 2nd floor Balcony and Salon doors are open, the statue holding the musical score will take a bow, and the statue holding the violin case will smile and open the case - which is found to contain a quite valuable violin in exceptionally fine condition.
Occasionally eerie organ music can be faintly heard coming through the wall to q.v. Lord Gerald's Courtyard. The music is disturbing though faint; it will never trigger the statues to respond.
Everything about the Lord's Office is imposing and designed to instill fear and unease in anyone standing in front of the lord's desk. The room is sterile and immaculate. The two statues are fine, matched, white marble renderings of Saint Homobonus and Saint Evilasius. Homobonus holds a bag of money in one hand; Evilasius holds a thumbscrew. The fireplace mantle is in fine white marble as well - only a large mantle clock sits atop the copious mantle, however. A red area carpet sits in front of the desk (three other carpets are held in the q.v. Secret Passage - one orange, one green, and one blue). The expansive south windows of the room are quite decorative with numerous facet-cut inserts that are designed to cause visual flares at nearly any time of day - flares that make it difficult to face toward the lord's chair. They have drapes that will never be closed during the day. The north windows do not have inserts; they do have light coverings that will usually be drawn in the day, and heavy (almost quilted) coverings that can be drawn to muffle (nearly eliminate) occasional organ music that seems to emanate from q.v. Lord Gerald's Courtyard.
The chair itself is massive, leather covered, and comfortable - with a high back and angular brass fittings. The enormous oak desk surface is bare, with inset silver and mahogany accents. There is a central panel that can be removed to reveal a small viewing port that uses a series of lenses and mirrors to display a top-down view of the q.v. Breakfast Room, below.
The desk itself is spacious and its many drawers of ledgers make it quite obvious the lord is engaged in extensive business dealings that span the entire world. The top, center drawer holds to loaded revolvers and a dagger, as well as pen and ink, sealing wax, and a signet ring. The top left drawer holds an electronic headset and small panel that allows the lord to listen, via hidden microphones, to several areas in the house, including:
Ground Floor: Dining Room, Starry Salon, Grand Vestibule
2nd Floor: Mistress's Bedroom, Upper Salon, Lady's Dressing Room, Lady's
Boudoir, Lady's Bedchamber
3rd Floor: Empty Office, State Antechamber, Front State Salon, Rear State Bedroom, Front State Bedroom
The top right drawer holds several cryptic and several encrypted letters which suggest the lord belongs to multiple secret societies. It also holds a keyring that has the key to the door of the q.v. Mistress's Bedroom and the key to the door of the q.v. Secret Passage, as well as assorted keys to handcuffs, restraints, and so forth, found in the same room. The lord's last will and testament can be found in the desk - it explicitely denies all wealth and property from passing to either the Lady or any of the Lord's offspring; considerable amounts are awarded to several dozen women, but the bulk of the fortune is to be defaulted over to a series of corporations with banal names. Also in the desk is a hand mirror and a basic self-care kit (nippers, clippers, combs, files, toothpick, etc.).
Secret Spy Passage
The Secret Spy Passage entrance is well concealed though the door can be relatively easily opened without a key. The passage is narrow and ends in a well-positioned spyhole looking into the q.v. Lady's Dressing Room; three other well disguised spyholes peer into the q.v. Portrait Hall. The butler is familiar with the passage and spends much time peering into the Lady's Dressing Room.
The five windows in the portrait hall extend from the floor to the ceiling, allowing substantial light into the room. Three heavy display panels run down the centerline of the room; these extend from the floor to only a few inches short of the ceiling. The panels are made of blonde maple. All six sides of the display panels bear artwork; the north wall and the middle segments of the east and west walls also bear artwork. Two sculptures are located in the southern corners of the room. The four massive pillar surfaces in the room have been directly decorated with fresco paintings of horrific scenes apparently taken from (or at least inspired by) Dante's Inferno. The walls of the room are finished in blonde maple panelling.
The southeast sculpture is actually a vertically mounted eight foot length of ash trunk, with several protruding branches axe-cut to a length of only a few inches. The ash wood is heavily stained with ancient, dried ox blood. The trunk is incredibly ancient and was once used for many, many years - when still a live tree - in Celtic fertility sacrifices.
The southwest sculpture presents a peculiar, stylized nude woman with an over-long neck and torso; she is kneeling down and holding a nude male infant in a presentation pose as if offering him to the viewer. It is carved from African leadwood and highly polished, having been used for perhaps a hundred years or more in Namibian fertility rituals.
The room walls hold traditional portraiture and landscape pieces, including a central, large 12' x 8' landscape showing Highdark House itself (surrounded by a mob of pitchfork-and-torch-wielding peasants) - it somehow seems the most cheerful art in the whole display. The remaining landscapes show a variety of bleak and lifeless scenes, nearly all rendered in muted, dark tones. The various portraits are rendered in a variety of styles, none of them working favorably for the subjects. Lines are angular; colors jarring; and imperfections exaggerated. The portraits and landscapes have been done by dozens of artists over at least eighty years (most have a note of provenance glued to the back of the mounting). The excellent framing of these pieces uses a variety of wood frames, typically left in natural wood colors. The portraits extend from floor to ceiling and are carefully arranged to make the peepholes from the q.v. Secret Passage almost impossible to notice without a deliberate search.
One of the most disturbing portraits shows an infant with a large dog, laying next to each other in a sitting room in front of a fire. The scene is entirely normal - except for the rapacious, preternaturally intelligent look in the dog's grass green eyes.
The western display panel holds only death masks (on north, south, and west surfaces), displaying about 100 individual masks. Careful genealogical and biographical study (taking numerous days) will reveal these masks are predominantly taken from the mansion's family line, extending back multiple generations. The masks are not arranged in any particular order that can be discerned, though they almost all have an inset card on the inside noting a name and a date. The older masks are characterized by a variety of quite ugly individuals that all have a vaguely and curiously piscine look to them.
The middle display panel holds an extensive collection of archaic and obsolete surgical instruments and devices (most of fearsome appearance and dubious utility). On the south surface most of the items are edged, hooked, or have various gears and screws - and are primarily made of metals. On the north surface most of the items are glassware (many of the bottles remain partially filled). The north surface also holds, at eye level, a series of twenty-five larger specimen bottles that contain a variety of parasites, each labeled with a Linnaean classification, and the name, date, and details of their extraction from a human host. The specimens are fixed in yellowing formaldehyde; most of them are large worms - but some are yet more disgusting.
The north surface of the eastern display panel has a matched set of eighteen smallish paintings of various sea monsters attacking sailing ships at sea. Most of the monsters are octopoid or squid-like; most of the sailing ships are breaking up or clearly foundering. All of the paintings are of the same size and in the same style; they are framed alike and spaced equally in three columns and six rows. The backs of each portrait hold an envelope containing a handwritten document purporting to describe the "historical event" in considerable detail, as received from named survivors, etc., that is displayed in the painting. The letters are signed by the individuals offering eye-witness testimony, as well as bearing notarization and witness signatures. Most of the documents are quite detailed and long (running to perhaps fifty or more pages in some cases), and they are all at least fifty or so years old.
The eastern display panel has only a single item on its southern surface - an enormous painting titled "Der heimtückische Mord an unserem geliebten Märtyrer Mata Hari". It shows a beautiful woman, oddly dressed only in a bejeweled bra, an ornamental headdress, and armbands, standing daintily in front of a heavily pocked wall and smiling demurely at a firing squad of French soldiers dressed and equipped as Cuirassiers of La Grande Armée.
The Sewing Room is being used as a children's sitting and visiting room. The large bureau on the north wall extends nearly to the ceiling and is securely locked (the key is worn by Theodosia, but she doesn't know where it is used - see q.v. Housekeeper's Quarters). The bureau holds bolts of cloth and spindles of thread, needles, scissors, and other sewing notions. It also holds, buried at the bottom corner, the corpse of an infant girl who was playing hide-and-seek, hiding inside, when it was locked up years ago. The underside of the heavy sewing table is extensively marked with extremely violent and graphic drawings executed by Laurel (q.v. Nursery). Normally, the room will be fairly cluttered with various children's things.
The Nursery is exceptionally busy. A plethora of standard supplies - toys, clothes, bottles, diapers, powders, etc., is available. The room is decorated in pink; the curtains have small animal decorations. A crib is placed in each corner, and each crib holds two infants. Four children's beds also are placed in the room, and each bed is used by two children. The sixteen wards are tended by an overworked staff of four governesses - two live in the q.v. Governess's Room and the other two are living in the q.v. Puce Bedroom (both of these Governesses are in advanced states of pregnancy) - see those rooms for descriptions. The q.v. Blue Drawing Room has been temporarily converted into an infant sitting and dressing room, and the q.v. Sewing Room has been temporarily converted into an infants' play area. If questioned about the parentage of any infant or child, each Governess will likely give a different answer - the simple fact is that none of them is over-much concerned about who belongs to whom, and any visitor that desires a visit with any ward will be accomodated in the q.v. Blue Drawing Room. If "pinned down" in a conference, the governesses will eventually determine that any child (all the children) are the offspring of the Lord and the Lady. The Governesses have long ago given up any semblance of education or behavioral correction; they do their best to keep their wards clean and fed; discipline is limited to a strictly enforced 8:00pm bedtime - though any child may be in any bed and any infant in any crib. During the day, individual children or infants may be found in the q.v. Sewing Room or almost anywhere in the entire Lady's Wing (excepting the Lady's Bedchamber, Linens, and the secret passages.
Infants (several months to about two years old):
- Julianna the Creepy Baby is seemingly a normal female infant but something about her is simply and persistently wrong... off... creepy... Because of this she is shunned by nearly everyone, which suits her just fine. She often will be found naked.
- Isabelle the Undead Baby is exceptionally thin and inactive. In fact she died through neglect long ago, and is now an undead zombie - but nobody has noticed. She is clean, dressed, and seemingly well-behaved. But stinks of decay.
- Amanda the Emotionless Toddler is exceptionally beautiful with long flowing hair. She will always be immaculately dressed and scrubbed clean. She almost never speaks and is totally devoid of all emotion, positive or negative.
- Patricia the Robot Baby is an artificial lifeform with an exceptional likeness to a real being. She is such a good imitation, in fact, that the governesses have never noticed the tiny joints and other imperfections that would reveal her under a close scrutiny. She is packed with sensors, recording units, and transmitters. She occasionally cries in a repeitive, mechanical method. She will not take a bottle.
- Zoey the Oracular Urchin is a toddler who wandered into the house one day and was mistakenly sent up to the Nursery instead of being turned away. She likes it here but has a disturbing habit of making lengthy oracular pronouncements in a deep voice, polysyllabic words, complex meters, and advanced rhyming patterns. Her parents - countryside peasants - continue their fruitlessly frantic search for her.
- Lilly the Changeling is a non-human species of doppleganger who was swapped out for the real child several months ago. The actual human toddler was sent down to the q.v. Hellfire Chapel and suffered horrific abuse. Lilly is approaching the age where her taste for human flesh becomes overpowering. The governesses have noticed her unfortunate tendency to bite the other children.
- Laurel the Artist will always be found with pockets full of crayons and various scraps of paper that are covered with the child's drawings of horrific scenes of murder and dismemberment. She currently is producing a series of images dealing with fatal farming accidents.
- Sally the Scratching Baby is covered in infected skin lesions and self-inflicted scratches. She wears mittens but has chewed through the fingertips. In addition to self-scratching, she enjoys scratching the skin off anything and pursues this interest with a single-minded focus.
Children (about two years to about eight years old):
- Brooklyn and Boston the Siamese Twins are joined at about the hips, with two legs but four arms, etc. In fact they are not Siamese twins or even humans at all, but a colony of about forty individuals of a species of ectomorphic alien that lives in a colonial fusion. They are studying humanity with the goal of ultimately colonizing the planet. Because of their extremely odd (one might even say "alien") behavior, the governesses have mostly concluded that Brooklyn and Boston are mentally defective.
- Mechanical Mona actually is carved from fine wood and would properly be classified as a puppet. She wears a floor-length dress with long sleeves and a high neck, wears gloves, and always wears a face-concealing bonnet. She keeps her puppet's strings and control bar tied into a bundle and concealed under her skirts. She will never look directly at someone, instead demurely looking down (hiding her face in her bonnet). Her behavior is mistaken for extreme shyness but in fact she is simply trying to avoid detection. Her only wish is to become a real boy (she is gender dysphoric) and she has a strange fascination with crickets.
- Rebekah is the quietest child in the area and will rarely be seen. She is very shy and introverted and spends all of her time hiding. If physically pulled into the open she will begin screaming uncontrollably and shaking with fright. In point of fact, Rebekah actually is the biological offspring of the Lord and Lady - but she will never admit this to anyone.
- Rachel is the oldest child in the Nursery area, at nearly nine years old. She always carries two creepy dolls, a boy and a girl, that demonstrate an offensively correct physical anatomy. Her primary preoccupation is inappropriately touching visitors and questioning them closely about their sexual perversions, using, however, the highly euphemistic sexual language of a child. Her overtly sexualized behavior is entirely alarming. She is frequently found in the q.v. Daughter's Boudoir.
- Gemma the Cute Ghost Girl is a rare commodity - a benign ghost that is polite, well-mannered, and very cute. She is inordinately concerned with her physical appearance and loves to gossip. She has an infamously poor memory, however, and by the end of a conversation has already forgotten the beginning of it. The governesses are vaguely aware that there is something "off" about Gemma, but would laugh off any suggestion that she might be a ghost.
- Abby the Evil Orphan is blue-eyed, blond-haired, and cute as a button. She initially comes across as a "diamond in the rough", but in fact she doesn't even belong in the house. She is the daughter of a long-departed housekeeper who abandoned her on purpose. Annie is, simply, evil - in every way imaginable. She tells lies and cheats and steals. She hurts younger children on purpose and delights in torturing animals. In private and with younger children she has a foul mouth and a foul temper. And she has an uncanny knack for causing trouble but appearing to be entirely un-involved. Lately she has been thinking that she would like to commit murder. She is frequently found in the q.v. Daughter's Boudoir.
- Anna the Addict is a scrawny girl with nearly transparent skin and (if examined) numerous injection scars. She is heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol and spends much of her time sneaking throughout the house. She knows where all the passages, unlocked cupboards, and medicinal supplies are kept, and partakes liberally of anything available. Once she's drugged for the day she will crawl back into a Nursery bed and spend many hours nearly motionless, preferring a window view.
Blue Drawing Room
The Blue Drawing Room usually will be a complete disaster area with toys, used diapers, and bottles strewn about. During daylight hours there usually will be several infants or children from the q.v. Nursery playing in the room. During night hours it usually will be empty, though Rebekah (q.v. Nursery) may be hiding here.
The Puce Bedroom has been converted, temporarily, to a bedroom for two governesses. There is not a bureau in the room so, curiously, large piles of clothings and belongings are found along the eastern wall. The sitting couch is obviously well used; the desk and chair less used. The statue in the room is made of a deep red mahogany and is as horrific as it is peculiar - an enormous anthropomorphic flea, standing on its hind legs, dressed in a tuxedo jacket and tophat, with a leering sneer on its face. An apron has been tied around its waist to partially obscure a priapic protrusion. The two governesses who live here are incestuous lesbian sisters, Christine and Lea. Separated at birth and unaware of their relatedness, their sexual relationship started years ago. Subsequently discovering they were siblings did not cause them pause. Both are pregnant and their typical conversation involves speculation of who the father or fathers is or are, and who is further along. Favorite candidates are the Lord or the Heir or a basement laborer.
Christine is pregnant with twins, both will be born with horrible physical deformities and die within hours of birth. Lea is pregnant with a hybrid monster - half human and half demon - who has been foretold to ring in the end of days. Both women have learned their progeny's future fates through the pronouncements of Zoey the Oracular Urchin (q.v. Nursery) and believe them, though they are hopeful they will somehow find a way to change things. Despite this rather weighty news, both sisters remain upbeat and positive.
The Governess's Bedroom provides the living quarters for two women, neither of which is happy with that fact. Marjane is thirty-two, thin, a virgin, and kindhearted. She has a hacking cough from advanced tuberculosis, which she tries to hide. She will always be dressed in a trim governess's uniform with infant vomit stains over both shoulders. She rarely leaves the Lady's Wing and holds the traditional "Nightime Nanny" shift, sleeping during the day. Anna is forty, plump, and much disappointed by life. She has a domineering streak and doesn't hesitate to use the paddle on recalcitrant children. Although never married, she will frequently talk about her (fictional) husband who lives "down in the basement with the other men" (Anna, a semi-former prostitute, doesn't hesitate to pick up some extra funds by swapping sex for money with the "men in the basement"). Marjane and Anna work opposite shifts so they don't have to spend too much time together. The bureau is divided directly down the center with a six-inch "gap" between the two women's belongings. Curiously, both women sleep only on the southern half of the bed, insisting the north half belongs to the other one.
The Daughter's Boudoir is commonly used for various illicit activities in the Lady's Wing. The "secret" passage is widely-known but never discussed. With a sturdy door that can be keylessly-locked from the inside, the Boudoir is frequently inaccessible. Common shenanigans may involve:
- From the q.v. Nursery: Rebekah (hiding), Rachel (exploring her sexuality), Abby (mischief), Anna (injecting), Lilly (eating raw meat), Sally (self-mutilation), Mona (self-maintenance)
- From the q.v. Governess's Bedroom: Anna (prostitution)
- From the q.v. Puce Bedroom: Christine and Lea (sex)
Note that Rebekah is, technically, the formal owner of the room.
Lover's Secret Passage
When characters walk through the passage there is a 25% chance they will hear ghostly whispers of trysts in various rooms at certain times, such as "Meet me in the Kitchen Courtyard at 10" or "Rocaille Room, 3, don't be late." If they hear a whisper, there is a 75% chance it will be followed by an equally ephemeral kiss, caress on their cheek, or soft sorrowful sigh.
The door to the Lover's Secret Passage is well hidden in the seams of the wallpaper in the room, and is quite difficult to spot. The door is not locked, as it is presumed to be too well hidden. The hidden door to the Lady's Bedchamber is hidden behind a rack for airing the linens. The linen cabinet by the wall to the Lady's Corridor also opens from the corridor, so that the servants need not enter the room to get fresh sheets, which is useful should they be working at night. Hidden between the bed sheets are sheets of music.
The door from the Lady's Corridor into the Linens is locked every night. While this is inconvenient for the servants, it is vastly preferred in case the... thing... that haunts the stairs should get out. Each night starting at eleven there is a slow thumping on the stairs between the Pantry, Linens, and State Linens. It sounds as if a body is being dragged down the stairs. Should anyone try to use the stairs between the hours of eleven in the evening and four in the morning, they are pushed down the stairs.
Rear Sealed Bedroom
This room's door is locked. The outer casing has been removed and plaster, loose and crumbly, has been lodged into the gap between door and jamb. The door has been whitewashed, but is in the process of being restored to its original condition.
A servant is attempting to clean the door. If he sees or hears anyone approaching, he will try to slip away without being seen or heard, accidentally leaving the bucket of emulsifier behind. He will return when guests are gone and continue to scrub the door with a brush.
If cornered or approached quietly, the servant will stop working and stand facing the guests. He will try to take his leave as politely as possible. If forced into conversation, he remains polite, but obviously troubled/nervous to be speaking to guests. He will provide the following information:
- His name is Mr. Cranlon and he has worked for the family for his entire life. Currently his official title is head groom.
- Cranlon's current task is to make the room habitable by a dignified guest. He doesn't know if any dignitaries plan to stay in the room, that sort of thing is not his business to know.
- This room was sealed two decades ago and the lord of the manor has decided that it is time to utilize the room again.
- He remembers that this entire wing was sealed to try and save money during lean times. (this is a lie, but it is what he has been told to say)
Inside the room:
All of the furniture in this room is of a design popular 25 to 30 years ago. The room contains a four poster bed with moth-eaten draping, a small wooden writing desk and chair, a French Armoir, two ornate rugs, and 3 tapestries on the north wall.
1) The Claymore... a bloody, but very ornate sword lays in the floor in the middle of one of the oriental rugs. The blood is congealed and mostly dry, but NOT decades old. If the hilt and pommel are cleaned you can see intricate engravings and small gems set into the piece. If picked up carefully, the outline of the sword is clearly visible in the dust layer of the rug. (i.e. Though the blood is not 30 years old, the sword looks to have lain here for long enough to have dust settle around it on the rug.)
2) The windows are boarded up, but 3 of the large north-facing windows have large tapestries hung to cover them. Two of the tapestries depict scenes of a fox hunt. The middle tapestry has a mandala pattern with complementary colors and overlapping swoops and swirls that draw the eye...
Anyone looking at the tapestry for more than 5 seconds will be mesmerized, unable to speak until they touch the middle of the pattern. This obsession most likely will lead to the movement of furniture for the afflicted person to climb upon to better reach the center of the tapestry. When close enough to the center to touch it, the room will have a cold breeze blow through, seemingly coming from the window on the other side of the tapestry. This has a chance (40%) of blowing the tapestry forward to touch the closest person. Touching the tapestry has a 50% chance of making a person lose their balance and fall into the window. The individual will appear to fall through the window. A moment later the individual will be laying in the bed, asleep, with no memory of what happened. If checked, the window is boarded up, glass still intact, and not open.
The rear cabinet's door has been reinforced with transverse iron bars at the top and the bottom. Four through bolts from the door's corners pass through holes in the iron bars and are secured with iron cross pins. Thus, the door can be opened inward only if it is unpinned from the hallway side. A slot with a sliding iron plate has been built into the door, allowing smaller objects to be passed through the door without opening the door. The room's window is actually bricked over inside, and if viewed from the outside will be seen also to be barred with an iron grating. Likewise, the fireplace has a heavy iron grating bolted over the opening. This leaves the interior of the room light-less and stale. Even from the hallway, the room reeks of feces, urine, and body odor. Knocks on the door are typically met with copycat knocks from inside the room. If the slot is left open for several minutes a pair of deformed human hands will start shoveling out clumps of feces.
For decades, this room has been locked. It contains a hugely deformed humanoid of monstrous proportions and faint intellect - in fact the oldest son and first child of the Lord and the legal heir of the entire family fortune. But nobody likes to talk about that - and only a few people are aware of it. He is incapable of speech and has an explosively violent outlook on life, long insane because of his ruthless confinement in absolute squalor. He is fed a few times a week with indifferent food stuffed through the door slot. On occasion he will pile feces out of the door slot. Any bright light will daze him. What furniture remains in the room is barely recognizable and has mostly been reduced to fragments. He does, however, retain and wear the original signet ring of the family.
Bedroom (west side of Corridor of Screams)
Bedroom - the door is locked (the key is worn by Theodosia, but she doesn't know where it is used - see q.v. Housekeeper's Quarters). The room is covered in a layer of dust and cobwebs, obviously un-visited for many years. The windows are covered with heavy drapes, and the south window is further blocked by having the room's small bureau pushed in front of it (the room's original large bureau has been relocated to the q.v. Rose Bedroom). The fireplace is cold and grated. Two old, exhumed coffins are pushed against the north wall. The coffin lids have been hacked in twain lengthwise; the coffins have handfuls of communion wafers, garlic cloves, and mirror fragments liberally scattered within. Several shovels, a woodcutting axes, and a pick lean in the corner. The floor is covered in now-dried muddy boot-prints.
The bed is made but heavily stained with old, dried blood and bodily fluids. Atop the bed are two vampires, a lord and a lady in ragged, decrepit matched finery. Both of their heads are severed, their mouths stuffed with communion wafers and garlic, and their lips sewn (mostly) shut - their eyes staring motionless into space. They each have a long, wicked sword-bladed silver crucifix piercing their heart and transfixing them to the bed. Both are shackled hand and foot with silver manacles. A heavy silver needle, still threaded with catgut, and a blood-caked sword (missing from the q.v. Sword Room) are tossed to the side of the bed.
A velvet-lined, fitted chest with a Bible, a crucifix, vials of garlic, stakes of wood, stakes of ivory, stakes of silver, and several bone-handled, silver-bladed daggers, sits open on the floor. Nearby is a old, hand-drawn map showing a nearby region of countryside with a cemetery, and two side-by-side graves marked in red.
The entire room is dusty and everything in it appears ancient - except the vampire corpses which appear fresh and new (though covered in dust), and give off the faintest odor of roses.
- Prof. Hackney’s apartment
It is said that the ghost of an Egyptian princess haunts the third floor’s West Wing: and it caused the death of an archeologist already.
- Meet prof. Hackney, our esteemed guest
The Southern rooms of the third floor’s West Wing, now part of the Sealed Wing, were once occupied by prof. James Reginald Hackney, a well known and esteemed archeologist with a specialization in egyptology and an interest in esotericism.
Although he wasn’t a member of the Endicott family, he had been invited to reside with them as long as he wished, so he ended up to take up residence in the mansion as a renowned guest for years: the Eastern bedroom overlooking Lord Gerald’s Courtyard, the Front Cabinet, the Egyptian Room, the (now) Sealed Library and the (now) Empty Office were all given to him for his exclusive use.
Housing such a famed guest was a matter of standing for the Endicott family indeed, as well as an access to prized esoteric knowledge: not only were Hackney’s studies well-known in all the world but he was also a versed guest; moreover, unwittingly to him, the subject of his studies and the souvenirs he brought back from his frequent diggings in Egypt drew the head of household’s attention.
It was inconvenient indeed that one night Hackney was suddenly killed by a heart attack: actually the professor, who had just turned his sixties, was in good health, thanks to both the open-air life he had led during his diggings and the salutary strolls he took daily through the country nearby. Nobody could explain why he suffered a heart attack that, as the coroner stated, killed him instantly: yet something must have terrified him as they found him the next morning as petrified, still seated at his desk in the (now) Empty Office, his grey hair dyed to a snow-like white.
What the household knew - and probably someone in the mansion still does - was withheld and never told to anyone: the professor saw a ghost, the same ghost that is still haunting these rooms, as he was writing at his desk. Seeing it pass through the wall and hearing its sighs and groans was such a shock that it killed him on the spot.
- A ghost from the ancient Egypt
When prof. Hackney started living in the mansion, he was especially fond of one room: the Egyptian cabinet, that he furnished himself with several objects he found during his several diggings at the pharaohs tombs. Among these there was a magnificent sarcophagus of an Egyptian princess, her mummy included: it was so well preserved that it looked like it had been just crafted, so polished and bright the gilding was. He put it in the North-Eastern corner of the Egyptian room so that everyone entering that room had to see it as soon as he opened the door.
It was the sarcophagus of one princess Mumarptarat of the Middle Kingdom, who lived around 1900 b.C. and killed herself with a poison-coated dagger through the heart after being refused by her lover, an ambitious social climber who chose to marry another woman as she would give him better chances at seizing a position of power.
Unknowingly to the professor, one day the head of household, taking advantage from his absence, stole the mummy and replaced it with a copy, taking the original in another room, where it is still stored and used for perfoming the unholy rituals practiced by the household in that blasphemous place.
Every time her mummy is desecrated, Mumarptarat’s sobbing ghost appears, looking for shelter in the only familiar place she knows: her sarcophagus. Yet she finds it already occupied by the copy, so she ends up haunting the adjacent rooms: it looks like her ghost can’t drift away too much from the sarcophagus.
This was the reason why her ghost appeared in the professor’s office and caused the heart attack that brought him to his death.
- The Front Cabinet
This was the room prof. Hackney reserved to his free time activities, mostly reading, discussing his latest theories and discoveries, drinking and smoking the smelliest tobaccos with acquaintances: a faint smell of smoke still persist today despite so many years of disuse.
The room is in the same state of abandon as the bedroom: it’s dark, as the curtains at the window are shut, the floor is covered with a dusty and rotting carpet, here and there are signs of rats presence.
The furniture here includes four armchairs with two separate footrests, a long couch, two small tables with lamps, and a bureau secretaire that, although originally of a fine quality, is now a chunk of rotting wood: apart from a mass of damp papers, the only recognizable items that can be found in the secretaire’s drawers and compartments are an ivory letter knife, an encrusted silvery inkwell, a nipped pipe and several smaller boxes that still hold different qualities of tobacco and matches.
The walls are paneled in wood and dark green velvet: the curtains at the window are of the same dark green velvet. There are a few cheap paintings hanging on the walls, none of which particularly attractive: they depict generic neoclassical and georgic scenes.
Worthy of interest is instead the motto the professor himself painted above the door, on the corridor’s side, after he was invited to reside at the mansion: «Omnia mea mecum porto» («I carry with me all my belongings»), written between the portrayals of an Egyptian sarcophagus and a statue of Osiris, the same that are now standing in the Egyptian room.
Wood Drawing Room
Once inside the oak paneled doors cleverly blend into the oak panels on the walls. It is impossible to tell where the doors are located once they are shut. Knocking on the walls does not help, as there are bricks cleverly located between the panels of the doors to make them sound the same as the walls. It is somewhat of a joke among the staff to take a guest to the Wood Drawing Room, close the doors, and see how long it takes the poor soul to start calling for help. Some of the more jaded members of the family suggest a game where a group is placed into the room blindfolded, and they must figure out how to get out, without outside help.
Bedroom (east side of Corridor of Screams)
- Prof. Hackney’s Bedroom
Somehow, after Hackney’s death and the consequent sealing of this wing, the professor’s belongings were left intact in his bedroom: this is why, apart from the dust and the other signs of obvious neglect, the chamber is furnished as if it were still used. Only the precious items and cash were stolen, more likely by greedy servants than by the Endicott family: after all, they had already taken what they wanted from the professor.
When opening the door, two things immediately catch the senses: darkness and the sweetish smell of a long-abandoned room. The reasons for both are pretty clear: the curtains at the windows are shut, thus little light comes in even by day; and the room has been kept locked and unused for several years now, ever since its occupant’s demise.
The wooden floor creaks when it’s walked over, even where a crumbling carpet lies, and the light-yellow-and-cream striped wallpaper is unsticking here and there, where damp blisters haven formed; the floor is also covered with dust and dirt. There are obvious signs of rats presence: light trails in the dust, ordure, gnawed items and legs. If properly lighted up, a mouse hole can be spotted in the North-Eastern corner: just inside the hole, a ring with a translucent stone of unknown origin can be found (please refer to the Jewelry Stash in the Basement for further information).
A big bed occupies almost all the Southern wall, the canopy over it is torn and is starting to rot, as are the linen and bedcover on it; there’s a night table with a lamp on each side.
A closed wardrobe (still with the professor’s clothes inside, already stripped of the little valuables their pockets might have held), a chest of drawers and an armchair with a separate footrest facing the fireplace make up the remaining furniture; a framed full-figure mirror hanging on the wall to one side of the door and a portait of the professor to the other complete the decorations.
- The Egyptian Room
This was prof. Hackney’s personal little museum, the room where he stored and displayed his collection of Egyptian antiquities, his favorite objects among the hundreds of items he recovered in his diggings at the pharaohs tombs.
Unlike the bedroom and cabinet, this room has clearly been accessed recently: the distinct aroma of a tangy incense still lingers in the air, the censer and a box of matches are laid on the fireplace. Also, a faint daylight comes in from the sealed library through a full-length window that replaces the masonry in the upper wall section; even the empty floor, although unswept, looks tidier than the bedroom’s and cabinet’s.
As soon as the door is opened, a sarcophagus placed in the North-Eastern corner catches the eye: it’s the sarcophagus of one princess Mumarptarat of the Middle Kingdom, who lived around 1900 b.C. and killed herself with a poison-coated dagger through the heart after being refused by her lover, an ambitious social climber who chose to marry another woman as she would give him better chances at seizing a position of power. The sarcophagus gilding is so polished and its colors so bright that it looks like it has been crafted recently.
In the North-Western corner a huge staute of Osiris is placed: it’s so tall that it almost touches the ceiling; an embroidered housecoat is hanging on its crossed forearms.
In the Southern half, two glass showcases are displayed on both doors’ side: they hold several ancient Egyptian items, from jewelry to ornaments to everyday items. The doors are open.
Two rusty khopeshes are crossed and hanging on the wall over the fireplace, just below the window.
- An uplifting story of the sarcophagus and the ghost
Taking advantage of a prolonged absence of the professor, one day the head of household opened the still sealed sarcophagus, took the mummy it contained and replaced it with a poor copy, that still today is inside the sarcophagus; then he brought Mumarptarat’s mummy to another room, to be used by himself and his acolytes in their blasphemous rituals and practices. These ceremonies called back the princess’ ghost, which now appears nearby her sarcophagus every time her mummy is abused in said rituals: it just seeks the confort of her sarcophagus but, as it finds it already occupied by the fake mummy, it’s unable to find rest and just lingers thereabout, while at the same time groaning, sobbing and sighing. Its presence persists for a few days after the unholy practices involving her mummy, then it disappears, only to reappear the next time.
The princess was naive and good-natured, so her ghost isn’t either evil nor baleful: prof. Hackney’s death was accidental, just a consequence of the terror caused by her ghost appearing in front of him.
Taking the fake mummy out of the sarcophagus would at least prevent her ghost from wandering, sobbing and sighing; bringing her mummy back to the sarcophagus would send it back to rest, just like destroying her mummy: although this wouldn’t be the most suitable solution, as the Egyptians mummified the corpses to make them stand against time, it would undoubtedly ensure her body wouldn’t be abused anymore.
Any character who speaks ancient Egyptian and isn’t scared by ghosts can speak to her and receive any pieces of information about her; occultism may perhaps work too but at which price?
- Sealed Library
In contrast to its name, the Sealed Library isn’t actually sealed: it just takes its name from being in the mansion’s sealed wing, which also makes access to it kind of restricted; still, it’s used quite often, probably more often than the adjacent Egyptian room.
Prof. Hackney took care of this library before dying and was used to store here his rich collection of books on his subjects of choice: mostly egyptology and esotericism, particularly the Hollow Earth, Agartha and the other lost, hidden or forbidden places of legend. However, there’s no text on arcane, paranormal or supernatural subjects and none at all about occultism: he was only interested in what he deemed as science, not charlatanism.
The library is big and smells with the sweetish blend of polishing wax, printed paper and plain dust: its walls are either furnished with a shelf (on the Northern side) or a window (on the Southern side): the curtains of the windows facing West and South-West are drawn, the others shut, so there’s light enough in the room. About a half of the shelves are empty, with a light layer of dust that settled where no book is stored: judging from the signs in the dust, several tomes have been accessed recently and a few of them are even missing. There’s no way to know which ones as there’s no index or catalog to consult.
A huge and dusty Persian carpet covering the whole softly creaking floor, two long counters in the middle of the room, several chairs scattered here and there, three armchairs with a high seatback and as many high lamps (one on the side of each) complete the furniture; the ceiling coffer is an exquisite work of different qualities and shades of inlaid wood.
- Empty Office
The empty office isn’t as empty as one would believe: it’s simply unused, the furniture covered with big blankets that time and dust turned a soiled yellow. The air here smells faintly with mold and dust.
This is the place where one night prof. Hackney died by heart attack as he saw princess Mumarptarat’s ghost appearing in front of him: his desk and chair are still where they used to be, in the bow window, covered by a single sheet. All drawers and shelves are empty, curtains at the windows shut, although in a way that lets a little light in, enough to avoid stumbling or bumping into any obstacles when passing from a door to the other.
The room hasn’t been used ever since the professor’s death, the whole wing having been sealed (which means: locked) after the «inconvenience», although it’s pretty clear that it has still been passed through often: there’s the trail of several shoes coming and going from door to door in the dust that settled on the floor; a few wooden tiles are loose here and there but, surprisingly, the floor doesn’t creak when treaded upon.
Front State Bedroom
The Front State Bedroom is decorated in exquisite Gallic finery - somewhat overdone, but certainly overdone with taste. Everything is beautiful Burgundy style, in rich ivories, pinks, and golds. The cabinets in the room are full of rich clothing, books, documents, and maps. The draperies are open, flooding the room with light during the day. The two cabinets astride the door have the added oddity of holding several rifles, pistols, and much ammunition (all of French manufacture).
The room is inhabited by M. Louis Valois-Burgundy and Mme. Mary née Bourbon, his wife. They always appear in complete court dress, powdered wigs, perfumes, and all lace and style. They are, in fact, ghosts. Mme. Mary nearly is incapable of voicing an opinion of her own, but constantly nods and makes supporting noises and gestures toward her husband (she occasionally wonders in French "where is that servant" or "when will they serve tea"). M. Louis is incessantly chattering in French - politely but strenuously - about "goddamn Germans", "damnable Habsburgs", "the treachery of Senlis", "the unreliable Spaniards", "the nonsensical policies of the Vatican", and especially about "that execrable scoundrel Leopold"! M. Louis will engage visitors in conversation - sort of - but will always turn back toward his obsessions at the first remote opportunity. Interested parties will be subjected to references to maps, documents, and books places around the room, and M. Louis is capable of generating a semi-rational explanation of German intrigues against France, though he usually loses coherency due to his great agitation.
Any time the doorway to the Grand Corridor is opened, M. Louis will look down the hall toward the q.v. Rear State Bedroom. If that door, too, is open M. Louis will immediately move to a cabinet, withdraw a rifle, and commence repeated rifle fire (with very real bullets) down the corridor and into the Rear State Bedroom - intervening individuals be damned!
From this vantage point the clear deep immensity of SPACE is mere inches away.
If you have a fear of heights, the dark, open spaces, or deep water, that is triggered here. Even if you don't have one of those fears, the immediate presence of SPACE is so overwhelming that you fall to your knees or lower and grab onto something for dear life. If you are very brave, you can move from post to post around the edge of the grand balcony. This feeling is like: the 1st time at an IMAX theater with nearly vertical seating followed by an over the cliff movie, the 1st time a city slicker views the night sky from the darkest unspoiled countryside, the 1st time an astronaut goes EVA, a diver swimming over a cliff edge falling away to the abyss, being in the middle of an ocean alone at night, etc. You feel small and insignificant.
Belatedly, you can see that the mansion appears to be on a cliff edge. So, excepting the mansion and a narrow strip of dirt, your entire field of view is open deep SPACE. Fortunately, so long as you stay on the grand balcony, you appear to be able to breathe.
Every time you come back here, the view changes. It is always deep SPACE and there is never any sense of motion, other than falling, but differences are noticeable (roll and re-roll until a new result):
1 Jupiter looms large
2 Mars's canals are visible
3 Saturn's rings are spectacular
4 something metallic glitters in the far distance
5 a comet's tail stretches across 1/4 of the sky
6 the constellations are not those of earth's sky
7 something with outstretched leathery wings gradually moves far away
8 you imagine a tumbling asteroid must look like this, if it were twice the apparent size of the moon
9 empty, empty, desolate SPACE
10 a pale blue marble catches your eye
Only when you renter the mansion do you realize that you've been clenching your toes as if to hold on.
Cavalier Drawing Room
This drawing room is decorated in green and gold trim and two bronze statues of swordsmen (cavaliers) stand at each end of the room by the doorways. While one of the cavaliers is posing with his sword, the other holds a goblet aloft giving cheers.
Several paintings adorn the walls. Over the fireplace hangs a massive mural depicting a battle scene of two armies clashing in close combat with swords, pike and musket. A heroic cavalier is front and center in the battle while an enemy general is seen in the background directing the army from a hilltop.
If a death occurs in the house, their visage will appear on one of the slain soldiers on the mural. If a spectral or evil entity in the house is defeated, a blurred image of the entity will appear on one of the slain enemy soldiers. As more deaths occur at the hands of the spectral or evil entities in the house, the more the enemy general and his army will begin to appear demonic in appearance.
Green Drawing Room
The Green Drawing Room is well apportioned with several comfortable green velvet divans set around a central open area. The floor is parquet wood covered with luxurious green carpeting. A variety of well-executed but otherwise banal portrait paintings adorn the walls. The six large windows allow copious light to flood into the chamber. The fireplace is clean and well provisioned with cut hardwood and a coal scuttle. A heavy oak box sits under the northwest divan. It is found to contain two silver ear trumpets, two pair of binoculars, a spyglass, a small notebook and pencils. A careful search of the floor will reveal several of the parquet pieces can be lifted out revealing peep holes that have been drilled through the floor to q.v. the Lady's Dressing Room, below.
Rear State Bedroom
The Rear State Bedroom is Spartan, to say the least. The once-comfortable bed linens have been stripped, folded, and put away in a bureau. The bed is clothed in coarse cotton sheets and a single wool blanket, with coarse cotton pillows stuffed with horsehair. The furniture is arranged in an exactly symmetrical manner and the room is immaculately clean. The draperies are drawn, casting the room in dim light. The room has four bureaus that house only German military uniforms, medals, a few spiked and plumed helmets, several volumes of German political philosophy, a few letters, and a folded German flag. The two cabinets by the door have the added oddity of holding a bugle, tack and harness, several carbines, pistols, much ammunition, and two cavalry swords (all of German manufacture).
The room is inhabited by Herr Leopold Brandenburg and his son Eugene. They always appear in full military (cavalry) presentation dress with spotless boots, pistol belts, and swords. They never sit down and, in fact, rarely even move about very much. Both wear heavy mustaches and short cropped hair; the father is grey, the son is blonde. They are, in fact, ghosts. The son never makes a sound but if directly addressed may nod in agreement. Herr Leopold is given to controlled pacing at times, during which he will mutter to himself in German about "taking the French in hand", "vexing French perfidy", "solving the issue once and for all", "instructing them with a horse pistol". Herr Leopold is not much given to entertaining visitors, instead merely watching them with a baleful eye.
Any time the doorway to the Grand Corridor is opened, Herr Leopold will look down the hall toward the q.v. Front State Bedroom. If that door, too, is open Herr Leopold and son will immediately move to a cabinet, withdraw rifle, and commence repeated rifle fire (with very real bullets) down the corridor and into the Front State Bedroom - intervening individuals be damned!
The walls of this room are made of carved wooden panels and are decorated with hundreds of swords and an assortment of other weapons and pieces of armor. All the weapons appear to be authentic, though the pieces of armor appear to be decorative only.
From a few wooden displays racks along the wall hang a handful of large swords. One of the wooden display racks is empty, though the dust along the wall suggest that the display recently held a sword.
Flanking the fireplace, two stands host a collection of polearms which looks more ceremonial than functional.
Two glass case on either side of the couch host a pair of eroded antique weapons with identifying placards.
Placard One: Spathe Sword, 1st century Roman era. Commonly used by gladiators. Found in the archeological dig of residence of a Roman nobleman who was murdered during one of the gladiator revolts. Pozzuoli, Italy.
Placard Two: Viking sword, 9th Century Scandinavia. Recovered from a chest found in the Hirvisuo Bog. Oulu, Finalnd.
Rose Bedroom - this beautiful room is well-kept and clean. The two bureaus on the north wall are not a matched pair; a particularly astute character may realize that one of them matches the small bureau in the q.v. (west) Bedroom. Both bureaus are full of rose linens, towels, and even slippers. The room's desk sits in from of the south window, overlooking the kitchen courtyard. A leather portfolio of partially completed poetry can be found in one drawer - one of the pages has a large complaint at the bottom - "I wish that accursed thumping would stop!" The bed is well made but under one pillow is an unusually ugly ragdoll, missing one eye. The room bears the faintest odor of roses.
The third floor Guest Bedroom is fairly well appointed but the mattress is surprisingly uncomfortable. The fireplace mantle has a small marble bust of surprisingly beautiful woman inscribed "Rahab". The east bureau has a pristine Bible and a well-worn edition of Justine, or, The Misfortunes of Virtue, as well as bed clothes and a few other oddments (including an ancient, florid letter complaining of unpaid accounts due, signed "Imperia Cognati"). The west bureau has a few unusual contents:
- a heavy black cloak
- a quite peculiar mask, made of wax and hair with glass eyes; it is a passable likeness of a human face mounted atop a black metal handle
- a musical instrument much like a flute, but keyed differently
- an old pamphlet advertising a local Yule-Tide Festival
There is a workroom for embroidery and sewing connected to the State Linens. It is used in the repair of all things sewn and woven. It contains numerous types of thread, scissors, embroidery hoops, and a small hand loom to reweave sheets or towels which have frayed. The large window provides enough light to work by during the day, though there are no lamps should anyone need to work at night.
Every night one of the sheets in the linen closet becomes soaked in blood. This blood does not spread to the other sheets, nor get on clothing or hands if the sheet is handled. If the sheet is spread out on a bed or the floor, the blood spreads until the form of a woman can be seen. Once the blood is done pooling, the woman manifests beneath the sheet, giving it three-dimensional form as it rises. She tries to speak, to warn any visitors of this place. If the sheet is pulled away, the manifestation stops. If the sheet is washed, the blood goes away. A new sheet from the linen closet receives these stains each night.
The door from the Grand Corridor into the State Linens is locked every night. While this is inconvenient for the servants, it is vastly preferred in case the... thing... that haunts the stairs should get out. Each night starting at eleven there is a slow thumping on the stairs between the Pantry, Linens, and State Linens. It sounds as if a body is being dragged down the stairs. Should anyone try to use the stairs between the hours of eleven in the evening and four in the morning, they are pushed down the stairs.
A heavy key hangs from a hook on the inside side of the west door (it opens the padlock on the attic's madwoman's confinement).
Throughout this expansive and dusty chamber are numerous tables and stools. They are covered with all manner cryptic papers, oddly shaped glassware, and ugly instruments. Crammed beneath many are bins of exotic materials, libriams on physical phenomena, and strange tins of dubious substances. Great glass jars fill two shelves, their contents insulting to honest forms of true nature but preserved in formaldehyde. The entire noisome presentation gives an air of nausea to the whole affair.
The Endicott lineage has had its share of darkly inclined fore bearers. It was the current Lord Endicott's great-grandfather, Hieronymous, who lead a life of concealed but vigorous debauchery. It is still whispered about in the village how young maids or lads would go missing, especially those of beauty or notable aspect. Threatened with a mob storming Highdark in revenge, Lord Endicott's grandfather, Julian took matters in hand and put an end to the misdeeds. His years of charity and kindness did much to repair the Endicott name and fortunes in the public eye, but beneath a friendly facade Julian struggled to come to terms with the legacy. Hieronymous had subjected his victims - and himself - to strange alchemical processes darkly hinted at in forbidden tomes passed down some say from the Pharaohs. This laboratory had been his, but Julian worked in it tirelessly to try to right his wrongs or decipher his madness. All to little avail. Some say Julian's later days were consumed in a fog of befuddled regret and loss.
There is much of value here and the GM should be generous with providing clues to old mysteries or troubles that might be present in other parts of the house. If investigators can spend the time to pore over the disheveled mess to make sense of it, they could glean much knowledge or fabricate solutions perhaps. But the primary cost should be time and if appropriate threats to sanity.
There are keys here to northern and southern Monster Confinement chambers, but they are traps. On a hook near each door are tarnished brass keys that at first appear to fit the locks. If either brass key is used however, a very sharp blade will stab the hand turning it (GM's discretion on damage or injury). Each brass key hook is on a hidden panel that pivots to reveal an iron key which will unlock the doors without activating the traps.
[The Pornographic Library is locked and has the best lock in the house. The key is in the Goblin's Grotto in the basement along with the statue for the ghost.]
The Pornographic Library has a two fertility statues in the center of the room. There appears to be a place for a third, but it is empty. There are shelves around the outside of the room covering most of the walls. In between the shelves are more depictions of fertility goddesses. The books contain prints, halftones, and daguerreotype of the subject matter of the room. There is a leather chair in front of a desk in one corner of the room. On the desk are scholarly notes on the subject matter of the room.
If the visitor comes at night they will see a ghost crying over the lost statue. He will offer to give something in return for the statue.
If any visitor tries to take something from the Pornographic Library at anytime the ghost will fight to retrieve the object.
Monster Confinement (north end)
[Note the door here is locked and the key is in the Laboratory.]
This small chamber is quietly serene, cool and dry. Laid out in a beautiful, glass covered coffin is a young maid of no more than 14 winters. Her pale face is unmoving but strikingly lovely. She wears an exquisite gown of lavender hue but the fashion of it is decades old. She seems parted from this mortal realm, although why her remains are so well preserved or kept in this chamber is unclear.
This is the culmination of the wicked work perpetrated by the great-grandfather of Lord Endicott, Hieronymous. The figure in the coffin is not wholly dead or alive, existing in a state of torpor and unmoved by time. In life it was the body of a village girl, Henrietta Groves. But now it is an insidious fiend that lusts for freedom and sustenance.
Cabalistic engravings on the coffin hold her there, but if she is approached she will flutter her eyes as if waking from sleep and press a perfect little hand against the glass pleadingly. If released, she will insist that her rescuers keep her safe from the devil Hieronymous Endicott and profess to know nothing after her abduction by his thugs. She will latch onto her rescuers and follow them everywhere. Each hour spent in her presence drains the life of those around her, leaving them tired and weakened, though she will claim to know nothing of it. If she is kept in isolation, she will quickly wither and die, but no living person must be within 50 feet. She will pretend to be helpful and useful in a limited, simple way, but will be very uncomfortable in sunlight. If attacked she will only plead her innocence.
Monster Confinement (south end)
[Note the door here is locked and the key is in the Laboratory.]
Shackled and chained to the floor in this chamber is a hideous beast of unholy aspect! Bowed under the weight of iron collars and dark locks is a half human, half dog fiend covered in matted grey and black fur. It stares at you with baleful yellow eyes filled with hate, but it makes no move. A wicked lash hangs on the wall next to a crucifix. The air is filled with the sour smell of unwashed animals.
This creature is a much maligned spirit trapped and held by the great-grandfather of Lord Endicott, Hieronymous. Its true name is a mystery, but it will call itself "Alkalb" ("Dog" in Arabic). Alkalb looks dangerous and frightening, but it is a spirit of fire held in place by enchantment and tortured for information. It will speak only in Arabic, but is loath to tell anyone anything other than that it wants to be free. The key to the locks holding it are long vanished. As a supernatural being, it has access to knowledge beyond, but it will only use answers to buy its freedom. It is up to the GM to role play it making the fiend seem sly and deadly, though if the chains are released it will vanish in a puff of brimstone.
The door to the south has been nailed closed and permanently sealed off with crossbeams through-bolted into the frame and door. The northern door is sturdy and is locked from the outside with a series of three sliding bolts; the middle bolt is secured with a heavy padlock. The key is found hanging on the door of the third floor's State Linens room.
The madwoman is Carrie Antoinetta Mason. She appears of indeterminate age - probably about 30-years old - with a slight and graceful build and incredible Creole beauty underneath a layer of dirt and distorted by frequent bestial grimaces. She is dressed in numerous petticoats, a whale-bone corset, and a beautiful veiled hat - all once of exceptional craftsmanship but now shredded and filthy. She wears a heavy gold-chased-silver cross on a heavy silver chain around her waist, and a smaller one around her neck. She usually crawls about on all fours, snarling, and behaving in a bestial manner. She occasionally utters nonsensical rhyming couplets in French or English; and occasionally recites surprisingly long and lucid Biblical quotations in Creole. She is usually drunken. While in the room she will not be violent toward others. If allowed to leave the room, she will behave in a savage, violent manner - running through the house wildly, smashing things and biting people that try to restrain her. If she encounters a high window it is possible she will try to leap to her death; if she encounters the means she will certainly try to start a house fire. Any type of restorative therapy or efforts may appear to be initially successful but will always be ultimately fruitless. She is not a ghost or apparition - she is, indeed, a physically incarcerated madwoman.
If she is directly addressed as "mommy" she will become entirely calm and momentarily rational, seeming to recognize the speaker as a smaller child who needs maternal care. She will try to calm the "child", smoothing their clothes and arranging their hair, and sing a short lullaby - perhaps offer them a dried crust of dirty bread as a "biscuit". This will persist for a few moments until something distracts her and she will drop to all fours and begin snarling about once again.
The room is heavily encumbered by empty wine bottles and a large amount of detritus and filth. The remains of destroyed furniture are thrown into the corners. There are several photographs of Mason as a young vivant, dressed in exceptional finery and appearing enormously beautiful. They are mounted in very heavy, fine silver frames but otherwise lie discarded about the room as if they were garbage. There also is a parchment diploma from Endicott College, awarded to "C. A. Mason" for "Arts and Sciences", in a bent silver frame. Several Bibles in various states of destruction also are scattered about. A large crucifix hangs on the east wall - it is the only thing in the room that appears to be undisturbed by violence and age.
Occasionally eerie organ music can be faintly heard coming through the wall to q.v. Lord Gerald's Courtyard. The music is disturbing though faint; it has a definite calming effect on Carrie.
The south door leading out of the room is bolted from the inside. The north door is closed but not locked. On the exterior side a note is tacked at approximate eye level that says, "Mommy I Am Busy - Do NOT Come In". The doors leading to the north and south galleries are both completely open and have not been used for so long that the hinges are fused by rust.
Aside from the supporting beams, most of the ceiling - and roofing above - of this immense room has been cut away to expose large rectangular sections that have been converted into skylights. The skylights are constructed with stained glass techniques, excepting the colorized glass is used only around the exterior of each pane, leaving a large clear central viewing section. The window leading forms complex geometric lines that are not unpleasant, but simultaneously are not particularly regularly repeated. The room is thus optimized for viewing the sky directly above. Added to the large windows at each end of the wing, these skylights flood the room with light during the day but make it characteristically cold at night.
The main room and both end galleries of this wing are mostly empty, but dusty. The dominant contents are five large refracting telescopes on heavy iron tripod mounts (one in each gallery, three in the main room). The tripods have spiked feet that can be pushed into the wooden floor and casual observation reveals a well-pocked floor indicating the telescopes have been used here for a long, long time and have been primarily used directly under one or another of the large skylights. The telescopes are all similar, and are clearly hand-built from oddball components. The lenses are not particularly finely ground, nor are they precisely aligned, and the actual resolution of the telescopes leaves much to be desired.
In the northern gallery, off to one side, a heavy brass astrolabe hangs from a sturdy chain. Far back in the corner nearby a massive lead quadrant sits on the floor, obviously long unused.
In the southern gallery, hidden behind one of the two main pillars, and covered with dust, is a glass eye and a small paring knife. Whoever finds the knife will feel compelled to take it and hide it; within a few hours they will become convinced that the knife must be used to blind someone, "for their own good." This conviction will continue to grow until acted upon (some hours to days later).
Near the center of the main room is a single, heavy table (8' x 4'), containing a few strange objects. A well-worn card bears the inscription "eight signs in a seven-day". If any character reads this aloud, it will slowly become a recurrent thought pattern, a sort of mind worm, that will continually nag at the edge of their thoughts (they are sure it has some great significance). Other items on the table include:
A volume of sepia erotic photographs, taken from the (q.v.) Pornographic Library.
A Pocket watch - of expensive construction in general, but the crystal is missing and the hands have been broken from the face (and are missing).
The Strange Clock - is apparently hand-built and quite complex, comprising approximately two pounds of silver with some gold-plated highlights. It winds with a key that inserts into the face of the clock. Unlike a normal clock, this one's rotational period is divided into thirteen "hours", each in turn having only three "minutes", making a complete rotation in 39 minutes. Characters will immediately discern that in addition to these peculiarities, the clock hands move counterclockwise. It otherwise is much like a typical clock. The winding key also is on the table; winding also is performed "backwards". The maker's name on the face reads "IMAGINOS".
The Strange Compass - is apparently hand-build and of exquisite workmanship, comprising approximately one pound of silver with two solid gold pointing needles. The compass appears as a softball-sized orb with six large glass viewing ports at equidistant points. The interior is full of a nearly transparent, milky substance in which float the two gold needles. One of the needles will always point directly East; the other will always point directly at the star Fomalhaut.
The Strange Collection - includes:
- a male and a female figure carved from wood, each about 3" tall, with sets of miniature wigs in a variety of colors;
- a leather coin bag full of numerous coins from numerous places;
- a stack of old letter envelopes - addressed to various places, franked, canceled, but empty of contents;
- a small wooden toy house, about 12" square, with a leather bag of soil inside;
- a pair of old wooden dice;
- an ancient scalpel;
- a gold wedding band;
- a linen bag with rocky soil and rodent bones mixed inside;
- a miniature children's book of religious iconography;
- a policeman's badge (old, but apparently genuine);
- a set of six matched coffee spoons;
- a tiny box with an even smaller box inside of it;
These are set out on the table around a rough chalk-drawn circle around a central chalked pentacle and some other chalked symbols. Pieces of colored chalk sit on an erasing leather nearby.
The Strange Books - include seven very thick, very old, leather-bound volumes of parchment that are completely hand written with cramped ink notations, primarily of trigonometric derivations regarding (apparently) time, magnetism, distance, and electricity. Aside from the mathematics in the books the written script is in a variety of languages and hands, with Burmese and Sanskrit being perhaps the most common. If deciphered, the books will be found to contain an almost nonsensical mélange of alchemy, astrology, entomology, and fortunetelling theories. An ink pen and dried-up inkpot are also present. The books appear as if they may belong to the (q.v.) Occult Library.
A creepy looking, large black grasshopper specimen, mounted on a pin and cork base, under a glass dome, labelled "Wongo, 1909, T.R.".