Last time we described the front door of the Haunted Mansion map from the folks at Heroic Maps. What do you say we walk into the foyer to see what else we can find?
- A large vase or urn in one corner (perhaps 3 feet in diameter)
- A large rug on the floor (perhaps 12 feet long and 8 feet wide)
- A number of free-standing candles or lights
- A door leading to a room to the left
- A corridor leading left with a door somewhat visible around the corner
- A staircase leading up to the next level
- A corridor leading right with another door somewhat visible around the corner
- A door leading to a room on the right
- And another door leading to a different room on the right
With so much material to work with already, I’m leery to add much more. This serves a central hub for the map, directing traffic to at least six different locations. But let’s talk about a few possibilities…
- First, I might be able to use Little Spaces: Ghostly Effects to ratchet up the spookiness right off the bat. The PCs have worked their way through the front door as the first hurdle and come into a room filled with potential directions. If I roll a couple of times, I end up with: “hear the ticking of a clock” and “see blood splatter on wall or ceiling”. Lovely. Looking through the map, I don’t see anything that I might consider a “clock” visually on the walls but I love the idea of putting an old grandfather clock or water clock at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor. As for the blood… the room behind the door immediately to the right of the entrance is large with some creepy stuff inside. A few drops of splattered blood leading that direction might tempt a curious PC to go that way…
- Second, the rug offers an interesting opportunity for some hidden storytelling. Perhaps it offers a snapshot of an event in the family history such as a grand hunt or the names of all the first born children are embroidered along the edges…
- Third, it’s much too obvious to have something waiting in the entryway. Whatever is waiting for the PCs will be somewhere else in the house…
- Fourth, the vase or urn is too creepy to ignore. Perhaps it contains the ashes of several family members killed in gruesome ways in the past. Those ashes may in fact offer a connection for any ghostly spirits in the house to hone in on living targets should someone reach in and grab a handful to see what’s inside…
- Lastly, it’s quite possible that nothing happens when the PCs enter this room. Maybe the house is trying to lure them in further. Don’t want to scare them off before they get somewhere fun, now do we? But I like the idea that the spirits in the house are listening and watching. Should the PCs swear or take one of the local gods’ names in vain, perhaps the candles flame up and melt quickly down to nothing, leaving them in the dark…
Maps like this are ripe with utility and opportunity. They offer hints and suggestions without much guidance. Sure, the house is haunted, but by what or whom? Perhaps more clues will be found in other rooms and events?
But I don’t want to leave things hanging, so here’s a description of the front room:
“As you get through the malfunctioning front door, you find yourself in a well lit entryway with at least six potential exits. Many candles on wrought iron stands are scattered throughout the room, lighting a stairwell leading up to the next floor as well as two hallways and three separate doors. An antique rug on the floor muffles the sound of your own footsteps, but you get the feeling that you are not alone in the house. The ticking of a clock echoes down the stairs from the next floor and a few drops of dried blood lead you to the first door on the right. In addition, a large clay urn rests on the floor, though it is too deep for you to see to the bottom without a light held over the top…”
Lots of details here. I can hardly wait to see what else we’ll discover in the room behind the door with the blood trail. Something gruesome?
Looking for other ideas in this challenge? Check out the 31 Days of Halloween category!