31 Days of Halloween, Day 25

As we continue working our way through the Haunted Mansion map from the folks at Heroic Maps, today we find ourselves in a wholly unremarkable room, passing through the door on the north wall (the wall to the left of the fireplace). It may be a simple corridor or a place for some storage, but whatever it is, it’s dark. Very dark. Though it’s only 15′ x 10′ with a 5′ alcove at one end and another of those large vases in a corner, I would be leery of wandering into the void with a door on either end.

open door-hi-w-darknessWith few clues as to the room’s purpose beyond a couple of doors and a vase, I have questions…

  • What’s directly above or below the corridor?
  • Why just a vase? Why is this room mostly empty?
  • What is the corridor used for? Just a way to pass from the drawing room to the dining room? Is it a place for someone to lie in wait for some unsuspecting fool to wander in? Or was the room used to spy on guests in either room?

Answering the first and last of those questions gave me some ideas to explore. Directly above the corridor is a hallway, which might creak and groan or betray other sounds from the second floor. But the cellar… that’s another story entirely. Doesn’t everybody keep a coffin in the basement?

Though I could make this room more than it is, let’s use it like the entryway… as a transition -a pause or break between one main room of the first floor (the drawing room with the big fireplace we described yesterday) and the next room (the dining room I’m looking forward to talking about tomorrow)…

That said, how do I use the room in a game session? All these old houses carry sounds really well (unless you’re calling for help), so let’s come up with a random table we can roll on to inspire events… A quick d8 gives us:

  1. You hear light footsteps thudding gently across the floor above.
  2. Something heavy is being dragged across the floor upstairs.
  3. The creaky sound of some sort of cabinet door echoes up from below.
  4. Silence fills the room and each step seems to weigh more than the last as you seek the exit.
  5. The clinking of silverware against plates and dinner conversation floats through the door ahead.
  6. As you close the door behind you, muffled voices rise in the drawing room you just left. It’s a heated argument and the name Melia comes up over and over until a man’s scream fades to a gurgle and then silence.
  7. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
  8. The sound of scratching fingernails grinding along the wall in the dark.

Though doors are often used to delineate transition from one area to the next in an abstract way, short halls and corridors such as this one are often great places to introduce more subtle (or less) clues to the adventure at hand. A picture on the wall. A book left open on a table. A snippet of conversation heard through a wall or door – all these offer storytelling opportunities even as the PCs are simply moving a few feet in the dark…

We didn’t use a Moebius product today (though we could again use Little Spaces: Ghostly Effects), but you can see a bit of how my mind works today. This is the same way I come up with many ideas for products. 🙂

I’m excited to see what’s going on in the next room with the ghostly dinner party, aren’t you?

Looking for other ideas in this challenge? Check out the 31 Days of Halloween category!

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