Thursday, July 15, 2021

D20x5 Haunted Houses

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D20This haunted house is 
1 a stately manor in the countryside, its fields and hedges overgrown and given to the thorns.
2 a looming tower house that bristles with balistraria.
3 a slumlord’s luxurious penthouse straddling decrepit apartments.
4 a merchant’s tackily ostentatious imitation of an aristocratic villa.
5 poised on the lip of an eroding sea cliff.
6 accessible only by the barest trace of a dirt road sidewinding up a mountain.
7 also a hunting lodge used by an exclusive gentleman’s fellowship.
8 the former winter palace of a deposed regime.
9 built up around an enormous, dying oak.
10 infested with mold growing in patches like human silhouettes.
11 full of secret compartments, passages, and boltholes.
12 haphazard, built up according to dozens of plans over decades.
13 arranged like a pentagram.
14 at the centre of a once-flourishing vineyard which has fallen on hard times as its produce has turned sour.
15 stood on a shoal, connected briefly to land when the tide’s lowest.
16 a converted monastery, sold by the abbot after its reputation was ruined by scandal.
17 built in an unfashionably archaic style.
18 cut off from its surroundings by a lofty wrought iron fence.
19 sprawling out from itself like chyme from spilled guts. It’s the product of a deep folie à deux shared between the house’s commissioner and architect, who believed they were drawing the house out of some cosmic cyst rather than having it constructed according to their designs.
20a plantation house where biting swamp-flies sing.

D20This house is haunted 
1 by the ghosts of a maid and the bastard child forced on her by the master of the house.
2 by a ghost that appears as a tangle of heads and limbs: the gestalt spirit of the victims of a serial killer dismembered and buried beneath the house.
3 by the spirit of the house itself, awakened and soured by disrepair and abuse.
4 by a porcine demon of sadism invited in by a previous owner.
5 by the dryad whose tree was butchered for its floorboards.
6 by a wealthy yet untalented painter tormented by their failure to attain recognition for their work in life and posthumously.
7 by the guests of an orgy held at the house, who all contracted the same wasting disease.
8 by the moaning, tongueless ghost of a rival of the master of the house, who in life was imprisoned within and tormented for their amusement.
9 by the patriarch of a clan of giants that was driven from the area by the humans that settled it.
10 by the shadow of a god carried along with a looted idol presented in the house like a mere sculpture.
11 by a chef so obsessed with making the perfect meal that they fattened and seasoned and cooked themself.
12 by a mathematician who stumbled on a theorem no mortal mind could hold in its totality and survive.
13 by a fictional character from a novel that an inhabitant of the house read and obsessed over and imagined with such intensity that they were born into a sort of un-life.
14 by the ghost of a bloodthirsty warrior maimed in battle, who grew old and died consumed by thoughts of the carnage they could never return to.
15 by the ghost of someone wrongly executed on the testimony of a prior owner of the house.
16 by a wizard who had a lab in it, and blasted themself somewhere between life and death in an experiment.
17 by a spectral cat who attained diabolic potency after smothering nine infants.
18 by the hungry ghost of an abusive alcoholic, compelled to thirst for blood and filth as much as their drink of choice.
19 by the ghost of a world that could have been, a timeline whose juncture point is centred in the house. It would have been a brighter time, but now turns sicklier the further it gets from could-have-being.
20by a curse of despair placed long ago on the house’s family. The curse has glutted on the souls of so many suicides over the generations that it’s swollen with power and developed a malign sentience.

D20An uncanny feature of this haunted house 
1 is that it’s bigger on the inside that it is on the outside.
2 is that its furniture rearranges itself in inconvenient ways when not observed.
3 is that the mirrors within it act as portals to a flipped version of the house where some things that are closed or hidden are opened and revealed.
4 is that rooms don’t connect with each other the way its layout suggests they should. A closet might open to a dining room.
5 is that scratching and whispers can be heard coming from within the walls, but if checked there’s nothing visible there.
6 is that damaged furniture and parts of its structure will slowly mend with tumourous growths.
7 is that phantasmal scenes of emotional events that occurred in rooms in the past can be glimpsed repeating over and over again.
8 is that portraits within weep black ichor and mutter cruel obscenities.
9 is that by some nostalgic enchantment parts of the house remind you of your own childhood home.
10 is that pain suffered within doesn’t feel right, less immediate and more an empathetic reverie.
11 is that stuff brought in from outside it breaks more often, rusts even when cared for, burns out more swiftly, and generally falls to entropy much faster.
12 is that its condition is tied to the condition of the surrounding area. Damage to it will bring widespread desolation.
13 is that shadows within seem to come alive with a malign intelligence to play tricks on you.
14 is that people trying to leave it often find the path twisting back towards it.
15 is that throughout it there’s a cloying corpse-stench with no apparent source.
16 is that animals panic at its threshold, and die of fear if dragged within.
17 is that you can hear whispers of deceased loved ones sometimes, though whether the whispers are really them or some malign entities impersonating them can’t be known for sure.
18 is that while within you have a constant feeling of being watched.
19 is that impossible vistas can be seen through its windows.
20is that it’s far colder within than it should be, and lights are dimmer.

D20Despite its reputation, you might still enter this haunted house 
1 because a local mover-and-shaker’s kid was seen going in but never came out.
2 because it’s valuable real estate and some people are willing to pay an awful lot to see it rendered safe for habitation.
3 because a nefarious necromancer is conducting a rite to bring it under their power.
4 because its haunting threatens to sink the whole area into the underworld.
5 because you might be able to bind the haunting spirit as a servitor.
6 because the ectoplasm that could be harvested from it is a precious commodity.
7 as a step in a larger ritual related to death and time.
8 to test an eccentric inventor’s experimental anti-ghost armament.
9 to use it as a conduit to speak with a dead person who’s passed beyond the threshold that more convenient magic can access.
10 to prove that you’re fearless in order to qualify for bigger, better-paying jobs.
11 because an obsessive skeptic wants to disprove the supernatural using the house as an example, and is offering a tremendous reward for the service.
12 because its existence contradicts theological orthodoxy regarding existence after death.
13 because it could be used as a lens to astrally project across worlds.
14 because the place itself can be read as a spellbook containing necromantic magic.
15 because a particular object within anchors the haunting, and if taken out it would become a potent magic item.
16 because if you take care of it a secret society of morticians and gravediggers will owe you a major favour.
17 because banishing the haunting would be like removing the force creating a vacuum, only instead of air rushing back in to fill the void it’ll be lively energies that could be channeled for miraculous healing.
18 because a great treasure is rumoured to be hidden within its attic or walls or floors.
19 because you’ve got a bad case of the hiccups and only getting really spooked will cure it.
20because an elderly priest wants it exorcised and is paying well for the task, as they’re too old to do it.

D20A complication you might face with this haunted house 
1 is that a rival crew is planning to enter it too.
2 is that the haunting spirit’s power waxes and wanes with the moon.
3 is that someone who entered it before you was driven violently insane by the experience, and feels as though the place is their territory alone.
4 is that if the haunting ends the place will rapidly crumble to dust.
5 is that the place has attracted a clutch of corporeal undead comforted by its ambience.
6 is that the haunting can reach beyond the house through people and things connected to it.
7 is that an angry mob is being riled up and will soon converge on it.
8 is that a handful of soothsayers have set up a cordon around it after all foreseeing the same doom related to the house.
9 is that lingering the place dramatically increases your chances of returning as a ghost after death.
10 is that the whole thing is an elaborate Scooby-Doo-esque hoax.
11 is that a group of fraudulent exorcists claim to have already removed the haunting, and are pressing for a reward.
12 is that hurricane-level bad weather is converging on its location.
13 is that fear and other such psychological disturbances make it much easier for the haunting spirit to possess someone.
14 is that a squad of paladins has been dispatched to take care of it, and their methods will be ruinous and indiscriminate.
15 is that the haunting spirit bucks or even inverts common superstitions meant to deal with its kind, like lines of salt.
16 is that locals are terrified of the haunting, and will be quick to turn on intruders if they seem to provoke it. They might even go so far as to sacrifice people to the house if desperate enough.
17 is that the haunting spirit is attracted to, and can be bribed with, living blood, yet is poisoned by blood from the dead.
18 is that a small cult has sprung up that worships the haunting as a god. If not prevented this worship could empower the haunting and make it much worse as it metamorphoses into something new.
19 is that an important government official is visiting the area, and if news of the haunting’s full danger reaches them it would be very embarrassing.
20is that someone is trying to cover up a murder by blaming the haunting.

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