Today we focus on the last room on the first floor of the Haunted Mansion (Heroic Maps) (don’t worry – there’s a lovely little crypt on the property we’ll deal with separately next week). This room appears to be the study, complete with bookcases, a desk, chair, chest, and another fancy carpet.

molumen_Old_bookFrom what I’ve figured out about the old crone (poor Mrs. Duvard), she would not have been the one to inhabit the study. This would be the realm of her husband, David, before he was brutally murdered in the drawing room. As the patriarch of the family business and what we have seen around the house so far, he would have likely been well read on many subjects, from philosophy and business to hunting and affairs of state. In order to entertain clients, he’d have to be able to chat on many subjects, whatever his business might be.

Three pretty good-sized bookshelves line one wall of the room, all lined with books of all sizes and shapes. And the desk looks like it has an ink blotter or a large book beneath the cobwebs. This is another room that hasn’t been touched in many years and I’m guessing the Mrs. didn’t enter after her husband’s death and may in fact closed and locked the door to keep prying eyes from whatever was collecting dust inside.

To describe the books on the shelves, I’ll use the Book title name generator from Fantasy Name Generators and come up with a few titles.

  • Country of Dawn
  • God of the Solstice
  • Ascension of Reality
  • Spices and Devils
  • Gems of Technology
  • United Medicine
  • Kings and People
  • Forsaken in the Void
  • Imps With a Smile
  • Defiant Until the Darkness

I have no idea as to the contents of any of these, but consider them a mix of non-fiction and fiction from the time that Mr. Duvard was actively reading.

More intriguing would be the book on the desk, which I’m going to say is a family history of Clan Duvard that was current up to the last son or daughter who passed away while Odette and David were still alive. This was his refuge where he could flip from page to page, remembering the family taken from he and his wife far too soon. One tidbit in the book will be a common thread of mental illness and obsession among some of the women in the family. There may in fact be loose leaf notes in the book as he worried about his wife’s mental condition towards the end…

Yes, this story gets sadder by the minute. But it has me wondering how a group of PCs exploring the house (either in the present day, Ghost Hunters or Ghostbusters syle, or during a Lovecraftian early 1900s) would approach things. Would they simply plow through the clues as if they didn’t matter, looking for something to destroy or kill? Or would they appreciate the story and piece it together piece by piece?

What do you think?

Should I keep going with this map? I have three entire levels of the house left to work through… It’s a beautiful map, so I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of the old crone’s transformation from distraught wife and mother to hell beast. 🙂

And that brings me to my next question… Would you like to see similar explorations of other maps? I’m willing to take a look at just about anything – any genre or system (since my descriptions are system-neutral). Anything come to mind? Leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail!

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

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