Yesterday we entered the Haunted Mansion map from the folks at Heroic Maps through the front door and wandered into an entryway full of potential paths. Today, we are going to head through the first door to the right of the front door… And if you recall, this was the door with a small blood trail leading to and beyond it.
As we open the door with a groan and a creak, we again see many things in here courtesy of our map makers:
- Whomever the interior decorator was, they really liked mounting deer skulls with full racks in various places. Three different mounts appear on walls – two on one long wall and one above a fireplace at the other end.
- There’s a door leading out of the room on the long interior wall.
- We already mentioned the fireplace and this is a doozy with a huge mantle. Plus with the huge deer skull above this blazing fire, it definitely leaves an impression on anyone entering the room.
- As far as furniture goes, there are a couple of chairs and three long benches.
- Like the entryway, a huge old rug occupies the floor in the center of the room. But this one is accented with two large bear skins.
- If all of that isn’t enough, there are two suits of armor in different corners, three chests, and two large windows.
With all of that, I was left scratching my head a bit. It’s the largest room on this floor, measuring 30′ x 40′ and maximizing open space. With no lights beyond the windows and that giant fireplace and no tables, just chairs, this is definitely not a dining room or work area. So what was it used for? Discussions? Meetings? Entertaining?
I suspect it is a place of stories and drinks, mingling and deal-making, but it would be dark at night, lit only by flickering flames. With the benches it almost feels like a meeting hall… But meeting about what? The story of the owners of the house is still a bit of a mystery. Who are these ostentatious people and what were they into?
Do you remember the blood trail that led into this room? I suspect it will lead to a corpse resting beneath one of the bear rugs… but as soon as the PCs find it, it begins disappearing, along with the blood trail that led them here. Also, I love the fireplace but want it to be a bit mysterious… I suspect it will be lit the first time the room is entered, but may be stone cold the next. (You could then roll 1d6 each time after and have it “recharge” to light again on a 1 or 2.)
So where does that leave us?
A while back I wrote the draft of a Spark called “Fifty Corpses”. It’s unfinished, but provides enough details that I can get an idea of what happened to that corpse.
- How’d it happen? Single humanoid
- What happened? Wasted away
- Why did it happen? Battle
That leads me to this description of the room…
“Once, this was the most important room in the house. With a roaring fireplace and seating surrounding a beautifully embroidered rug, you might imagine deep discussions of politics, business, or philosophy leading late into the night. Either that or the telling of hunting stories that led to the two bear skin rugs or three handsome trophies along the walls.
But that was then, and now all you see is the blood trail from the front room leading to a corpse tucked beneath one of the now aged and faded bear skins. As you move the rug to examine the body, you see a gash to the man’s throat but are shocked when, only moments later, the man and all the blood has simply vanished before your eyes like it was never there.
And as the body fades, so does the fire in the fireplace – which grows dark and cold in an instant.”
I’m still left with more questions than answers, but a story is starting to form. Who was the victim? Who slashed his throat? It seems a deliberate cut, not an accident – so who would do such a thing and why?
Tomorrow we will continue to explore the house and move into a strange little alcove that’s the next room…
Looking for other ideas in this challenge? Check out the 31 Days of Halloween category!
Would you like to see Spark: Fifty Corpses get released into the wild? If so, let me know in the comments below. If you’re interested in some of the other sparks so far, be sure to take a look here.