This location can be used in for instance an OSR adventure or as a quirky addition to a D&D campaign. Bartholomew House can be scary or otherworldly. It is up to you how you use it. Feel free to change anything you need.
Bartholomew House is a small, oblong, house, full of various curiosities and secret doors. The doors lead to different places every time they are opened, it does however require a very motivated seeker to open the doors in Bartholomew House.
To create the rooms in Bartholomew House, roll on the tables or select options from the lists.
The visible part of Bartholomew House is little more than a narrow corridor with stairs leading up to the second floor on the right, two doors on the left and a kitchen straight ahead.
The wallpaper consists of nailed up, hand painted swaths of a flowery design that on closer inspection seems to move and bend with an unfelt wind.
Roll 1D10 to create the room the players are entering.
- A square room, fairly large, with doors on every side. It is bright and lit by a large chandelier.
- This rectangular room is dark and gloomy, filled with spiderwebs.
- A clinical room, lit with cold light. The walls and floor is set with tiles of white and light blue.
- The wallpaper is curling in here. There’s a stain on the ceiling. It smells musty and dank.
- This room is full of bright colour and airy light. A rainbow is painted on the far wall.
- A huge room, filled with pillars of dark wood. The pillars stretch through the whole room and torches light it up.
- A room with bare wooden walls. Candles are lighting the room, casting a warm glow over the walls.
- Stone walls are close together. Moisture is seeping through the stone, making the air cold and raw.
- Tapestries cover the walls in this room. It is dry and smells of old paper.
- This room is low in ceiling, tight and claustrophobic. The scale is smaller, somehow.
Roll 1D10 to furnish the room the players are entering.
- Heavy Victorian furniture with leather that’s worn and cracked. The stuffing makes the chairs uncomfortable.
- Sturdy but bare wooden shelves line the room. There are some closed cupboards here and there. A desk is crammed into a corner.
- Lush, velvet clad chairs stand around a low table. In the corner there’s a small chest.
- All the furniture in here is broken. Piles of rubble gather in the corners.
- Magnificent bookshelves crammed with books and other objects line the walls. It’s going to take ages to go through them.
- The furniture, including a desk and a closed wardrobe, is tastefully arranged and tastefully made. Someone spent time and money here.
- The room is full of puzzle boxes of different sizes and models.
- The first thing you see is a massive chest. The chest is surrounded by chairs, and in the corner there is what seems to be a comfortable bed.
- In the middle of the room there’s a butcher’s table, complete it’s bloody, rusted knives and saws. The sight is made more unsettling by the cuffs fixed to the table in chains.
- Unremarkable and plain furniture that suits the room is placed in here.
- There are no decorations in here.
- The whole room is filled with burning candles as if someone had taken a turn going through the room and turning it into some sort of demented Christmas explosion.
- Spiderwebs and neglect is the only thing decorating this room, with the exception of the odd rusted tool, here and there.
- Strange statues adorn this room. They’re placed on plinths made in the same style as the furniture. On closer inspection, the statues are twisted in pain and fear.
- There are photographs on every available wall surface in here. If the time period does not permit it, the photographs are instead incredibly realistic oil paintings.
- The decorations are garish and tasteless. Doilies in colours not meant for doilies are placed under clashing porcelain figures with scrollwork and details out of this world. Shabby cushions featuring sad babies and equally sad kittens decorate the furniture, combined with plaid blankets in incompatible colours. It looks like a clown vomited rainbows in here.
- Strict minimalist decorations give the room an unlived in air.
- What can only be described as implements of torture are scattered here and there. Some of the tools still have blood on them, dried into handles and surfaces.
- The room is filled with stuffed animals, posing for the viewer. For some reason the interior designer seems to have focused on owls.
- Everything in this room is leather clad. The furniture is upholstered in leather. The lampshades, the books. On closer inspection, some of the leather is tattooed. One armrest has the word “mom” imprinted in a decorative text style.
This is why people visit Bartholomew House. There is abundant treasure to be found, and not just the common hodgepodge of coins and jewelry but also magical items of great renown and power. To create a magical item, roll on the tables below or use one of the ready made lines.
The – There exists only one of these.
A – There exists more of these.
All – All of these in existence are here and therefore valuable.
Bottled – The magic is captured in a vessel. It needs to be broken to activate it. A bottled item has only one use.
Tranquil – You can only call the magic while holding the object and meditating on it.
Furious – The magic must be called during an emotional furious outbreak.
Elated – The magic must be called when elated about something.
Loving – In order to call the magic, you have to feel loving towards something or someone.
Whispered – In order to call the magic, you must whisper to the object.
Hallowed – The object must be brought to a sacred space to be activated. A sacred space can be created by the player.
Annoying – In order for this item to be activated, the person wanting to use it must be irritated and annoyed.
Restful – This item can only be activated while totally relaxed.
Abundant – For this item to be activated it must be in contact with something that exists in abundance.
Use any words you feel are appropriate. The players will be able to activate the objects with a little imagination.
The items are what the magic is housed in. As a GM, decide if the object is large or small. It must be possible to bring in to a house… somehow.
Of Tranege – Tranege was a magician focusing on Wyld magic – unpredictable and powerful. Tranege’s magic causes no harm, but detains, moves, or transports. Breaking the bottle for the bottled ship of Tranege brings about a full sized ship that can take the players anywhere that is on water, and yes, that includes the River Styx.
Of Nightmares – This magic calls on the power to create nightmares in the victim, rendering them exhausted and easily frightened. Reduce the appropriate attribute accordingly.
Of Strength – This object has the ability to increase strength in the player or decrease strength in the victim. Choose which.
Of Power – Power in this instance can mean influence. The object can increase power or decrease power. Choose which.
Of Sleep – This object puts the user or victims to sleep.
Of Joy – This object brings joy, or removes joy. Choose which.
Of Hilmar – Hilmar’s powers were primarily those of electricity and lightning. Any magical object infused by Hilmar’s magic has powers associated with electricity and lightning.
Of Susuria – Susuria was a mage using the powers of plants and growing to power her magic. Restraining, poisons, food and support are all aspects of Susuria’s powers.
Of Marvel – Marvel inspire awe in those who see it and can make anyone stop in their tracks. Marvel can be applied to a person or an object.
Of Illusion – Illusion is used to trick and misdirect.
Bartholomew House is full of traps of various kinds. They can be placed anywhere, embedded in doors, windows, in statues and decorative objects. The traps can be detected by those with a high enough perception.
Assemble your traps from the list below.
The damage from any of the traps is consistent with the damage similar traps deliver in the system you’re using. Create your own traps and be creative, but remember that all traps, like enemies, should be paced.
The creatures in Bartholomew House can run to the insect kind, spiders and scorpions lurking in bookshelves.
Bookworms are magical creatures that eat information in books. They’re kind about it though, and leave the words on the pages, but on occasion somewhat jumbled.
Bookworms are very greedy while feeding, though, and might accidentally bite someone trying to take their food away.
Sugar Golems eat – you guessed it – sugar. They’re also made of sugar, when they eat sugar, they grow.
Sugar golems aren’t hostile per se, but they have a serious sweet tooth. They’re prepared to do a lot to get their sugar.
Sugar golems make very cute pets, but they grow very large if fed constantly. Sugar golems melt in rain and do not like water.