Monday, January 13, 2014

Harrow Home Surface Ruins

Harrow Home is a ruined English manor house atop a lonely moor.  The stone walls, gatehouse, and chapel, stand like the bones of a discarded corpse; the ceilings have collapsed and any house goods are long gone.  Despite the desolation and remote locale, worn pathways into the ruins bespeak of frequent visitors.

The surface ruins are uninhabited.  However, each time the players arrive at the site, roll on the encounter tables below to see if someone else is traversing the ruins at the same.

Surface locations
1. Gatehouse
The stone work of the gatehouse is intact, and there's evidence that the north tower has been kept in repair.  A stout wooden door bars entrance to the tower.  There's evidence that men occasionally stand guard or camp on the second floor of the tower - a stool, kindling, ashes and coals.  There's a heavy trap door in the floor leading to an iron ladder down.

2. Great Hall
The main building consists of a great hall and a twisting warren of half fallen walls and passages.  Rubble covers the floor from the remains of the rafters and collapsed ceilings.

3. Chapel
The chapel is cleared of any religious trappings,  A large stone angel, 10' tall, cradles a book in her arms, and dominates the center of the room.  There's evidence that people camp here from time to time - litter in the corner and further evidence of small indoor fires.  The statue radiates magic if detected and is a powerful artifact - The Dreaming Angel.

There is a slab in the floor that can be pried with a crowbar.  Beneath the slab is a narrow spiral staircase down to level 1.  Finding it requires a activity like searching for a secret door.

4. Kitchen
In the southeast corner of the great hall, near the old kitchen, there is a staircase leading into the undercroft.

Outside the kitchen is a stone-circled well on the property not far from the servant's entrance.  The well is false and the shaft is another entrance to the dungeons.

5. North Tower
Underneath a loose flagstone is an iron box holding an oilskin wrapped journal - the Diary of Wil Fuller, and a silver amulet with sapphire in the shape of the family crest - a half moon (the amulet is worth 488sp).

6. Standing Stones
A set of 5 weathered megaliths circle a nearby hilltop.  A runic script like Ogham is chiseled into the surface of four of the stones - the runes list a series of wizard names (major characters from within the dungeon).  The fifth stone is covered in chiseled magical symbols, decipherable with a Read Magic spell.  A character can learn a new first level spell, Join the Covenant, from the megalith.

The stones surround a walled shaft in the center of the hill.  The shaft descends hundreds of feet into the depths of Harrow Home.

[ The Covenant is a larger topic I'll address in it's own post ].

Site Encounters
Each time the player characters return to the site, roll a d6 for the day.  On a roll of 1, another group is accessing the ruins as well (leaving, approaching, or waiting in the ruins - 33% of each).

Daytime Encounters
1 Bandits
2 Bandits
3 Traders
4 Traders
5 Acolytes
6 Angry Townsfolk

These are violent members of the Thurman gang (dungeon level 1).  They'll have a mix of swords, clubs, and pistols.  If they're leaving the ruins, they've either received a commission to kidnap someone, or perhaps it's a few rowdies off to the nearest town.  Returning bandits are escorting a victim.

Unscrupulous merchants know the inhabitants of Harrow Home pay dearly for provisions, rare ingredients and reagents, and foreign artifacts smuggled in from the coast.

Pilgrims from around England make infrequent trips to and from Harrow Home to worship at the temple of Mammon.

Angry Townsfolk
Dark rumors have always swirled around the site of Harrow Home.  When family members go missing, it's not unusual for angry peasants to storm the ruin looking for their loved ones.

Nighttime Encounters
[ coming later ]

Blog Notes
I'm on a business trip, so I can't scan in the map of the surface until next week.  I have a ton of notes for Harrow Home, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to develop it here on the blog.  I'd like to develop a terse style and treat it as a series of one-page dungeons - not sure I can achieve that level of brevity, though - I blab a lot.  There are four entrance into the dungeons from the surface ruins - the well, the main stairs, the bandit's trap door, and the shaft at the standing stones.


  1. Sounds intriguing! Would love to see a developed 17th century megadungeon.

  2. Does this mean Xibalba is going on the back burner? I voted for Xibalba in the poll, but at the time I thought your heart seemed to be with Harrow Home and that you should probably follow your passion. I went back and read all your Harrow Home posts and based on all the cool I saw I considered changing my vote, so I'm excited to see more of Harrow.

  3. I'm blown away by the amount of votes Xibalba got - it's clear there's a lot of support to build that one out! But I realized Harrow Home is ready to be written about (now), so if I want to start accumulating content for the new megadungeon immediately, I should go with Harrow Home.

  4. Really happy you decided to work on this, and the format sounds good too.

  5. All the pirate lovers voted.. ;)
    Harrow Home looks to be a great place to adventure, get killed and or lose some sanity.. Look forward to reading more!

  6. And though all this stuff is cool, I am hoping Beedo focuses on getting The Black City ready for publication!