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The grounds of 18th century estates (such as Highdark Hall) often featured small decorative buildings known as follies. Such structures were especially popular in the British Isles, but many were also created in France and other parts of Europe. In accordance with the late 18th century taste for ruins, many follies were deliberately built to look as through they were old and dilapidated. Commonly, they were constructed to look classical or medieval in origin. Frequently, they would be built in highly inauthentic interpretations of styles that were considered “exotic”, such as Chinese, ancient Egyptian, or Turkish. In the United Kingdom, the fashion for building follies lasted well into the 19th century.
Some architectural follies are only the facade of a building. Some others are essentially solid sculptures, with no means of entrance. Many, however, are complete buildings with a room or two inside. Of those that can be entered, many are used as summerhouses, where guests might be entertained, or a light meal eaten in the middle of a garden. In Gothic scenarios, follies could actually be the meeting places of bizarre secret societies, be entrances to underground dungeons that holds kidnapped damsels, or even imprison supernatural creatures! Often, however, follies have no intended purpose but to look nice in a landscape, and display the disposable wealth of the estate’s owner.
Random Architectural Follies (d20)
- “Druidic” Megalith(s) (1 – 12)
- Amphitheater, Ruined
- Artificial Grotto, perhaps with interior pool. May be the entrance to underground passages.
- Castle (d4: 1=small ruined, 2= ruined facade, 3=small intact, 4=intact facade)
- Chinese Pagoda
- Church (d4: 1=ruined Gothic, 2=ruined Romanesque, 3=ruined Gothic facade, 4=intact Gothic facade)
- Column or Obelisk (d6: 1=Corinthian Column, 2=Doric Column, 3=Ionic Column, 4,5,6=Egyptian Obelisk)
- Columns and Entablature, Ruined
- Dry Bridge (does not cross any water) (d4: 1=Gothic, 2=Chinese, 3=Roman, 4=Rustic)
- Gateway or Arch (d6 1=Classical, 2=Gothic, 3=Chinese, 4=Egyptian, 5=Turkish, 6=Sculpture of a Monstrous Mouth)
- Idealized Cottages (peasant or hermitage)
- Oddly-shaped Building (d4: 1=triangular, 2=conical, 3=pentagonal, 4=sculptural [pineapple, etc.])
- Pavilion (d4: 1=Gothic, 2=Turkish, 3=Chinese, 4=Egyptian)
- Pyramid, Egyptian or Aztec
- Roman Aqueduct, Ruined Section
- Rotunda (d4: 1=ruined classical, 2=ruined Gothic, 3=intact Gothic, 4=intact classical)
- Temple (d6: 1=ruined classical, 2=ruined Egyptian, 3=intact classical, 4=intact Egyptian, 5=Hindu, 6=Aztec)
- Tents, Cloth or Stone
- Tomb or Cemetery, False (d4: 1=ruined classical, 2=intact classical, 3=ruined medieval, 4=intact medieval)
- Tower (d4: 1=castle, 2=minaret, 3=classical, 4=sculptural)
Purpose of Folly’s Interior (d20)
1 – 7. None, but may be richly decorated anyway.
8 – 12. Summerhouse
13. Meeting Place (for secret society, salon)
14. Shed (garden tools, garden furniture storage)
17. Ice House
18. Larder (especially for game animals)
20. Dungeon or Prison (person, animal, supernatural creature)