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Glammis Castle 1852

The castles and grand houses of Gothic stories are not simply background settings, but characters in their own right. The first Gothic novel is titled “The Castle of Otranto”, rather than “The Dark Scheme of Manfred”. Rightful ownership of the Castle is central to the plot. Emily Brontë’s tale of mad, destructive love and its catastrophic consequences is not “Heathcliff, Catherine, and the Lintons”, but “Wuthering Heights”. The ancient home of the Earnshaw family is as much a participant in the story as any of the flesh and blood characters.

A Restless House is not just a mute witness to the dramas that unfold within its walls. Like other Gothic characters, it is obsessed with the fulfillment of its own needs, and can lash out at those who thwart its desires. A Restless House differs from a true Haunted House in that the strange events within its walls are not necessarily caused by an indwelling Ghost, Fairy, or other such entity (although an Restless House may also be Haunted by one or more Spirits). Rather, it is the house itself that hungers for satisfaction.

The unusual Preternatural means of dealing with angry Spirits (Exorcism, Summoning, Binding, etc.) are completely ineffective against an Restless House, because there is no Spirit to control. Such Effects might expel any Ghosts or spirits trapped in (or drawn to) the House, but cannot lay the House itself to rest. Likewise, Faith is ineffectual, because the House cannot flee the presence of the virtuous. There are only two things that can be done – learn and submit to the House’s desires, or discover its Heart and lull the House to sleep.

d100 The House wants…
1 – 2 to expel any family except its original owners.
3 – 4 to have new owners.
5 – 6 for its secret parts to be uncovered.
7 – 8 for its secret parts to remain unknown.
9 – 10 to reveal a crime once committed inside.
11 – 12 to conceal a crime once committed inside.
13 – 14 to be improved, or restored to its former glory.
15 – 16 to slide into ruin.
17 – 18 to be enlarged with many additions.
19 – 20 to have portions closed off.
21 –22 to be filled with guests.
23 – 24 to be empty and silent.
25 – 26 to be filled with beautiful art.
27 – 28 to be plain and unadorned.
29 – 30 for its inhabitants to be healthy
31 – 32 for its inhabitants to be stricken with disease.
33 – 34 to glorify the name of its builder.
35 – 36 to blacken the name of its builder.
37 – 38 to be crawling with animals.
39 – 40 to be free of animal inhabitants (especially vermin).
41 – 42 to always have a ball or party happening inside.
43 – 44 to never have balls or parties occur within.
45 – 46 for the family to grow.
47 – 48 for the family to be barren, and wither away.
49 – 50 for its estate to be enlarged.
51 – 52 for the tenants of its estate to be treated with fairness and generosity.
53 – 54 for its library to constantly grow.
55 – 56 for the first-born of the family to die on the estate before their 21stbirthday.
57 – 58 for the inhabiting family to die violently
59 – 60 to protect its family from all violence.
61 – 62 to be famous.
63 – 64 to be forgotten.
65 – 66 for the produce of its estate to be enjoyed.
67 – 68 for no one to eat food grown on its estate.
69 – 70 to have only beautiful servants inside.
71 – 72 to have only homely servants inside.
73 – 74 for its inhabitants to be sober.
75 – 76 for its rooms to always be warm.
77 – 78 for its rooms to always be cold.
79 – 80 for its interior to be filled with light.
81 – 82 for its interior to be dark and shadowy.
83 – 84 for its inhabitants to be pious.
85 – 86 for no religious ceremonies to be performed inside its walls.
87 – 88 for the family to stay on its estate.
89 – 90 for the family to seldom be on the estate.
91 – 92 for its owners to always be kind to gypsies, and other wanderers who seek shelter on the estate.
93 – 94 to have no strangers on the estate.
95 – 96 to have a certain language never be spoken inside.
97 – 98 for its inhabitants and guests to know love.
99 – 100 for there to be no love made inside its walls.
d100 The House communicates its desires through…
1 – 2 the words of its Lord.
3 – 4 the words of its Lady.
5 – 6 the words of the butler.
7 – 8 the words of the housekeeper.
9 – 10 the words of the youngest female servant.
11 – 12 the words of the youngest male servant.
13 – 14 the actions of a family pet.
15 – 16 the actions of the rats (or other house vermin).
17 – 18 the patterns of spiderwebs on the estate.
19 – 20 the behavior of the birds around the house.
21 –22 the behavior of the family’s horses.
23 – 24 the peculiar fungal growths on the exterior walls.
25 – 26 the growth and apparent movement of the trees.
27 – 28 the growth patterns of the grass.
29 – 30 the peculiar weather around the house.
31 – 32 the shape of the clouds above the house.
33 – 34 the sound of the wind around the estate.
35 – 36 the health of the animals on the estate.
37 – 38 dreams and other omens experienced by the young orphan governess (who is actually a descendant of the house’s original owners).
39 – 40 the dreams of house-guests.
41 – 42 the spectral apparition of the house’s architect.
43 – 44 the spectral apparition of the house’s first master.
45 – 46 the spectral apparition of the house’s first mistress.
47 – 48 the spectral apparition of a small girl.
49 – 50 the spectral apparition of a small boy.
51 – 52 the spectral apparition of an animal.
53 – 54 fleeting images seen on the surface of a pond on the estate.
55 – 56 a book that blows open to telling illustrations and passages.
57 – 58 a portrait or other painting that seems to change its colors, or luminosity.
59 – 60 the gestures of spectral, disembodied limbs.
61 – 62 patterns seen in the mist that rises off a pond or lake.
63 – 64 flashing images seen in a particular window.
65 – 66 words traced in the dust, wherever it accumulates.
67 – 68 images seen in the flames of the fireplace.
69 – 70 sudden alterations in temperature.
71 – 72 the inexplicable odor of certain perfumes.
73 – 74 messages written in chalk on the walls.
75 – 76 a disembodied male voice.
77 – 78 a disembodied female voice.
79 – 80 the words of a visiting raven, or a parrot kept as a pet.
81 – 82 the taste of the food served in the house.
83 – 84 the shapes of the shadows on the walls.
85 – 86 faces that mysteriously appear on the floors and walls.
87 – 88 images flashing in the silverware.
89 – 90 faint whispers on the wind.
91 – 92 groans from within an ancient suit of armor.
93 – 94 the mysterious appearance of certain objects.
95 – 96 certain hands repeatedly occurring in card games.
97 – 98 a silent figure shrouded completely in black.
99 – 100 the inexplicable movement of an ancient sword.

Naturally, the communication may be quite challenging to interpret correctly. Note that any apparitions created by the house are not true Ghosts, and are therefore not subject to Faith or any Preternatural effects relating to Spirits (or the Undead).

d100 If the House’s desires are repeatedly thwarted or defied…
1 – 2 valuable objects will fall down (or off the walls) and be damaged.
3 – 4 a violent storm will strike the area.
5 – 6 the animals on the estate will turn vicious.
7 – 8 the family’s horses and livestock will sicken and die.
9 – 10 sickness will strike the house’s inhabitants.
11 – 12 the house will become impossible to adequately clean, but thick dust and cobwebs wills seem to accumulate everywhere.
13 – 14 a murderous stranger will come to the house.
15 – 16 the family’s income will begin to fail.
17 – 18 threatening apparitions of all the houses former inhabitants will be seen.
19 – 20 the house will be suddenly overrun with vermin.
21 –22 a mischievous goblin will take up residence inside.
23 – 24 the plants in the kitchen garden will begin to die.
25 – 26 the crops of the estate’s tenants will begin to die.
27 – 28 murders of crows will be seen all over the estate.
29 – 30 a vampyre will be drawn to the estate.
31 – 32 inexplicable thumping and rasping sounds will be heard throughout the rooms.
33 – 34 water will begin to drip from ceilings, but an inspection of the roof will reveal no leaks.
35 – 36 a vile smell will spread throughout the rooms.
37 – 38 food stores will begin to spoil prematurely.
39 – 40 the water in the well (or other primary supply) will turn red.
41 – 42 all hunts will somehow be unsuccessful, no matter how much preparation goes into them.
43 – 44 a member of the household will apparently become possessed by the angry spirit of the house’s first master (or mistress).
45 – 46 the covers will be pulled off from anyone attempting to sleep in the house.
47 – 48 those in the house will constantly feel like they are being watched, or have an invisible presence next to them.
49 – 50 the stones in the family burial ground will be knocked over (or the coffins will be moved around in the family tomb).
51 – 52 the lord and lady of the house will be unable to produce children.
53 – 54 windows will be smashed with rocks with unseen throwers.
55 – 56 small objects (especially important ones) will constantly go missing.
57 – 58 small fires will start around the house.
59 – 60 bloodstains will appear on all the linens of the household.
61 – 62 the family’s carriages (and any mechanical devices in the house) will break down.
63 – 64 doors in the house will be alternately be stuck shut, or suddenly fly open.
65 – 66 slanderous stories about the family will begin to appear in scandal sheets and newspapers.
67 – 68 any guns fired on the estate will backfire.
69 – 70 all knives, forks, and scissors in the house will become dulled.
71 – 72 all the family’s clothing will be slashed.
73 – 74 cracks will begin to appear in all the mirrors, and get progressively worse.
75 – 76 all the wine will turn to vinegar.
77 – 78 an outbreak of lice will strike the household.
79 – 80 rocks will fall from the sky when family members use the gardens.
81 – 82 flocks of birds will begin flying into the closed windows.
83 – 84 wolves will be drawn to the estate.
85 – 86 bread will not rise, and no fermented beverages can be made.
87 – 88 no Preternatural Effects will work in the house, no matter how powerful the User.
89 – 90 the walls will start bleeding.
91 – 92 slime will appear on the sculptures in the house.
93 – 94 the tables and chairs of the house will be found moved around stacked in piles every morning.
95 – 96 any plumbing in the house, or on the estate, will burst.
97 – 98 all food served in the house will become tasteless.
99 – 100 fish or frogs will fall from the sky.

Choose (or roll) 1 to 4 times. Some house always express their displeasure the same way, while others can show their anger in multiple, different ways. All signs will suddenly stop as soon as the House’s desires are again satisfied. In the case of creatures drawn to the estate, they will suddenly decide to leave.

A Restless House has a Heart – a place or object where the building’s power is concentrated. If you consider Highdark Hall to be Restless, for example, its Heart would be the “Cave of the Ancient and Hungry One”.

d100 The Heart of the House is…
1 – 3 a natural grotto below the basement.
4 – 6 the enormous and grotesque fireplace in the grand entrance hall.
7 – 9 a foundation wall where the skeleton of a young girl is entombed.
10 – 12 the cesspit.
13 – 15 the altar of chapel.
16 – 18 the library created by the house’s first master.
19 – 21 an interior courtyard.
22 – 24 an ornate salon.
25 – 27 the ballroom.
28 – 30 a disused bedroom, in which nobody wants to sleep.
31 – 33 the boudoir of the house’s original mistress.
34 – 36 a cabinet of curiosities.
37 – 39 a dungeon / torture chamber, the site of innumerable atrocities in the past.
40 – 42 the wine cellar.
43 – 45 a secret room underneath the grand staircase.
46 – 48 an empty room in the attic.
49 – 51 the lumber room
52 – 54 the music room.
55 – 57 the house’s grand staircase.
58 – 60 the portrait of the house’s first master or mistress
61 – 63 the bust or statue of the house’s first master or mistress.
64 – 66 the gaming room
67 – 69 the state dining room.
70 – 72 a disused drawing room
73 – 75 the observatory
76 – 78 the skull of the house’s architect, which he insisted always be kept in the entrance hall.
79 – 81 a reliquary containing the actual heart of the house’s first mistress, stored in a secret niche.
82 – 84 the nursery
85 – 87 an ancient book in the library.
88 – 90 an ancient druid megalith, incorporated into the stone of the walls.
91 – 93 a cabinet house (or baby house) in the grand drawing room.
94 – 96 an ornate longcase clock.
97 – 100 a massive, centuries-old bed of ornately carved wood.

Once its Heart has been identified and found, the House can be be lain to rest. At least, for a time.

d20 The House can be lulled to sleep….
1 for a year, by spilling a pint of blood.
2 for a month, by pouring out a full bottle of costly liquor.
3 for a year, by two (or more) people making love in (or in front of) it.
4 for a week, with an offering of milk and bread.
5 for twenty years, by a suicide.
6 by leaving a horde of treasure, for as long the treasure remains.
7 for a month, by a person of low Perversity (6 or below) politely asking the house to be quiet.
8 for a month, by a issuing a bold challenge to the House, and winning a Charisma Contest. The House’s effective Charisma is 10, plus 1 for every 50 years it has stood.
9 for a year, with the blessing of a priest.
10 for a year, with the curse of a defrocked priest.
11 for a year, by the kiss of a virgin.
12 permanently, by smashing the Heart.
13 for a day, with an offering of fresh flowers.
14 by leaving a poem extolling the house, for as long as the poem remains in place.
15 for a month, by sprinkling holy water, or anointing with holy oil.
16 for a day, by engulfing the Heart in clouds of incense.
17 for as long as a flame burns in (or near) the Heart.
18 for as long as the Heart is covered in salt.
19 for twenty years, with a murder.
20 for a week, by a beautiful young woman (and/or handsome young man) performing a flawless dance.

The Heart of a Restless House will always re-form if destroyed, as long as the remainder of the house still stands. The sole exception is if smashing the Heart is the method by which the House is actually put asleep. If the House is demolished without first lulling it asleep, the builders of any new structure put on the site will feel an overwhelming urge to preserve, incorporate, or re-create the original Heart.