Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Eight Houses

You Just Moved In...

Some House types for the start of a GG&G game. My central concept was to have a 'home base' that had a reasonable range of things to explore and do inside, some benefits to exploration and some mild challenges as well. A place that would feel strange but which would gradually come to feel like 'home'.
I wanted everything to feel intelligible to children so it’s all a little more normalish, or at least not high weird.

Idea is that a rich old relative has died, maybe recently or maybe a long time ago but the details have been wrapped up in legal limbo for a while, but you (or your parent really) have just been told you can live there. This is handy a your family has fallen on hard times (down to one Goose only, and that one not a Bullion-Goose at all), and you need somewhere to live.

So the House is new, and strange. Outside the village and the surrounding lands are new.

The village and lands are meant to be semi-randomly generated, so a village will always have stuff like a baker, butcher etc, but the details of who they are and what their situation is will differ etc.

The land beyond will also be different for each game.

All of these will have bedrooms, a kitchen and a hearth.


A big central spiral staircase up the middle of the tree with slidable pole. 

A swing from one branch. Ivy to climb the trunk on the outside. Rope ladders down from some of the 'rooms' (you can raise and lower these). 

Cranky old birds in nests, these change with the seasons. Thieving Squirrels. A Howler monkey that howls randomly.

Body of a dead balloonist hanging from a distant branch, been there for years, can't get rid of him.
A branch gap you can jump over to another tree (if you take a running jump). The trees don't *look* that close together from the ground.

There are ruined old parts of the treehouse on dead branches where its always autumn, including one distant branch which you can only see from up here and which seems to go nowhere, winding off into the upper air.

A lost property box full of kites and balls


A sinkhole with a narrow walkway spiralling round the rim-wall. A basket-pulley system hanging from a tree branch projecting over the lip lets you raise and lower objects and people faster than going round the rim-path.

At the bottom of the sinkhole is a wild garden and in the side is the cavern which is the entrance to the cave.

In the garden is an utterly flat, black pool which never ripples and where you can never see the bottom. Living in the pool is One Frog.

Inside the cave is full of softly glowing fungi and sleepy glow-worms, the walls have more-mysterious mushrooms growing from them sometimes. You find your way with lanterns. The place drips and echoes always. A waterfall from deeper in the cave echoes slightly.

The inner areas are strangely arranged. In some places steps are cut into the flowstone, in others wooden stairs have been added, in others ladders or ropes. The rooms are all hacked into the rock.

Deep in the cave is the Bat Room where they rustle and whisper to each other in the day. The old woman who shows you the cave tells you to always turn out candles at dusk and dawn as the bats will all fly through the cave in and out. You can feel them flit against your face when they do. A tilting water-clock fed by a drip rings a solemn bell and tells you when to turn the lights out.

One cave room is very huge, and empty, except for an ancient black idol covered with flowstone. 

At one place a rope bridge leads over a deep, dark drop.

Deep inside the cave the way opens onto a jetty which reaches into an underground river, or lake? You can't see the edge, only black water. There is a sign in a language you don't know and a hook for a lamp.

If you stay down here you might see small men in boats going this way and that in the silent dark. If you hang a lamp by the sign, they will assume you want to trade and will arrive at the jetty. No-one outside the cave knows about this.

The cave has a giant boulder set to roll through its halls if a prop is knocked away, secret crackways running throughout that only  child could squirm through and a chimney climb to a secret way out hidden in a tree trunk above.


This old Inn is falling apart and hasn't been open to the public for years. It has a sign with cracked paint which swings in the wind outside.

The main room has a big chandelier attached to the roof with a pulley with the handle behind the bar. It also has a pool table, a dartboard, barstools, horse tack nailed to the walls, one of the tables has been carved into a half-complete map of the local area. There is also an Auld Fellah at the back, he is asleep almost all of the time but will wake up if he has a beer in front of him and ramble about the old times. Its not clear how he gets in but he is almost always there.

There is a 'snug' a special room off the main bar with frosted glass windows nobody can see into and with its own door to the outside.

The place has a large Kitchen and there is a special roll-up window between the Kitchen and the bar. It has a huge cellar with big empty barrels you can hide inside and a trapdoor to the outside.

There are walkways in the dark of the rafters and hidden areas in the walls. There are rats playing cards in the basement. They are hard to get rid of but if you beat them at cards (they cheat) you can hire them on the cheap as bouncers and muscle (they are truculent).


There is a central Keep which still pretty much hangs together, outside that the courtyard is so overgrown it nearly looks like a lawn and the outer walls are so ancient and tumbledown that trees are growing in them and small climbing goats specifically inhabit them. Beyond this is the moat, which is more of a pond by now and has lilies, ducks and a pike. 

The drawbridge is probably permanently down and the huge oak gates are askew and damaged by dragon-fire from long ago. Its easier to get out through the wicket door in the Gate, or just climb under it (or climb around on the tumbledown walls.

There is a very old statue in the courtyard but its not clear who of. It was melted somewhat by a dragon. There are also the remains of a stable and blacksmith outside, as well as a Dovecote beyond the walls and within the walls, a very old apiary where the bees have been allowed to do as they please.

The Keep walls are old and mossy enough that they are theoretically climbable, but at least they are whole.

The door to the keep is still solid and has a huge lock with a big iron key. Inside there is a big main hall and spiral stairs leading up. There are arrow-slit windows. Right on the roof is a very old, probably non-functional, Mangonel. Down below are dungeons and hidden in the dungeons is a secret exit which leads to a tunnel under the moat which comes out somewhere unusual.


This place used to be rich once. It’s way too big for your small family. The huge hose spreads out into two wings. It is very fancy and impressive though. It's definitely haunted, but how much?

The entry has a portrait hall with suits of armour, and a huge staircase with a banister you can slide down. Its main room has massive couches you can disappear into and a giant ornate fireplace.

There is a spook room but the spider in it is friendly. There is a spooky attic with a locked chest full of scratching sounds, a terrifying basement and a cursed treasure room. (The Treasure is cursed, not the room). Every now and then people steal the treasure but then they get cursed and always end up bringing it back.

There is a sweaty, gloomy greenhouse, a dumb waiter to every floor and indoor toilets, slightly haunted. There are bells to ring for servants and several secret passages accessed by pulling out books and pressing the noses on statues.


A tall crooked wooden house with a tall crooked stone tower leaning out of its side. There is a Gargoyle up there but when it sees you staring it hides its face and crawls away.

The front door has an animated knocker with the face of an old man. Within is a hall with witch signs on the beams, the skeletons of snakes in glass boxes, stiffen field animals in dramatic tableaux, a skull under a black velvet cover and a grandfather clock with a sculpture of a sleeping owl on top who tells you if you are late for things; "Hoot Hoot, tick-tock, you lie behind the time!"

Beyond is a kitchen (normal) and pantry with a small door which leads to tomorrow, so if you plan to make food, then you can reach through and steal it from your future self, (though you still have to then actually make the food and place it there to be stolen). If you are sneaky you can put a message in there, though this leads to complications as you have broken cause-and-effect.

Above are a non-Euclidian hallway with doors at each far end so that if you go through one door you come out of the other, which saves walking the whole length of the hall, an upside down room, which you must be careful to enter, a room with a dolls house where figures in the house show where people are in the real house, though you never see them move.

In the tower is a laboratory with mordant stuffed crocodile hanging from rafters, a sleeping absent minded portrait, a horrible demonic box, a scrying pool (which only works if filled with tears), a library and an observatory right at the top. A shy but friendly Gargoyle with low self-esteem lives on the tower.


This is a giant stone head with a home built inside it. It looks like it was made that way. It's not clear if there is a body under the head or what.

There is a pretty normal living room which spins round if you pull a lever, behind it is a mighty room with a window looking out of one eye, a huge stone table and seven great chairs sitting around it. It looks pretty cool but it’s the only convenient place to eat meals and not that comfortable.

There is a solar laser room for some reason. Opening a mirrored portal with chains focuses the light of the sun (if it is out) into a laser which slowly cuts down the centre of a giant block of marble in the middle of the room. Its handy if you need something cut in half, which isn't something you need that often.

Right in the crown is a room with a big desk and a lever behind it. If you pull the lever a trap door in front of the desk opens but you just fall out of the nostril of the big head, currently into either a water bucket or flowerbed. The other nostril has a secret entry/exit with hidden climbing steps.

There are quite a few secret ways in and out. One of the ears has a hidden circular door inside it. (The other ear is where the chimney comes out so when something is cooking it looks like the head is fuming with thoughts. On the head top is a giant perch for.. something. Within is a library with empty shelves except for one book. Pulling that book reveals another secret place, a fireman’s pole down to a hidden stable beneath the head which exits through a nearby riverbank.

Each of the seven bedrooms is behind a secret door. One has a bed massively reinforced with stone legs, another bedroom has furniture made of crystal glass and its only window looks out onto an alien world so you never know what time it is.


The monster is pretty big, its dried scaly skin is like the worlds strongest tent over its bones and dried cavernous innards.

One ear has a Pigeon roost and the bones of the tail reach out to form a bridge over a nearby stream. There is an escape hatch in the bum and the chimney comes up through the carcass and is tied to the biggest spinal spike. The head is laying side-on and a butterfly garden has been planted between the toothed jaws. (Though sometimes giant teeth fall down.) Entrail tubes make a handy greenhouse when propped up with the fallen incisors and bone fragments.

The central hall is in the hollow chest, a multi-levelled room around a hollow centre, held up like a tent. In the centre is a gigantic glass jar with one of the creatures eyes preserved inside. It often seems to be looking at things. Several large strange animal skeletons are arranged around this civilised hall, poised as they would be in life, though as if dining on books, waiting to leap down from above door mantels or stalking each other.

One bedroom has a range of trophy heads, another has a fishtank full of unfed fighting fish, another has a huge labyrinthine ant colony (the glass tubes go throughout the house. On the bottom floor is a flensing pit where flesh-eating insects would clear meat from bones. There are large chains to drop in the big carcasses, though most of the flesh eating insects are dead.

A treasure room has a bezoar of antique bronze swords all mangled together for eons, a faceless granite stone head, the features eaten away, and. bits and pieces of a ceramic woman all cracked up.

The main hall has a stuffed bear with secret entry behind it so you can sneak into it and see through its eyes.


I wanted to get to ten on these. Ten houses with ten individual elements each, but threading that needle of child-friendly, interesting, tangible, not totally up itself etc etc was surprisingly difficult. Feel free to add your own below if your like.

Bridge House I couldn't come up with much good for. House Boat implies a river and I don't want them to move. Windmill I couldn't come up with anything good for.


  1. Those are absolutely delightful.

    I would add secret wind organ and flutes to Windmill, a scroll with deal with the Devil somewhere (however 'devil' it is), a small storage full of strange kind of flour, a rainbow that occasionally tangles on the wind-wings as on a spindle; sleepy owl, an somewhat animated skeletal hand which seems to behave like a cat; fragments of stained glass panel, which depicts this windmill but also it is different and some pieces are missing; and a monumental clock, tied to a main axle but broken.
    Clocktower in general might be one of the houses.

    1. The skeletal hand that behaves like a cat I will definitely steal.

  2. P.S. Also, maybe a Lighthouse?

    1. Lighthouse isn't bad but it necessitates sea

    2. Not necessary, because one of the mysteries could be why there is a Lighthouse but no sea.

    3. Also, maybe Observatory? Catching starlight into jars but it also has a telescope rotating mechanism.

  3. What about some sort of house that's extremely "shared space"? Like a house in an apartment, one tiny space devoted to "our" family, and you have to climb through someone else's kitchen to reach the way out

    Or a "house as machine"? Draw on inspirations like Howls Moving castle (except non moving) for a situation where the family lives in the delapitated but still slowly churning remains of some massive machine.

    1. Some kind of crank/mill/clock/machine house might work yeah

  4. As a child, did you ever spend time in a very large house, say while visiting relatives? What a feeling of yearning to explore the mysterious far reaches of a place. Little doors to storage spaces and their associated hidden places in far-flung areas of a house still feature prominently in my dreams. They are the conduit to new social contexts (the realization of desires or the actualization of problems), new rules of the world (a shift in tone to something disconcerting, for example, or the path to some elevated outdoor place), or a place to become suddenly trapped in and preyed upon, and so forth. If passageways like this ever get their own spirits, to me they’d be halfway between well dwellers and hearth spirits

    When I was a boy we visited some distant relatives in a place that was like the staging ground for Jumanji. A big hunting house in Florida made entirely from dark unpainted wood with antlers and animal heads all over the walls. There were artifacts from the era of great safaris; guns, maps and books. The land around it was a hot forest with these big hive mounds of vicious fire ants.

    Another time we decided we’d vacation in a big house on a rocky, windswept island, and that place kind of actualized the “hidden portal” fantasy for me. This super earthy boatman took us out there; he seemed unreliable but reliable, like he could help you solve small mechanical problems but there was a reason that he could be hired to ferry tourists to some remote sea-blasted rocky island. I remember that he said to stay away from the outboard motor or I’d lose my “wedding tackle.”
    The coast it sat on was all jagged volcanic rock and I believe I got scraped or cut up playing around on this long trail leading up to it. Inside, past a narrow curtain in the wall on the second floor near a bunch of bedrooms, was a big, beautiful, red and golden room that was used as a home theater for their full collection of James Bond movies. *That* was something dreamlike for a boy to discover in the 90s.

    I visited my cousins in California periodically. Their house was on a prosperous hill, a sunny paradise, but they kept it so pristine inside that it was a little cold somehow. It wasn’t bad, but it was such a large house that by necessity it seemed to have many crawlspaces and hidden compartments within the walls, and this was one of the first places where my psyche began storing things in the closets. The coldness meant that the crawlspaces must necessarily be darker.

    In some houses the life comes out and is all around you, like in the Jumanji house where it was like having an explorer with white whiskers and a big William Taft belly walking around. In the California one the life seemed to be hidden and concentrated; driven into the shadows. A self-interested spirit turned into something unfriendly.

    By that way, the butterfly garden in the jaws is exactly what the monster-home needed to get the tone right

    1. Thanks Knight.

      I do have the sense of exploring some great old homes in my youth but I suspect it didn't actually happen and that I am remembering Susan Cooper novels read early as false recollections.

  5. Might overlap with the tavern, but a bigger hotel could work as seen in both Spirited Away and the Shining - a large building with lots of social spaces, either filled with interesting strangers or with their interesting leavings

  6. ship house is adventure in 2 words hehe or maybe just "magically big on the inside" wagon house

  7. My daughters are all about clock towers and church spires (something about the way they look like little Disney castles, I think). Also, I think you could probably get also get mileage out of a gingerbread house, a woodland cottage, or a big farm. Maybe even little apartments attached to a larger more public space: like a train station or rail-yard, an old hospital, or a library. The bath-house in Spirited Away, maybe, or Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

    I will also say that if you want to make any building more enticing to kids, you add an elevator or a dumbwaiter. I grew up in a farmhouse with a rickety old elevator my grandfather had installed for his aging mother, and all my friends thought that shit was *magic*. Stairs are whatever - you can just look and see where those go. But elevators have tons of mysterious buttons, half of which kids are forbidden to touch. Who knows what exciting stuff those might do? But the best thing is there are a whole bunch of destinations and you can't see what they are before you go there, so for all you know the crazy thing might lead *anywhere*.

    1. Elevators, firemans pole, slideable banisters, climbable ivy, kids just love transiting the vertical axis in novel ways.

      Larger buildings probably will save for the Urban GG&G DLC.

  8. This is just the kind of content I value - with idiosyncrasies I could never think up on the fly.  I am coming to think simplified FKR style rules work best where the material conditions of the setting are accounted for in some detail.  It's this combination that seemed to be the way Arneson worked on Blackmoore.  Will have a think about other house ideas. I'm wondering where the goose lives.  

  9. A house boat could be in a bayou or big river delta or fjord, something like that with lots of twisty little channels and strange people coming and going. It could be a derelict paddle wheeler, lots of fancy old rooms with the ghosts of gamblers, a former riverboat pilot living up in the bridge who’ll let you look at his charts if you bring him booze (or maybe something more kid-friendly), a secret passageway that lets you spy on different tables in the casino, smokestacks with a colony of semi-intelligent cormorants that sometimes find jewelry in the riverbed muck, an alligator witch living in the engine room always cooking gumbo in one of the boilers...that’s pretty Louisiana but boats generally can be pretty stuck in place, you could do the same with an old pirate ship, ferry, whatever, just smack it in a backwater and let it get crusty.

  10. Another possibility for the Urban expansion: Library. Might be part of a University.

  11. Someone linked this OSR angry goose character class on OSR Discord.
    I had an idea for a building with a tiny ground floor and disproportionately enormous attic. Almost like a barn on silts to keep rats out, but people instead. In the attic is a furniture/toy making workshop. The toys/furniture all been put together in odd combinations. The table has rockers, the cupboard has forks for handles, the stool as has a spring on its seat.