Welcome back to Loot The Room! It’s been a while, but I’m back again with new content and a new schedule.
Each month will see me tackling a new theme, creating content that works together to enable you to run a really memorable adventure. The month is broken down into the following posts, all of which go live on Wednesdays:
- Maps, with lore and adventure hooks
- Treasure and trinkets
- Monsters and enemies
- Custom background music to use at your gaming table
In months where there are 5 Wednesdays (such as this month), I’ll either take the last week off or else revive and old post that needs some sprucing up.
This month’s theme is a horror classic – Cabin In The Woods. Today I’m bringing you maps of the home of Celli Dustgrasp, a gnomish wandmaker. Along with the maps you’re getting some adventure hooks and a small collection of trinkets. Next week sees more trinkets and some new magic items. On October 16th I’m bringing you stats for a new monster, the Stranglebloom, which has moved into Celli’s cabin. And finally, on October 23rd, you can tie it all together with some instrumental background music.
As always, Patrons of Loot The Room get early access to all the content, plus extras like black and white maps, high quality downloads of the music, and more.
“She’s lived up there for years. Nobody sees her much and nobody really goes near. She messes around with some weird stuff, right? T’ain’t safe to get too close. Only reason we know she’s still alive’s that she comes to town for Maker’s Market every Autumn. Dunno what she’s into or where she learned her craft, but there’s no doubting she makes some powerful stuff. Strange, and expensive, but powerful.”
[Click on maps to embiggen]
The Wandmaker’s Cottage is the home of Celli Dustgrasp, a gnomish mage-cum-druid who specialises in crafting wands, staves, and sceptres. She settled in a cabin deep in the woods centuries ago, choosing the spot for its proximity to several rare and useful species of tree that she utilises in her wandwork. She has also spent many years earning the trust of various magical creatures who dwell in the forest, who often allow her to take things from them to build her items – unicorn hair, Ettercap web, dryad tears and leaves from their trees, and the like.
The cabin itself is unremarkable – a low, crudely-constructed shack with a sloped roof and a small second storey at the back of the building. Small windows to either side of the front door are shuttered over from inside, and there are no windows on any other wall. The clearing it sits in appears natural – there is no sign that trees or other vegetation have been cleared to make way for the building – but the ground around the cabin is well-tended.
There is a back entrance to the cabin, but from the outside the door is almost impossible to detect. The rear wall appears to be one solid piece to those who do not search carefully for the door.
Unless otherwise noted, all flooring inside the cabin is bare wooden boards.
1 – The Garden
This small garden area is fenced off from the surrounding forest. At first glance it appears overgrown and untended, but closer inspection reveals that the tall, waving grasses and flowers have been planted in distinct rows and sections. Many of the flowers here are strange, coloured in hues that shift and change depending on the angle that you view them from, and their petals twist and pulse without any real correlation to the wind or weather.
Opening the gate or otherwise crossing the fence triggers a magical alarm that alerts Celli to the presence of intruders, though only she hears it.
A path of large stones leads from the gate to the door of the cabin. This is the only safe route across the garden. The flowers and other plants in the garden are used in Celli’s work, but they also serve as a deterrent from intruders. Characters straying from the path may suffer the following consequences (or any others of your invention):
- A large flower with purple and yellow petals releases a cloud of fine red spores into the air, putting all who inhale them to sleep.
- The formerly solid ground beneath your feet turns to marsh, and a strong force begins pulling you down into the earth.
- Previously unseen creatures emerge from the foliage. They look like classic fairies – diminutive humanoids with gossamer wings – but their teeth and nails are razor sharp. They descend on the intruders in a swarm, attempting to drive you away from the cabin.
2 – The Living Area
The interior of the cabin is humble and orderly, with no real sign that anybody unusual lives here. To the left of the front door is a small living area – a sofa and an old (but well-kept) leather armchair – both sized for a gnome – sit in front of a narrow fireplace and mantlepiece on the west wall. A worn rug covers the floor between the seats and the mantlepiece. (Curiously, there is no visible chimney.) The top of the mantle is clustered with groups of half-burned candles.
On the north wall a ladder leads to an opening in the ceiling.
A wooden staircase surrounded by a waist-height wooden wall sits in the middle of the room and descends to a basement below.
The eastern half of the room is a dining area, with a small round table set for one and a sideboard unit on the east wall. Its cupboards and drawers hold general household items – plates, bowls, cutlery, along with cleaning supplies, bedding, and the like. The top surface of the sideboard holds personal trinkets of little real value – a portrait of a gnomish man in a well-tailored three-piece suit; a set of porcelain statuettes of small forest animals; and a silver pocket watch that is missing the hour hand.
3 – Kitchen
This small kitchen has a two-foot high worktop running down the east wall with a small sink set in the middle of it. A small firepit sits in the middle of the room – well away from the walls- with a cast-iron pot suspended above it. A large butt of water sits in the northeast corner of the room. The west and south walls are covered in hooks and shelves holding standard kitchen implements – knives, pots, pans, cutting boards, and other utensils. Nothing is mounted higher up than around 4 feet.
Bundles of herbs and vegetables hang from the ceiling, low enough for Celli to reach them. This means that characters of average human height or taller must push them aside or duck under them to move through the room.
4 – Celli’s Library
The walls in this small passageway leading up to the back door are lined with bookcases that reach to the ceiling. Each wall has a ladder mounted on casters and fixed to a bar running along the ceiling above the bookcases. The shelves are tightly packed, with books stacked two-deep in places and with books lying flat atop the other books that are placed normally on the shelves.
The vast majority of the books deal with topics like alchemy, herbology, and enchantment, as well as several volumes on ancient history of various far-flung regions of the world. They are written in a variety of languages, and most appear to have been copied in the same tightly-rendered cursive. (Celli spent a large portion of her life studying and travelling to libraries across the world, and these books are her own transcriptions of the works that she studied).
The following are a small number of notable titles that characters searching the library may discover:
- A Treatise on the Wand-lore of the Far Western Reaches by Folre Oriris. Around 300 pages, bound in deep red leather, with a gold ribbon bookmark attached to the spine.
- Tending The Groves by Nȁonnir. Bound in elder tree bark with pages made from leaves that have been pulped and turned into a crude paper, this book is written in druidic and is a journal kept by the druid Nȁonnir over some 200 years of her life.
- A Moon-Shaped Pool, author unknown. A small, slim volume bound in unremarkable brown cloth, containing music and lyrics for a selection of ancient songs. They are quite haunting if performed.
The end of the library hallway holds the back door of the cottage, which is kept locked at all times. The key is located in Celli’s bedchamber on the upper floor.
5 – Celli’s Workshop
This is the space where Celli creates her wands and sceptres. The middle of the room is dominated by a long, wide table that, unlike the other surfaces in the cabin, is of normal height for a human. A set of portable steps sits on the floor beside it, which Celli stands on to reach her work surface. The top of the table is strewn with scraps of parchment containing Celli’s sketches and notes for her current work-in-progress, strips of wood and lengths of branch that have been shaved and whittled smooth, and a set of very sharp knives of varying sizes.
In one of the corners of Celli’s worktable is a large leatherbound book that is generally left lying open to the last page Celli was reading. Like the other volumes in the cabin it is hand-written by Celli, but this is written in a code of her own devising and gives exact details about her work. This is Celli’s most valuable posession.
A large wooden crate with an open top sits beneath the table. It is filled with lengths of wood, branches, and vines, none of which have yet been treated in any way. This is Celli’s store of wandwood, and she selects pieces from it based on the requirements of whatever she is creating.
The east wall is an extension of the library in 4, with floor-to-ceiling bookcases stuffed to bursting and another ladder set to roll along them. The other walls are covered in shelving that holds numerous jars, bottles, bags, and boxes, each of them packed with specific ingredients and tools that Celli needs in her work.
6 – Celli’s Bedroom
The ladder in 2 emerges into Celli’s sleeping quarters. This room is very low – around 6 feet tall in the centre, with the roof sloping down to just over 4 feet at the walls. Exposed joists run across the room from the walls, meaning characters taller than 4 feet have to crouch to move past them.
Celli’s small bed sits in the northeast corner of the room. A small chest at its foot holds spare bedding – a couple of extra pillows, a few worn old blankets, fresh sheets, and a thick duvet. There is a small wardrobe and chest of drawers against the west wall, containing Celli’s day-to-day clothes and a few thick cloaks and coats for travelling.
A bedside table holds a candle, another portrait of the same man pictured on the sideboard in 2, and a slim leatherbound journal that Celli writes in before bed. This is written in a code of her own devising, and contains both details of the minutiae of her day, her hopes, dreams, and worries, and thoughts on her works in progress. The latter are generally transcribed in more detail into the larger volume that can be found in 5.
7 – Main Cellar
The cellar of Celli’s cabin is very low – the ceiling is barely higher than 5 feet. This larger main chamber is where Celli stores her food, along with supplies for her work that she can’t fit in her workshop. The floor is cluttered with crates and barrels packed with food, water, wine, brandy, and – of course – plenty of wood. Nothing is labelled and there seems to be no method to how it is organised. Celli has been on her own long enough that she simply knows where everything is.
8 – Wand Storage
The room as the back of the cellar is where Celli stores her creations, whether that is for her own personal use or else in preparation for the Marker’s Market in town each Autumn. In contrast to the clutter and seeming chaos of the main cellar, this room is neat and orderly. Racks and stands holding larger staves and sceptres line the walls, while the middle of the room holds a set of free-standing drawers that each contain an individual wand or rod.
There is no door on this room, but it is not unprotected. The open doorway is magically guarded. Anybody other than Celli who crosses the threshold must succeed on a Wisdom Saving Throw (with a DC appropriate to the level of your characters) or else be Stunned.
As with the main cellar, nothing in here is labelled. It is left to the GM to decide what properties the items in this room contain, though physical descriptions of some of Celli’s creations follow (with more specific details to come in this month’s Treasure and Trinkets post on Wednesday 10th October).
Investigators might find the following items here:
- A five-foot stave made from three lengths of different woods – ash, elder, and rowan. The ends of each length twist into one another, creating an almost seamless transition between materials. A fist-sized ball of amber is set in the head of the stave, which is the ash end.
- A short, fat wand, barely five inches in length. It is made of a dark, almost black wood and is uniformly thick with no taper at either end. One half is knurled in a diamond pattern to improve grip. The other half is perfectly smooth. A small gold disc is set into the smooth end like a cap.
- A two-foot long twisted glass rod. The glass appears to be naturally formed, the result of lightning striking sand. There is no obvious place to hold it. Strands of some gossamer blue substance are streaked through the inside of the glass.
Characters need a reason to visit Celli’s cabin. If you cannot find a use for the wandmaker and her home yourself, you might use one of the following adventure hooks.
- The Maker’s Market has come to town but Celli has not arrived with it. Locals want to go and check that she isn’t hurt or in trouble, but the creatures who inhabit the forest near her home are not friendly to intruders. They offer the party a reward for their assistance.
- A mage has come to town seeking Celli, and he is not happy. He bought one of her wands several years ago and it has begun to malfunction, injuring him gravely. He went to her cottage to confront her about it, but when he returned he was bloody, ashen-faced, and refused to speak to anybody. He has been holed up in the inn for the past week, and nobody knows what happened. The party are approached to find out what is going on, and to determine whether Celli is unharmed.
- During one of their adventures the party encounters another band of adventurers in dire straits. Mortally wounded, the would-be heroes are no longer able to continue their quest. They tell the party that they had been employed by Celli to obtain the horn of a powerful demon, and that they were on the way to deliver it to her when they met their fate. They ask the party to transport it to the gnome, with a warning that the demon may well be coming to take it back.
- The party have come into possession of a letter written by a wizened old gnome on his deathbed. He asks that they deliver it to Celli, who he says was once his wife. The letter speaks of his enduring love for her, and his regret they that parted ways on such harsh terms.
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