Saturday, January 26, 2019

Derceto Manor - Dunwich, Suffolk, England

These notes are for a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign I'm running for some friends online, which I'm calling Mansions & Mindfucks. It takes place on Earth in 16XX, in an alternate history where the city of Dunwich avoided any major storm damage in the 13th and 14th Centuries and remained a major port and population center even into the Early Modern period.

Things haven't quite gone in this direction, but my original idea was for the campaign to focus on supernatural investigations and haunted houses, with the PCs being members of a club which exists at roughly the halfway point between occult detectives and traditional D&D adventurers. Think of it like a hoity-toity thieves' guild whose members are all amateur occultists and ghost hunters on the weekends - a heavily-armed Scooby Gang with sticky fingers and loose morals.

The campaign began with the PCs all receiving notice that they have jointly inherited Derceto Manor in Dunwich; a puzzling message considering that none of them knew the previous owner who left it to them in his will. Since the players have arrived in Dunwich, I figure I should actually make some notes about their inheritance. For reference, I'm using a wonderful map designed and drawn by Dyson Logos called "Metivier Manor" (with some small modifications).

Derceto Manor
  • Location: Outskirts of Dunwich, Suffolk, England
  • Land: 7 Acres
  • Total Estate Value: 2,000,000 silver pieces
  • Yearly Maintenance Costs: 20,000 to 137,280 silver pieces.
  • Yearly Taxes: 80,000 to 154,000 silver pieces
  • Upkeep Costs: 50 silver pieces per resident per month
  • Annual costs are due on April 1. Monthly costs are due on the first of each month.
Structures on Property
  1. Derceto Manor itself
  2. Small House for Servants (Pregzt, Boleskine, Marsh, and Whateley)
  3. Combined Garage/Stable
  4. Tool/Gardening Shed
  5. Crypt Entrance (locked)
  6. Pavilion
  7. Well
  8. Cesspit
  9. Abandoned, Overgrown Garden (with various broken statues, crumbling walls, and other assorted masonry)
  10. Foundation of a structure that might have once been a tiny Chapel
People of Interest
Ambrose Clark Sumnergrave - Former owner of Derceto and mysterious benefactor from beyond the grave. Disappeared about six months ago after changing his will to state that he should be presumed dead in the event of such a lengthy absence. Said to have often spent months at a time away from home, leaving it to the expert care of his servants. When he was home, he often threw lavish but intimate parties for the intelligentsia of Dunwich. Said to be a skilled writer in many fields, whose poetry and fiction are especially affecting, if morbid and almost unintelligibly abstract. Dabbled in painting, but was certainly no master. Many people's memories of him are unusually vague or contradictory.

Reginald Timsh - The lawyer handling the will. He doesn't actually know much about Sumnergrave or understand the purpose of this unusual distribution of the Derceto estate, but he received a great deal of money from some mysterious source to handle this case, and he believes in giving his clients what they pay for. See Alfred Cunningham, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 13.

Bartholomew James - Sumnergrave's former accountant. See Percival St. John, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 38.

Kelvin Pregzt - Handyman for Derceto (craftsman). See Thomas Grayson, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 18.

Geoffrey Boleskine - Groundskeeper for Derceto (laborer). See Eugene Madget, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 26.

Zadok Marsh - Sumnergrave's former personal coachman. See Gordon Balladeer, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 8.

Thaddeus Whateley - Teamster for Derceto's stables. See Henry Waxman,  People of Pembrooktonshire p. 41.

Hubert Hartwood (butler) - Butler, husband of Susan. See Thurston Butcher, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 10.

Susan Hartwood - Household servant, wife of Hubert. See Jaime Bohmer, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 10.

June Carnby - Household servant, wife of Ezekiel. See Theodosa Birkbeck, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 9.

Ezekiel Carnby - Household servant, husband of June. See Samuel Pfaff, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 32.

"Curtis Poe" - Household servant. Real name Lorelei Vaughan. See Lancelot Dashwood, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 13, and Margaret van Mook, People of Pembrooktonshire p. 41.

Notes on Rooms
General Details about the House - Each square on the grid is 5 feet by 5 feet. I was originally going to make them 10 by 10, but that seemed excessive. I am fairly certain I used 5 foot squares when I determined the cost of the house and the value of the arcane library and laboratory, but I'm not totally sure. If things aren't completely accurate to the rules, so be it.

The house is clean and in good repair, despite the untidiness of the estate's grounds. The building's exterior is mostly stone. The windows are glass, and very modern for the time. Fireplaces can be assumed to be present in all major rooms above ground, even if not depicted on the map. Ceilings range in height from 7.5 feet in smaller rooms to 10 feet in larger rooms.

NOTE: As of 01/26/2019, most rooms currently lack descriptions. I plan to edit this post and fill in more details as they come up in the game.

Ground Floor:
Porch - 

Hall - Alabaster bust of James I.

Parlor - Mahogany table. China cabinet with black plates and bowls. Fireplace.

Ball Room - 

Conservatory - Well-tended (unlike the garden), but with space for far more plants than it currently contains.

Closet - 

Music Room - 

Gallery - Nude Self-Portrait, holding sextant, posed near globe. Painting of a black cat with green eyes. Painting of a woman named Lisa with green eyes.

Dining Room - Ridiculously tall table, way too many chairs. Bar. Potted plants in corners.

Cloak Room - 

Sitting Area - 

Pantry - 

Kitchen - 

Servant Area - 

Top Floor:
Landing/Hallway - 

Game Room - 

Study - 

Closet - 

West Guest Bedroom - 

Library - 

Lounge - 

East Guest Bedroom - 

Dressing Room - 

Master Bedroom - 

Secret Study - Contains Ambrose Clark Sumnergrave's collection of notes, journals, memoirs, research materials, scribblings, fragments of dozens of texts, and assorted pieces of evidence, which he supposedly intended to compile into a book entitled Memoirs to Prove the Existence of the Devil. Also contains the Note from Sumnergrave (see below).

Servant Hallway - 

North Servant Bedroom - Hubert and Susan sleep here.

East Servant Bedroom - Curtis sleeps here.

South Servant Bedroom - June and Ezekiel sleep here.

Food Cellar - 

Storage - 

Wine Cellar - Very few bottles are left (probably enough for one big party or 1d4+1 small social engagements).

Treasury - 

Arcane Library - 3,000 silver pieces in value.

Tunnels and Cells - A "bloodroot" is in one of the cells, preserved in a plasmic bubble of arcane chronostasis. (Magic item by Wayne Renaud. Borrowed from the LotFP Magic Item Contest.)

Laboratory - 5,000 silver pieces in value.

Crypts - The basement's gate to the crypts is locked, as is the gate in the above-ground entrance. Is there a dungeon down here, waiting to be explored?

Note from Sumnergrave - Found among the notes for his Memoirs:

Dear adventurers,

The contents of this room are why you are here. These documents form the basis for my unfinished manuscript, entitled Memoirs to Prove the Existence of the Devil. I want you to finish my book. I want you to take what I've given you and use it as you see fit, provided you complete and publish my work. Once the Memoirs are out in the world, your obligation to me is complete.

I selected each of you because I see potential in you: The drive to uncover secrets. The lust for adventure. The willingness to do what others dare not. Contempt for the ordinary. Fascination with the uncanny. Curiosity about the unknown. Bravery mixed with caution. Quick wits. The ability to think laterally. Careful attention to detail. Iconoclasm. Ambition. Intimate (one might say casual) familiarity with violence and horror. A keen sense of self-interest and considerable greed for profit and the pleasures it brings.

You could become the premiere explorers of your age, which is to say both its premiere scholars and its premiere conquerors. It's funny how those things fall hand-in-hand for your civilization, and perhaps your species.

I will appear to you in dreams and portents. I would tell you to "be not afraid," but alas, I am no angel. I can assure you, however, that as long as you try in earnest to achieve my goals, I will remain your staunch (if distant) ally. And at the very least, any potential wrath on my part will be tempered if you merely remain interesting. Your personalities and experiences will undoubtedly flavor anything you write.

You may have noticed that the gift of my mansion is also a burden of sorts. Taxes and upkeep are quite costly. You are not the type of people to slave away at common sorts of work, and besides, a more usual form of employment would certainly distract you from the task at hand. The solution I would suggest is one that would undoubtedly occur to you eventually, but for the sake of immediate clarity I will put it plainly. Your investigations into the leads I have provided will grant you countless opportunities to simultaneously turn a profit. Extract value as you extract knowledge. Old tombs tend to contain treasure; Take the coins from the eyes of corpses if you must. The right information can be lucrative, as well. Do what comes naturally as you plumb the depths of the supernatural.

I have faith that our authorial partnership will be fruitful. Fret not about how I would want the book to turn out. Make it your own, satisfying to your tastes and needs, and I am sure to be pleased as well. But make sure it is finished and published. Other than that, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

Your patron,
Ambrose Clark Sumnergrave

P.S. Things will probably go better for you if we all maintain the fiction that I am gone.


  1. Replies
    1. I take it you missed this pass, then?