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Spacebatsy
2014-05-18, 06:53 AM
Hi everybody!

Iím running a sci-fi campaign (in Dark Heresy) and am currently butchering some written material for an adventure in a haunted mansion. And I need some help coming up with where, and how, to hide a hidden room.
The room belongs to the lord of the house. Originally this was accessed from within a great oven. Now, I thought this silly because 1.) Itís a very large mansion which means the kitchen will probably only have a few quiet hours at night at the very best (and the lord spends a lot of his time in this place, but might have to suddenly reappear if his presence is called upon) and 2.) How will he explain himself if discovered? ďWhy am I lurking around the kitchen in the servant quarters at 2 am in the morning? Political reasons?Ē

I thought to myself: this wonít do, Iíll replace that with something cleverer, likeÖ *awkward silence*
I have very little experience of hidden rooms and secret passageways. Bookcases? Boring. Fireplaces? Classy, but not very original.

What have been your favorite hidden places? Where have they been and how have they been accessed?
Preferably ones that a master of the house would have business visiting (and maybe occasionally drag bodies of humans and smaller animals through)

Kol Korran
2014-05-18, 07:33 AM
Hmmmm... some ideas:
- The wine cellar: The Lord might come for a bit of a drink now and then, yes? (He might even nurture a bit of a reputation as a good natured "drunk"). The opening mechanism can be as simple as moving a bottle, or more clever, such as reaching for a handle in the bottom of some old wine barrel, or such... Blood can easily be mistaken for spilled wine or such, and the place fragrance can easily hide the smell.

- In the garden: There is a small well lit garden, that the lord and possibly a few choice guests may visit at time. It his place to "contemplate in". Entrance can be under a cobblestone, or perhaps by pouring some of the fountain's water on a tree (activating some moisture detectors?) Or perhaps even singing a certain tune (recognized by audio sensors).

- The rest room: Few people will suspect that! And he is certain to have his privacy there. :smalltongue: Opening the secret room can be a set of flushes, or perhaps reaching in to pull a lever, or... maybe standing on the latrine, opening a port up, and climbing there?

- Game room: A place with some pool tables, dart boards and the like, for the use of the lord and perhaps a few chosen guests. The opening of the secret room can be achieved by performing some feat the lord have mastered well- like hitting the center of the board twice in a row fro ma distance (Measured by pressure detectors), or perhaps doing some pool stunt (Two balls at the same time or such). Or perhaps maybe pressing the right squares on a chess board, mimicking some kind of a special move?

(Suggestion: You could have the secret room be accessed by several locations. Thus it functions as a quick getaway if need be as well)

I hope any of these works for you.

Jay R
2014-05-18, 09:28 AM
How often does the Lord go into the room, and for what circumstances? Also, who else knows about it. The kitchen is a great place, if the cook is his confidante.

What's the general tech level? You don't have to worry about the Lord being called out of his hidden room unless there are cell phones or the like.

And what are the circumstances in which that room will come into play on this adventure?

Until you answer these, you can't answer your main question. Once you've answered them, your solution might be obvious.

Grim Portent
2014-05-18, 09:31 AM
A classic choice is to put a secret passage in the manor's study. It's private and long periods of time spent in there are easily justified. A good passage would be a concealed trapdoor in the floor or ceiling, or a crawlspace built into the back of a desk that faces the wall.

Spacebatsy
2014-05-18, 10:16 AM
~snip~.


Very nice ones, I like your thinking! The story actually features a garden, sorely underused, so I might go with that one :smallsmile:




How often does the Lord go into the room, and for what circumstances? Also, who else knows about it. The kitchen is a great place, if the cook is his confidante.

Well he doesnít go there anymore, since heís dead (he's one of the ghosts haunting the mansion). The plotline is that a demon have been bound in the mansion for many generations and slowly corrupted itís inhabitants and driving them more or less insane. The lord was driven to sorcery with the promise of great power and eternal life and the hidden room is where he performed his rituals and ďexperimentsĒ aka sacrifices . Iíd say 3-5 times a week, 1-24 hours each.

The cook could be in on it, but for one thing the Lord became extremely paranoid and I just donít like the setup.




What's the general tech level? You don't have to worry about the Lord being called out of his hidden room unless there are cell phones or the like.

The level the plot demands! :smalltongue:
Are you familiar with the technology in warhammer 40k? Highly advanced sci-fi technology exist but is generally scarce. If a cool idea is based on advanced technology I can probably think of a reason why itís available. Long-distance communications is available.




And what are the circumstances in which that room will come into play on this adventure?


The players will try and find the Lords body (which will be in the room since one of the rituals eventually backfired)


And in general Iím just curious about stories of cleverly hidden rooms :smallbiggrin:

Jay R
2014-05-18, 11:52 PM
And in general Iím just curious about stories of cleverly hidden rooms :smallbiggrin:

The Batcave was hidden behind a grandfather clock.

In The Mask of Zorro, Zorro's lair was hidden behind a fire, which moved in response to a button. This method was also used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

I've seen any number of movies in which the room was hidden behind a movable bookshelf.

The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets was in the girl's bathroom.

Robbo and the Seven Hoods hid their casino by converting it into a revival meeting.

And, of course, the path to Narnia was hidden in a wardrobe.

Gildedragon
2014-05-19, 12:46 AM
I personally second the idea of a wine cellar; it is handy and allows for a 'noble' hobby
the private garden also works
but two things might be extremely excellent hiding spaces: A chapel. It is meditative like other 'private' do not disturb areas, and it cultivates an aura of piety and wisdom which can be politically advantageous. Also it has an air of duplicity and twofacedness that makes such characters more delightfully oily.

a very sensible choice would be: His bath chamber: false privy, rotating shower, false bottomed bath tub.

The Grue
2014-05-19, 05:45 AM
Are you familiar with the technology in warhammer 40k? Highly advanced sci-fi technology exist but is generally scarce. If a cool idea is based on advanced technology I can probably think of a reason why itís available. Long-distance communications is available.

From a floorplan standpoint, it's pretty easy to hide a secret chamber among the colossal, imposing, impractically huge edifices of Imperial architecture. Hell, you could hide a small developing nation in the average planetary governor's mansion. :smallbiggrin:

Spacebatsy
2014-05-19, 07:09 AM
From a floorplan standpoint, it's pretty easy to hide a secret chamber among the colossal, imposing, impractically huge edifices of Imperial architecture. Hell, you could hide a small developing nation in the average planetary governor's mansion. :smallbiggrin:

Well, canít argue with that XD
And now Iím stuck with the locker-scene from men in black II...
But the question should not be if you can hide it, but how you hide it :smallwink: I donít want my player catching wind of a secret room and say ďIíll check the altarĒ. Or, rather, I donít want them to be right :smallamused:
(In Dark Heresy itís ALWAYS behind the altar)


I personally second the idea of a wine cellar; it is handy and allows for a 'noble' hobby
the private garden also works
but two things might be extremely excellent hiding spaces: A chapel. It is meditative like other 'private' do not disturb areas, and it cultivates an aura of piety and wisdom which can be politically advantageous. Also it has an air of duplicity and twofacedness that makes such characters more delightfully oily.

a very sensible choice would be: His bath chamber: false privy, rotating shower, false bottomed bath tub.

I see your point, unfortunately the chapel is occupied :smalltongue:

Iím definitely having a secret entry in a bathroom at some point imagine the players stumbling on to it :smallamused:
Will probably go with the garden or wine cellar for this one, but if you have stories of cool ones made by you or your GMs itís always fun to hear, and nice to have for future references!

Gildedragon
2014-05-19, 09:56 AM
I once hid a portal in a hunting room. Inside the lion's mouth. I had made a point of describing the maw as inpenetrable blackness, don't even see a tongue... When they started prying up the floorboards I moved the potal to a trap door
Linen's closet rotating wall. Turning the crank on a gas lamp did that... They just broke the wall
Pantry door that led to a slide. They used that one properly, they even fell down it

Grim Portent
2014-05-19, 10:07 AM
Thinking about it, a noble's mansion is likely to have a group of servitors stored somewhere within to handle various chores. The secret room could be hidden in their storage room, the tech-priests that service the servitors won't be particularly perceptive and will likely never notice it and who would question their lord going there to fetch a servitor to follow him around and hold his coat, drinks, cane and so on?

Gildedragon
2014-05-19, 10:09 AM
I once hid a portal in a hunting room. Inside the lion's mouth. I had made a point of describing the maw as inpenetrable blackness, don't even see a tongue... When they started prying up the floorboards I moved the potal to a trap door
Linen's closet rotating wall. Turning the crank on a gas lamp did that... They just broke the wall
Pantry door that led to a slide. They used that one properly, they even fell down it
In short my players ought have been doing demolitions, not ghostbusting

Also chapel areas to hide things that aren't the altar: behind the organ, under one of the tomb/flagstones reads "Sir Gret AŖaj"
The solid pew seat flips up to reveal a ladder
The bas relief panel hides a secret passage inside one of the depicted figures

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-05-19, 11:17 AM
Are you familiar with the technology in warhammer 40k? Highly advanced sci-fi technology exist but is generally scarce.

I'd have said high-tech's there, but hidden behind mountains of ritual, superstition and general levels of "it does that, but few people are educated enough to know how it does it and think it's magic", so it doesn't look high-tech.

Multiple entrances are tricky - the more you have, the more likely someone's going to stumble over one when you don't want them to. I could see multiple hidden areas though - one off the wine cellar where he keeps his stronger/illicit alcohol, a second one (say off his private dressing room or bathroom) where he hides his, erm, shall we say "artistic literature" from his wife, :smallwink:, a hidden treasury room for money and valuables that he doesn't want the administratum's tax collectors to get their hands on, and so on, plus the main one.

A large mansion would likely have outbuildings - he could potentially ride off, turn into the woods when out of sight of the main house, and spend several hours in a secret room under an old hunting lodge.

The Glyphstone
2014-05-19, 11:19 AM
Well, canít argue with that XD
And now Iím stuck with the locker-scene from men in black II...
But the question should not be if you can hide it, but how you hide it :smallwink: I donít want my player catching wind of a secret room and say ďIíll check the altarĒ. Or, rather, I donít want them to be right :smallamused:
(In Dark Heresy itís ALWAYS behind the altar)



With sorcery, of course.

Have a portal spell tied to...the Lord's closet door or something. It leads to the closet, but if the proper incantation is uttered, the door instead leads to the otherwise-sealed secret chamber. And this way, even if they have a Psyker around who can sense the door is enchanted, they still need to find the password.

Behind the Altar is a secret room with a death trap in it. Just as planned.

Magesmiley
2014-05-19, 11:47 AM
How about a video game console that you have to hit a certain score on a certain game for the portal to open. For added amusement, let the PCs get wind of how to open it and bring out a video game and make them actually hit the score.

The Grue
2014-05-19, 11:52 AM
The mansion's servitor bay is also a good pick, if it has its own retinue of servitors. It's the WH40K equivalent of the servant's quarters, except you never have to worry about servitors asking what you're doing down there at 2AM or why there were bloodstains on the floor after you left.

Spacebatsy
2014-05-19, 12:28 PM
I once hid a portal in a hunting room. Inside the lion's mouth. I had made a point of describing the maw as inpenetrable blackness, don't even see a tongue... When they started prying up the floorboards I moved the potal to a trap door
Linen's closet rotating wall. Turning the crank on a gas lamp did that... They just broke the wall
Pantry door that led to a slide. They used that one properly, they even fell down it
In short my players ought have been doing demolitions, not ghostbusting

Also chapel areas to hide things that aren't the altar: behind the organ, under one of the tomb/flagstones reads "Sir Gret AŖaj"
The solid pew seat flips up to reveal a ladder
The bas relief panel hides a secret passage inside one of the depicted figures

That is really funny



I'd have said high-tech's there, but hidden behind mountains of ritual, superstition and general levels of "it does that, but few people are educated enough to know how it does it and think it's magic", so it doesn't look high-tech.
Multiple entrances are tricky - the more you have, the more likely someone's going to stumble over one when you don't want them to. I could see multiple hidden areas though - one off the wine cellar where he keeps his stronger/illicit alcohol, a second one (say off his private dressing room or bathroom) where he hides his, erm, shall we say "artistic literature" from his wife, :smallwink:, a hidden treasury room for money and valuables that he doesn't want the administratum's tax collectors to get their hands on, and so on, plus the main one.


XD letís play a game of ďHow many red herrings befort the PCs call for exterminatusĒ :smallbiggrin:
And yeah, thatís a much better summary of the tech-level



With sorcery, of course.

Have a portal spell tied to...the Lord's closet door or something. It leads to the closet, but if the proper incantation is uttered, the door instead leads to the otherwise-sealed secret chamber. And this way, even if they have a Psyker around who can sense the door is enchanted, they still need to find the password.

Behind the Altar is a secret room with a death trap in it. Just as planned.

Players love you donít they? :smallamused:
Iím sorely tempted, especially since Iím running with a Tzeentch theme

Iím surprised I didnít even think of sorcery, Iíll take that into consideration!


The mansion's servitor bay is also a good pick, if it has its own retinue of servitors. It's the WH40K equivalent of the servant's quarters, except you never have to worry about servitors asking what you're doing down there at 2AM or why there were bloodstains on the floor after you left.

Good point!
Could even have a couple on bloodstain-cleaning and body-hauling duty. I wonder why a house with this many secrets would even bother with human servantsÖ Because of the impact when you finally snap and murders everyone I guessÖ

Gildedragon
2014-05-19, 12:50 PM
Human schuman, servants are the animated corpses of his past victims. They all wear full masks. "Part of the uniform" they say "adds to the gaiety of the house. Like a carnival" says the master of the house. It helps that it hides the pallor of death.

Braininthejar2
2014-05-19, 01:17 PM
The room might be there all the time, pretending to be another room: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20060804

homersolo
2014-05-19, 01:24 PM
One from TV and one from my childhood imagination:

TV: The TV show Castle had a good hiding spot that would generally not get searched - the ceiling. Hide the entrance to the room in the ceiling in the middle of the room. No one looks up.

My childhood imagination: Entrance under the sink in the bathroom. No one would look under there for an entrance and no one would see you go in.

Oneris
2014-05-20, 03:13 AM
I remember reading a story once that had a secret room hidden in the 'wall' between two rooms. The two rooms were actually one larger room partitioned through the middle, by giant bookcases completely filling the space between the ceiling and the floor and appearing to be flush against the wall, so you'd never guess there was not actually masonry behind it. It was only discovered when someone had the bright idea to measure the lengths of the rooms, and realized that the 'wall' between them had to be over 3 feet thick,

Jay R
2014-05-20, 09:31 AM
The plotline is that a demon have been bound in the mansion for many generations and slowly corrupted itís inhabitants and driving them more or less insane. The lord was driven to sorcery with the promise of great power and eternal life and the hidden room is where he performed his rituals and ďexperimentsĒ aka sacrifices . Iíd say 3-5 times a week, 1-24 hours each.

Then the mansion, and the room, predates its sinister purpose. It was built with something else in mind, and turned to sorcery later.

I suspect that it has two entrances - one in the master bedroom and one to the outside, and it was for protecting the family in times of danger, either as a hiding-place or as an escape route. Possibly it is simply a hiding place built off the nursery, to protect children.

But the crucial observation is this - it was not built for sorcery; it had a more innocent purpose originally - which may mean that it was merely a second pantry, and is connected to the kitchen after all.

Spacebatsy
2014-05-20, 10:01 AM
Then the mansion, and the room, predates its sinister purpose. It was built with something else in mind, and turned to sorcery later.

I suspect that it has two entrances - one in the master bedroom and one to the outside, and it was for protecting the family in times of danger, either as a hiding-place or as an escape route. Possibly it is simply a hiding place built off the nursery, to protect children.

But the crucial observation is this - it was not built for sorcery; it had a more innocent purpose originally - which may mean that it was merely a second pantry, and is connected to the kitchen after all.

Fair point, and a very legit one. (Although itís not impossible that he actually build it himself, he was building fortifications anyway).
But I imagine it could have been a sort of panic room, made ritual room. It would fit with the heavy protection and wards inside. I still argue though that it would not be in the oven. Itís not easy access for the servants or the familyÖ I donít like the kitchen, bad feng shui :smalltongue:

One entrance leading outside is not a bad idea. Have to ponder if he would leave it unsealed though, the consequences of leaving it accessible might be worse than not having a quick escape route.

Gildedragon
2014-05-20, 12:17 PM
The outside route is a long tunnel into the wilderness or into the mausoleum/family ancestor-worship locale/river with private dock

Or the original owners smuggled stuff into the house.