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- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dread and Breakfast: Map

So, the next thing I did was to set up the setting.  So to speak.  I guess that's where that word comes from.  So I made a map and information to go along with each room at the B&B.  This was the information that the players had going in.  Now once this was done all I had to do was set up a timeline and associate events with each room, which we'll explore next.

Here we have the manor grounds.

The First Floor

And...the second floor.

And now for the descriptions:

Country Road – An unpaved dirt trail that leads out to the “main road” – a gravel packed path that leads ultimately to the macadam public routes of Lancaster. Only Amish-style buggies can navigate the country road with ease, although even then not in the rain. The country road turns to unnavigable mud in the rain. Cars often find it difficult to reach the homestead. The farmer pays one of his neighbors to let the guests park their cars on his land and drive them to the B&B in their buggy. The guests usually love the ambience of getting to ride in a real buggy. UPGRADE OPTION – the farmer can attempt to lay down gravel for one pull or have it paved for two pulls. A gravel road can still be navigated in the rain and a paved road has the additional advantage of allowing cars to reach the farmstead.

Toolshed – The toolshed is fairly large and metal. A massive padlock seals the door, which cannot be opened without bolt cutters or the key. The farmer and any farmhands he trusts will have copies of the key. There is a set of bolt cutters in the toolshed, so no help there. The largest object in the toolshed is a riding tractor. Otherwise, any reasonable tool or garden implement can be found here – hammers, screwdrivers, rakes, hoes, and the like. The toolshed also contains the generator that runs all the electricity on the farm. Behind the toolshed is a gasoline reservoir which is refilled every month.

Cornfields – The farmer grows several acres of corn. It was the Wittgenstein’s main crop. Crows are noticeably absent from the cornfields. Perhaps the scarecrow is especially effective.

Woods – The wooded area of the manor grounds are especially dense and overgrown. There is a hiking trail through the woods, and the farmer always warns his guests not to stray from the trail. At the first major clearing in the woodline there is a deep, still pond where frogs croak and a few fish live. Avid fishermen can attempt to catch something here, but pickings are slim. Beyond the pond the trail becomes overgrown and more difficult to traverse.

Barn – The barn is large enough to hold a corn thresher. It is two floors high. The second floor is a hayloft, only accessible by a wooden ladder. There is a door in the hayloft leading to the outside, where the farmhands can shovel bales of hay down to the ground. The first floor, in addition to the thresher, holds six horses, three stables on each side.

Pigsty – Rickety wooden fences holds in a family of massive, docile hogs. The hogs are well fed and some are getting past their sell-by date. It’s almost as if the farmer is reluctant to slaughter his pigs. Aside from a trough and a mud floor, there is little of interest here.

Well – The old well still produces water, even though the homestead has been equipped with modern plumbing and a sump pump. The well is large enough for a full grown adult to fit down. The well is fifty feet deep, and the bottom will always contain at least 7 feet of water – too much for a man to stand in. Guests are certainly allowed to draw well water, and some enjoy it for the rustic qualities it evokes.

Old Outhouses – The old Wittgenstein jakes should’ve been destroyed decades ago. Constructed from wood, and in a dangerous state of disrepair, the jakes should be considered no longer functional. The farmhands would rather shit in the woods than use them. The only reason the farmer hasn’t demolished them is because, like many of the rustic buildings on the farmstead, the guests enjoy the old-timey feel of them.

Livestock pastures – The bulk of the farmstead is taken up by acres of grassland where the cattle graze and the horses run free. The grass grows high and water is ample. Herds of steers wander around, occasionally culled and slaughtered by the farmer and his farmhands. The paddocks are lined in by sturdy wooden fences.

House Office – The house office is where the farmer does all his business and paperwork. He keeps his books and ledgers here, as well as all of his licenses and tax documents. The farmer has a satellite internet laptop here as well as a VOIP phone, which both never fritz out. This is also where the farmer keeps his cleaning supplies, in a closet.

Owner’s Apartment – The farmer has his own one-room apartment on the first floor. The room is well-appointed, but has the look of someone who isn’t used to having money. A plasma screen TV sits on top of a yardsale nightstand and the like.

Dining Hall – The dining hall has some of the finest furniture in the house. The crystal chandelier is a relic of the Wittgenstein, as is the solid oak table and the fine silver and china. The dining room has a distinct Old World feel, and is lighted with multiple candelabras, although there are electric lights if necessary. The dining hall is easily spacious enough for the entire complement of guests and staff to be seated easily.
Storage Closet – The storage closet is beneath the stairwell and is only accessible from the Dining Hall. The farmer keeps board games and sports equipment here, and a few shelves of paperbacks.

Pantry – The farmer keeps a wide variety of dried goods here. (He tries to keep enough food to satisfy any taste, although he usually plans common meals.) For now the farmer is willing to encourage folks to help themselves to anything in the pantry and the kitchen, although he suspects that if many guests start to abuse the privilege he will start locking the doors. The pantry has a small step ladder to reach all the shelves, which reach up to the ceiling.

Cold Storage – Although the kitchen has a regular refrigerator, the farmer thought it prudent to invest in a massive walk-in freezer, considering how rarely he makes runs to town. He keeps the freezer well stocked, both with unslaughtered cows, pigs, and poultry, as well as fully broken down steaks and cuts of meat. The freezer he does keep locked at all times for safety reasons. Can’t have a guest (especially a child) sneaking in and getting killed. The farmer and any farmhands or staff he decides will have a key to the cold storage unit. Like the rest of the farmstead, cold storage is powered by the generator in the toolshed.

Kitchen – The kitchen is probably the most modern room in the house. The farmer sank a lot of money into stainless steel appliances and refurbished cabinets. A microwave, oven, stove, toaster oven, and refrigerator are all new. The fridge is well stocked, but more importantly the kitchen is flanked with a pantry and a cold storage unit, both also well-stocked. Modern plumbing, a garbage disposal, and a dishwasher help the farmer and his staff clean up. The linoleum floor is recently laid.

Foyer – The foyer has two chairs for sitting, although the parlor is supposed to be the main common area. The stairwell leads directly to the foyer. A bust of Benjamin Franklin is prominently displayed here. To the right is the dining hall and to the left is the parlor.

Porch – The wooden porch has been freshly renovated and painted. It proudly bears the name of the B&B in a carved wooden plaque over the threshold. Several rocking chairs sit on the porch for the guests’ amusement. On warm summer evenings the farmer will delightedly bring lemonade to anyone who wants some and watch the sun go down. To the left of the porch is a cellar door leading to the wine cellar.

Stairwell – The stairwell is wide and laid with a forest green runner. It has two railings that could easily be slid down, even by an adult although any male will crush his testicles when he reaches the knobs at the bottom. Beneath the stairwell is the storage closet.

Parlor – The parlor is the main common room of the B&B. It is easily large enough to accommodate all of the guests and staff on comfortable plush chairs, loveseats, and sofas. A massive stone fireplace is here. One of the farmer’s major renovation projects over the last year was getting the fireplace up to code without losing its Old World feel. Guests will often notice how large the flue is, joking that Santa could easily fit down with one or two reindeer. A large painting hangs over the hearth of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.

Wine Cellar – The entrance to the wine/fruit cellar is located to the left of the porch (facing out.) This room was excavated out of the rock and is cool and damp in all weather. Racks and racks of expensive wines line the walls and extend into long hallways, like the bookshelves of a library. Baskets of fruit from the orchard are stacked towards the front of the cellar for easy access. Cobwebs dangle from the corners. The farmer has never fully explored the wine cellar, because it is a massive undertaking, but he believes he will be able to keep his guests in expensive wine for several years before having to restock. The Wittgensteins must have been lushes.

Linen Closet – The tiny closet is stacked with monogrammed towels as well as blankets, sheets, and other linens. Guests can also get paper towels and toilet paper here. A laundry basket is here as well, although guests are also encouraged to leave their linens on their bathroom floors to be picked up.

Lebanon Room – The Lebanon is one of the standard sized rooms, with a single queen-sized bed and easily enough space for two occupants (or two and a child.) Apportioned with a couch and a love seat, the Lebanon is otherwise unremarkable. Like all the rooms it has an independent bath and a TV with satellite. The decorations are Lebanese, a bit of a cheeky choice for the farmer, who obviously named the room after the central PA town of Lebanon and not the country. As such, it has a light Middle Eastern flair to it, and the farmer has put a fine Arabian rug down and sometimes keeps exotic spices in the potpourri pots. The Lebanon is above the house office.

Red Rose Executive Suite – The Red Rose Suite is the finest room in the house. Nearly two times the size of any of the other rooms, the farmer envisions it as the room for V.I.P.s. It has two king-sized beds and a massive mirror spanning the two. The farmer fills it with vases of roses fresh from his rosebushes when they are in season. Luxury is the watchword in the Red Rose suite, and consequently the occupants usually pay quite a bit more. Tonight, though, is opening night and the farmer may simply be out to impress and will charge normal rates. Like all the other rooms, it contains a bath, but this is the only one that has a Jacuzzi. The Red Rose is above the dining hall and the foyer.

Gettysburg Room – The Gettysburg Room is the bachelor suite of the house. It’s the only room with a single bed. The room is decorated with a miniature cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg which a local muralist painted for a song. Aside from the cyclorama, which is the centerpiece of the room, a few Civil War artifacts decorate the room, mostly scrounged from local flea markets although the farmer hopes that one day if the B&B becomes extremely profitable to upgrade to some more expensive artifacts. Like all the rooms, it has a toilet and shower. The Gettysburg is above the owner’s apartment.

Hallway – The hallway is the shared space between the guest rooms and the linen closet on the second floor. A few paintings line the walls, and the floor is carpeted, but otherwise it is unremarkable. Roughly in the center of the hallway is an access door to the attic, with a dangling cord that anyone taller than 5 feet can easily grab and release collapsible stairs.

Parking Lot – Between the homestead and the toolshed is an asphalt parking lot with a basketball hoop. At present, the parking lot is empty. The farmer plans to have the country road paved someday (if he hasn’t chosen to do so already) so that guests can park right at the B&B. Guests are welcome to play hoops if they are so inclined – they certainly won’t be disturbed by any traffic.

Attic – The attic is the most unkempt room in the house, with the possible exception of the wine cellar. There is a large window here which leads out to the slanted roof. A person could easily crawl out onto the roof through this window if he so chose. Otherwise, the attic is lined with cardboard boxes, mostly seasonal decorations and the Wittgensteins’ old belongings which the farmer hasn’t disposed of yet. There is no proper floor here, just pink fiberglass between the rafters and plywood nailed down to form a walking surface. A heavy person or a person who repeatedly jumps could easily fall through to the second floor.

White Rose Room – The White Rose is one of the standard sized rooms, with a single queen-sized bed and easily enough space for two occupants (or two and a child.) Apportioned with a couch and a love seat, the White Rose is otherwise unremarkable. Like all the rooms it has an independent bath and a TV with satellite. The decorations, when closely examined, show landmarks of the central PA town of York. When the bushes are in season, the farmer keeps a vase of white roses on the armoire here. The White Rose is above the owner’s apartment and the walk-in freezer. As such, the floor will be cold to the touch.

Carlisle Room - The Carlisle is one of the standard sized rooms, with a single queen-sized bed and easily enough space for two occupants (or two and a child.) Apportioned with a couch and a love seat, the Carlisle is otherwise unremarkable. Like all the rooms it has an independent bath and a TV with satellite. The decorations are themed after the American Revolutionary War, but they are nowhere near as elaborate or expensive as the Gettysburg Room. The Carlisle is above the parlor and the kitchen. Interestingly, there is a dumb waiter here that leads to the kitchen (a relic from when it was servants quarters for the Wittgensteins.) The farmer will usually take care to avoid putting children in this room and will advise guests against playing with the dumb waiter. He keeps it locked with a simple padlock, but you know how people are.

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