The Horror of Leatherbury House

"The Horror of Leatherbury House"Following into the footsteps of Robertson Games I decided to share my submission to the One-Page Dungeon Contest with you.

At first I didn’t want to participate. I haven’t created any adventure before that was meant to be published. And I can’t remember when I actually ran a dungeon adventure of my own design. But then ChattyDM aka Philippe-Antonie Menard contacted me and asked me if I wanted to participate in the contest. I told him that I am not good at creating dungeons but he encouraged me to give it a try. So I sat down and started to think.

From the beginning I was sure I didn’t want to create a classic dungeon. My favorite genre is horror, so I thought about creating some kind of horror adventure. In the end I settled for a haunted house. A haunted house is some kind of dungeon (at least how I understand it) and in my opinion it provides a lot of opportunity for roleplaying.

With the help of my girlfriend (thanks again for the help! I couldn’t have done it without you!) I came up with a simple story. I would have loved to create a much more elaborate background but given the size constraints I decided to keep it simple. In my opinion the GM should be easily able to flesh out everything I had to leave out.

When I had the basic story I searched for blueprints of victorian houses and when I found one, I used it as a basis for my map. Using the map-making tutorial I found at the Cartographer’s Guild, I created the map in GIMP. Creating the map was actually easier than I first thought and if you ask me, the result looks quite professional.

When the map was done I started working on the layout in Adobe InDesign. I used free textures from to give it the look I wanted and when the basic layout was done, I started writing the room descriptions. You might find it strange that I created the layout first and then added the text, but since I had to work with limited space I found this much easier than cutting the text afterwards.

Initially I wanted to add a sidebar with GM tips and ideas how you could use the adventure in different settings, but I just couldn’t fit it all on that one page. The adventure as it is, was mainly created with Call of Cthulhu or a similar horror game in mind, but I think you could easily transfer it to your favorite fantasy setting. When I have the time, I will definitely turn it into an adventure for Dungeonslayers.

By the way, you can download the complete one-page dungeon “The Horror of Leatherbury House” as PDF. Enjoy!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

17 thoughts on “The Horror of Leatherbury House”

    1. @ChattyDM: I understand. But thanks for the comment! And now go back to judging those entries! 😉

  1. Well done; I enjoyed reading that. Your entry has the same simple but sinister feel as the sample adventure in the Call of Cthulhu game rules, and could easily be dropped into any horror-themed campaign with little or no preparation (although ambitious keepers would definitely sit down and write out those diary entries…).

  2. Just catching up on all my feed for the week and this one is my favorite!

    Very slick! And now that the deadline has been extended by a week, this motivates me to try to put something equally as stunning out there.

    I really can't say enough how bad-ass this looks, and may I ask what font that is?

    <abbr><abbr>Mad Brews last blog post..Portrait of a Villain: Mad Archwizard</abbr></abbr>

  3. Absolutely stunning! Now that I have another six days, I have a target to shoot for.

    The adventure itself is also really enjoyable. Horror is not my thing, but like others said, this has the feel of CoC.

    <abbr><abbr>sycarions last blog post..Am-Kahir, Alchemist</abbr></abbr>

  4. Impressive (at worst) – we can really be glad that Chatty talked you into it. While I've only seen the publicly displayed dungeons so far, I really think you did an outstanding job on design and inside of it.

    Three thumbs up (damn, did I write three?)

    Markus / TheLemming

    <abbr><abbr>TheLemmings last blog post..Linearity of Games</abbr></abbr>

  5. Wow, nice work! That's a quality adventure. I drew mine on a yellow engineering pad that I then photographed, since my scanner was barfing majorly. It ended up looking cool and parchmenty, but the photo was a major drawback 😛

  6. Very well written. I love the texture, for the game books and such I publish on my own site, I have to design my own textures. Which involves me buying some oils and brushes. So often my stuff comes with self-painted items in the text.

    Feel free to visit. I sure could use some people to examine my products for that matter. Sedallia: Land of Sails, 40,000 words of Elven Empire Setting Goodness. Check it out on my site.

    But back to the fact at hand. Very good dungeoun. But I imagine it would be hard to settle a whole plot into one page. Who won?

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