Secret house is a hidden escape from the bustle of Islington. Edgley Design produced this to be barely visible from the street yet still be flooded with light, even managing to insert a little courtyard. It is a neat and simple design, leaving a bare bricked wall to reflect the industrial history of the site.

Photos from the Edgely Design website

Forbidden Brides Of The Faceless Slaves In The Secret House Of The Night Of Dread Desire HC by Shane Oakley

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire HC
Neil Gaiman (W), Shane Oakley (A/C/Cover), and Nick Filardi ©
On sale Jan 25
FC, 48 pages
HC, 7" x 10"
A celebrated send-up of gothic literature, beautifully adapted into a dark, brooding, and oddly comical graphic novel. Somewhere in the night, a raven caws, an author’s pen scratches, and thunder claps. The author wants to write nonfiction: stories about frail women in white nightgowns, mysterious bumps in the night, and the undead rising to collect old debts. But he keeps getting interrupted by the everyday annoyances of talking ravens, duels to the death, and his sinister butler.
• Shane Oakley beautifully illustrates New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s satirical tale.
“It’s about what fantasy is, and why we write it, and what it would mean to write fantasy if you lived in a Gothic universe.” – Neil Gaiman

The 12th House and How it Can Give Back

The 12th house rules our secret self, our secret fears, and our secret strengths. 

Mars in the 12th house: Repressed anger will only cause them grief, even possible physical harm and stress. Challenges help them grow and they eventually learn to even search for new challenges. Coming to terms with their sexuality reverberates confidence in other aspects of their life. 
Mantra: “I will show you how to fight for yourself/what is yours.”

Venus in the 12th house: Boundaries and sacrifice are what they must learn to find and give in love. Material gain is both a power and a shame to them. Generosity can make them feel more fulfilled. Relationships build or break them, loving their self needs to come first.
Mantra: “I will show you how to love and give.”

Mercury in the 12th house:  Has the gift of persuasion but fears social pressures when younger and judgment. Teaching others and bringing new points of views to light is their gift. Reserved and observant by nature but information to share is bursting at the seams.
Mantra: “I can give you knowledge.”

Moon in the 12th house: Emotions go deeper than the individual even knows. Attachment is their strength and weakness. Knows what family should be despite past relationships or harsh care. Healing comes in waves and has great power to help others mend their own relationships.
Mantra: “I’ll help you to reconnect.”

Sun in the 12th house: Has a gift to share with the world, will leave an imprint of generosity and kindness. Their journey is to find selflessness, pride, and confidence. They subconsciously fear their ego yet it wants out into the light of day.
Mantra: “I have a gift/talent to share with you.”

Pluto in the 12th house: The personal transformations this person makes awe and inspires, no matter how subtle or large. Understanding and owning their dark side and bad things that happen to them will make them feel invincible. Intuition, sexual awakening, and emotional growth is their path.
Mantra: “I’ll help you out of the dark.”

Jupiter in the 12th house: Needs to learn how to take on the world, will grow to have unshakable faith in themselves and the universe. When it comes to personal growth, luck is on their side. The universe brings them many tools. May start out avoiding help and opportunities, learns to take them with bravery, grows to be a resource for others.
Mantra: “I’ll be your pocket aces, your good luck charm, take a risk.”

Saturn in the 12th house: Must learn to balance adaptability with a solid core and to find a way to obtain their dreams. Starts out seeing aspects of life as burdens then learns they can be voluntary purposes and missions. Learns to balance seriousness with playfulness. They find wisdom in “fools”, gives patience to those who need it.
Mantra: “I’ll help carry you.”  

Uranus in the 12th house: Their journey is all about coming out to the world and showing everybody who they truly are! Learns to never be ashamed of who they are despite past prejudice or judgment. Learns to overcome instability. Despite outer chaos can find an inner stability, learns to navigate change like a captain on a ship.
Mantra: “I am me/you are you and that’s amazing.” and “I’ll help you discover the unknown.”

Neptune in the 12th house: Grows when they can connect with others and when they can connect to their intuition. Their secret strengths are very hidden and takes a while to really find and develop. Their path is a long one. Must learn to balance emotions with intellect, intuition with logic, and spirituality with the body.
Mantra: “I will help you to connect on whatever level is needed.”

Kintargo Opera House encounter

Here are all of my notes for the Kintargo Opera House map I posted yesterday. Some of the things worked out and other things I changed on the fly (the part about the Watchorn family especially).


Tailor: Hyldar Greenspool, an elf who lives his life draped in green garments. He’s a wide variety of suits and gowns in his shop that can be adjusted to suit any body type. By the time the PCs get to him, his wares have been largely picked over, leaving garments that range from 40-50 gold each for a full outfit. To the untrained eye, they are wonderful looking but to anyone in the know, they’re middle of the road. They lack flourishes and finishing touches (like gold inlay, fine threading, etc.) that Holder’s more expensive wares display.


Guard Tolerance Chart (NOTE: Guard stats marked in Kintargo book)

  • 0-10: friendly and patient.
  • 11-30: indifferent. They have a job to do. They don’t interact with anyone unless they have to.
  • 31-50: seems very inexperienced. Won’t allow anyone past or interact with them without a supervisor present.
  • 51-70: seems angry that they’re on detail at a party. At any provocation they’ll ask to see the participant’s ticket to prove they are allowed inside.
  • 71-89:
  • 90-99: this guard says something about The Returners, that if they show their asses around here tonight they’re going to get them tanned.

Noble Families Invited to the Party

  • The Nockmar, the newest to Kintargo’s nobility, naive about higher circles and social graces. They have found their fortune through shipping and harbour fees, especially since Thrune has enacted the new rules regarding shipping in Kintargo.
  • The Drowzers, an old family of thin, wiry people with a dry sense of humour and a slow manner of speaking. Inherited their fortune through old money.
  • The Kittling Clan, a family of dwarves who made their fortune through quarry work. Angry, cantankerous, not afraid to complain if things aren’t up to their liking.
  • Mr and Mr Ozimbes, a family or merchants that makes its fortune by renting properties in Kintargo, and these days operates a pair of Salt and Vinegar shops in the city.
  • Madame Webb, the last surviving member of the Webb family in the city. A highly secretive woman with gray hair, rose-coloured glasses, wearing a flowing red gown. She sits in a wheelchair and is pushed and followed by a retinue of 3 bodyguards who stand silently and observe the proceedings with sharp eyes and dull, gunmetal gray suits of armour. She refuses to eat or drink anything at the party, instead drawing nourishment from a silver cylinder inscribed with strange symbols that she keeps at her side.
  • The Gelo Family, a family that’s made its fortune by cornering the market on construction and demolition projects in Kintargo. The Gelos will eagerly participate when a tour of backstage at the opera house is offered at some point.
  • The Watchhorns, a group with a keen interest in the opera house. Well-known as a lover and patron of the arts. At one point, their youngest son, Michael, will go missing and the Watchhorns will demand he be found. This is all part of a larger plan, a distraction so that Mitchell Watchhorn can attempt to steal the Dryad’s Heart from Thrune’s chambers upstairs. The Watchhorns are in leagues with the WIntermarch who have offered great wealth for the heart’s recovery. Mitchell succeeds in taking the Dryad’s Heart from Thrune’s chambers.

Area Population:

  • There are about 15 partygoers in the lobby and 8 guards with them. There are 4 minstrels in the lobby.
  • There are about 5 partygoers upstairs with another 8 guards with them. There are 4 minstrels upstairs.
  • There are 6 guards on Tort’s cage backstage.
  • There are another 10 guards in the back of the opera house, milling about, patrolling the premises.
  • TOTAL # OF GUARDS: 34 (plus Thrune and Nox)

Key Events

  1. At the very beginning, outside the front entrance, the Nockmars are trying to get in and are explaining that someone must have stolen their ticket. The ticket the PCs have managed to get says the Nockmar family on it and invites them to the party.
  2. About an hour after the party begins, a backstage tour will be offered that takes anyone who wants to go on it through the workshop, backstage, and around to the wardrobe department. During this time, Michael Watchorn will go missing while on the tour. The Watchorn family will demand his return.
  3. At around 11pm, a grand performance called “The Taming of Tort” will occur on the main stage, to show an example of Thrune’s power in Kintargo against dissidents. During this performance, Tort will be uncaged, thrust onstage, and attacked by a pack of ravenous hellhounds. It will be a bloody show to show how Thrune deals with insubordination and to send a message to the other “Returners”, with whom Thrune says Tort had allegiance. When they first enter the theatre the ceiling is covered with beautiful wildflowers and vines that appear restless. Fireflies flit between them.  
  1. While Michael is being searched for backstage by the guards, the party will still go on in the lobby with fewer guards around. Thrune will continue to mingle while Nox eyes everyone in the lobby suspiciously. Only 2 other guards remain.
  2. The minstrels will all retire upstairs for a break.
  3. The PCs can relatively freely head upstairs and backstage to investigate the spaces without raising much suspicion.
  1. The PCs may interrupt this performance in a few ways:
  2. As the performance is heating up, an explosion rings out upstairs causing the entire place to fly into tizzy. Many nobles freak out and begin to rush out of the theatre into the lobby and out onto the street. In the lobby they find 4 dead guards and hear a commotion upstairs. Up there, they find the 5 minstrels engaging the guards in combat and a trio of 3 masked warriors who have blown in the front windows over the balcony and are currently fighting Thrune’s soldiers. The team seems all have shock white hair, pale skin, and blue leather armour. Their weapons are cold to the touch and deal an extra +1D6 frost damage to anything they hit. They seem to be pushing inwards, toward Thrune’s chambers. You can tell they’re members of the Wintermarch and they’re after the Dyrad’s heart. If they get it, you have no idea if you’ll be able to get it back.
  3. Use these stats for the minstrels/Wintermarch dudes:
  1. They can straight up rush the stage to protect Tort
  2. They can rescue Tort before the “performance” happens
  1. As soon as the explosion sounds off upstairs, the minstrels in the lobby will reveal themselves to be members of the Wintermarch and attack Thrune and his guards.

Key Party Notes

  • The theatre itself is off limits. Guards will not let anyone past no matter how hard they bribe them or offer to get by. Doors will open at 11pm for the “Taming of Tort” play.
  • After a while, once the PCs have had a chance to mingle with the other guests, Thrune will come downstairs, flanked by 2 guards and Nox, his chief of security. He’ll welcome everyone to the party (to much fanfare by those in attendance). He’ll say this:
  • In total there are about 40 guests here and another 20 or so guards.
  • Gunny is located backstage in a holding cell. The entire area has been draped with theatre curtains and warded with a silence spell. The cell is guarded by 4 armed guards and another 6 patrol outside the warded area.
  • If the Dryad’s heart is still there, the inside of the theatre is an amazing sight. The ceiling is covered with thousands of small, living leaves and wildflowers that blow gently in the breeze. Flitting between a few of them motes of light that behave like fireflies.
  • The minstrels take breaks by switching spots with the others twice during the night.
  • “Welcome all, to the Kintargo Opera house, for tonight’s party! I’m excited for the chance to meet all of you. Later this evening you’ll bear witness to ‘The Taming of Tort’, a moving performance about betrayal, loss, and justice. Feel free to explore the lobby and upstairs but please don’t upset the guards. Enjoy the food, beverages, and entertainment.”

Key Loot

  • There is a petty cash in the workshop containing 75 pieces of gold.
  • There is a petty cash in one of the wardrobe rooms containing 50 pieces of gold.
  • The ticket booths store lockboxes containing 24 and 20 gold pieces respectively.
  • On a desk in one of the makeup booths is a gold ring, hidden under a feather boa. The ring is inlaid with sapphires and is worth about 125 gold.
  • On the central bench in the locked workshop room is a 1’ tall, brass lawn gnome statue called The Nitpicker. It’s incredibly lifelike and wears overalls and a hard hat with a light on top. Once per day, a PC may push the light on his hat and have him come to life. This gnome can open one locked door, regardless of how it’s barred. The entire time the gnome will complain either about the circumstance or the PCs themselves.
  • In the workshop is a set of Masterwork Crafter’s tools (+2 on Craft checks when using them).
  • In the locked costume rack room is a circlet, painted to look gold. If worn, it confers to its bearer a +2 to Bluff and Diplomacy checks.
  • In the garden is The Dryad’s Heart, the key that Mu’Frellan needs the PCs to recover and return to him. When carried, The Dryad’s Heart causes magical energy to course through its bearer’s body. If placed on the ground, the ground around The Dryad’s Heart will sprout grasses and fiddleheads that will quickly grow to about waist high. If allowed to get that high, the Heart will have rooted itself to the ground in that location and must be hewn free from the soil (to pulled free, STR 14). If suspended in the air, the Heart will cause any plant life that grows near it to blossom and stay richly alive, as is the case in the garden off Thrune’s quarters.
  • In the 2nd floor party area, held aloft by one of the suits of armour is a wood axe coated in what looks like fake blood. A Heal check will indicate that it’s not fake blood at all. A Heal check of 20 or more will indicate that it’s dried griffon blood. The head of the axe is curiously shaped like a wolf’s head with its mane forming a jagged blade. This axe is called Wolfsbane (it’s considered a great axe in terms of stats). It has a +2 to hit magical beasts and once per day can be activated to deal an extra 2d6 damage to them. When activated the axe howls as though a pack of wolves is calling out.
  • In an armoire in the 2nd floor party area is a simple clay cup and bowl. Once per day, the cup can provide 1 gallon of clean drinking water and the bowl can provide 1 helping of gruel. The gruel isn’t pleasant to look at or smell but it tastes great and provides all the nutrients a person would need for a standard day.
  • Inside Thrune’s chamber are a few things of note:
  • On the Wintermarch dudes:
  • At the bottom of a pile of papers there is a letter from the Cheliax empire calling for his return home, to abandon his petty tyrannical endeavours. The letter goes on to say that if he doesn’t return home, a force will be dispatched to get him. Rumours of his actions in Kintargo have reached the Cheliax empire’s rival, with whom they’ve forged a temporary alliance. Thrune’s actions could be considered a break of that agreement.
  • There are 50 pieces of platinum and 100 gold in a locked box under the bed. DC16 to open, a fail indicates a trap is sprung, causing the box to ring out loudly in alarm.
  • There is a pendant bearing the symbol of Azmodeus with an open eye in its centre hanging from a bedpost. If worn, the bearer can activate the pendant once per day and choose any target they can touch and see what the target did for the last 15 minutes of their life (the target can be living or dead).
  • 200gp on all combined
  • a masterwork short sword capable of attacking with frost up to 6x/day (the others have had their charges used up, deals +1d6 frost damage to a target)
  • navy-tinted leather armour
  • 1 scroll of Glitterdust
  • 1 scroll of Invisibility