Monday, December 30, 2013

Rotwang's Unheimlich Haven

Rotwang's house in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927)

Rotwang's Unheimlich Haven (Evocation, Cost, Per Scenario, Permanent): Almost invisible, this house might huddle at the base of any great city, hardly noticeable among the giant girders and foundation blocks that surround it. A nondescript and not-quite-symmetrical structure - perhaps partially melted by radiation or other-planar energies - its roof and walls have no doubt settled a bit over the years. When someone passes by this house, they usually think it is abandoned, having been no doubt seized by the city under eminent domain, then slated for demolition, and then promptly forgotten. That's one of the conveniences provided by Rotwang's Unheimlich Haven: it's hard to notice, the eyes can't settle on it for long, and the house doesn't persevere in the memory of those who do see it.

It's the perfect place to hide. And work.

Rotwang's Unheimlich Haven is a summonable sanctuary for alchemists, steampunks, sorcerer-scientists, and etherites. Once summoned, the Haven provides a laboratory, library, kitchen, bath, and sleeping quarters suitable for up to five people. The kitchen and icebox are not stocked; those who would live in the Haven must venture out to find food.

What it is well-stocked with are scientific and magical supplies necessary for complex investigations and rituals.  It is a failsafe place to bring a robot to full consciousness or sentience, or to stitch together the parts of dead men to create a new body suitable for reanimation. The technology level of the laboratory is positively futuristic when compared to the best laboratories in the London or Berlin of the 1930s, but is quaint by modern standards.

The spell Greater Pass Turing Test can be performed within the Haven at No Cost.

Once summoned, the Haven connects immediately to the city's plumbing, sewer, gas, and electrical systems. These connections are impossible to trace to the Haven, providing an additional level of anonymity for the Haven's summoner, and adding to the impression that the Haven is abandoned.

The Haven also connects physically with the hidden areas beneath cities. There is a hatch in the basement floor of the Haven which connects to the labyrinth of cellars, tunnels, bunkers, vaults, sewers, and passageways under the city where it is summoned. When a city lacks extensive underground systems, a new network begins to spontaneously develop once the Haven is summoned. These spread out like a spiderweb fracture radiating from the Haven's location; the tunnels and substructures will remain in the city even after the Haven departs. They are entirely random in character, an expression of the inner chaos propelling any cutting edge scientific endeavor.

There's a walled-in yard attached to the house. The wall itself is too high for someone standing outside to peer over. What might be back there? Trash, broken or abandoned furniture, an old pig pen? Chickens? Feral cats? Iron Pigs? Buried things? Probably all of the above, and more. For with each new summoning, the Haven "upgrades" to reflect changes made to its environment by its previous occupants. If the police ever start nosing around, they will find incriminating evidence of many varieties...

Finally, the Haven can be readily barred against physical intrusion, and cannot be penetrated by Mind or Divination spells. The roof is wooden, however, and can be burned.


  1. This is great! Love Metropolis. This sanctuary might just appear in some other locales...