5 Minute Adventures - S&W White Box - The House That Wasn't Built

The following is a quick adventure meant to "fill the gaps". 

If anyone happens to run this adventure please tell me how it went and what improvements I could make to it.

I can be e-mailed at: geniuslocigames@gmail.com

5 Minute Adventures – The House That Wasn’t Built
A Swords & Wizardry Whitebox Adventure for 4-5 players of 3-6th level


There always seems to be a place in any long game, a place where the adventure is done, the heroes have completed their tasks, saved the princess, and collected their pay. A place in a game where everyone just mills around, doing their shopping and the Referee is desperately trying to figure out how to introduce his flock to their next employer.

That is the purpose of the five-minute adventures. A simple, quick adventure that can take place anywhere in the Referee’s world urban or rural.


The Marshlands of have always been a place of stories, of tales told around campfires late at night when the last of the stew has been taken and the ale is running low.

Some stories tell of a woman in a tattered wedding gown walking amongst the tree and high grasses, humming an old dirge of a long forgotten people. Others of strange lights in the sky that dive into the water and never return. Still more tell of the lost treasure of the Azure Orcs, money looted from life-times of raids and pillaging.

The most famous tales, however, the tales that are more whispered than spoken are those of “The House”. No one story gives this place the same location, no one story describes it the same way, but every story is the same. An old house, worn with age and misuse lay in the swarm lands, a single candle light in the window. The tales tell of farmers, merchants and adventurers, weary of long travel entering the house in hopes of food and drink. The tales tale of how in the morning, when the sun burns away the mists, the house is gone.

Adventure Summary

Unlike Most the adventures in the 5 Minute Adventure series, “the House That Wasn’t Built” is truly meant to be shoe-horned into any place or time that the Referee chooses. The adventure is a mostly randomized set of tables, listing rooms, traps and other perils the players will encounter during their time in the house.

Why is this? The house is the monster, an Ancient Greater Pseudomorph that can adapt its appearance to seem as a house as large as a modestly sized inn or manor. Once the Players enter there is no escape, safe by finding the creature’s heart (which it can move) and destroying it.

While in the house the players will face rooms that change, switch and bend, stairs that expands before them or possibly turn into slides. To the creature that is the house the plight of the players is noting more than idle entertainment; a cat playing with its food.

The Adventure

For whatever reason the players are traveling through the Marshlands as the sun sets on the day. Perhaps they are on their way to dungeon or some other point of interest or merely going to the next town on their map in hopes of treasure and fame.

While traveling through the marshlands the Players have a 50% chance of either encountering one of the creatures listed on Table 1 (1-50%) or one of the supernatural phenomena listed on Table 2(51%-100%).

Table 1 – Marshland Creatures
Roll (d6)
Creature Encountered
Young Black Dragon
2d4 Striges
1d6 Lizardmen Patrol
Creatures listed found in S&W Whitebox

Table 2 – Marshland Phenomena
Roll (d6) Phenomena
1-2 Lady in White
2-4 Ghost Fire
5-6 Azure Coin
See End of Adventure for descriptions

After twelve rounds of wandering, the players will encounter the The House.

The thick, close trees of the marsh part slightly to reveal a small clearing. An old moss covered inn with an attached stable stand – albeit slightly crooked – before you. The door and window are closed, and an ancient faded sign clacks in the humid breeze. As you approach a light comes on and you can begin to hear the sounds of music and talking from within.

The House

The house is an ancient Greater Pseudomorph, a creature that makes itself appear to be an inanimate object. This creature, unlike its semi-sentient is old and strong and intelligent making the world around it suit its will or at the very least, make those living beings near it believe wheat it wants them to believe.

There is no light and no music or talking coming from The House, the Pseudomorph that is The House is inflicting its will on the players (Save -10 to negate) to draw them closer to it and the inviting trap it has prepared for them.

Once the players are inside they will find themselves alone in an inn common room. A dim sourceless light keeps back the natural darkness. If they attempt to leave they will find the door and the windows gone.

Once the players leave the common room they are subject to the ever changing rooms listed below. Some rooms may contain the remains and treasures of former victims or may, if the players are lucky contain the creature’s heart.

Table 3 – “The House” Rooms
Roll (d%)
Room Type
10x10 room
Large Ballroom
Storage Room
The Common Room*
*The Common Room is the only room in the house exempt from tables 4 and 5. There is a 50% chance, however, of a Psychic Attack occurring while in The Common Room.

Table 4 – “The House” Traps
Roll (d%)
Room Type
Elongating Illusion*
Spike Pit
Poisonous Gas
Psychic Attack*
Falling Ceiling
Enclosing Walls
Stomach Acid*
*See End of Adventure for Description

Referee Note: All the traps in The House are technically “Psychic Attacks”, however, unlike the Psychic Attack trap listed, these traps can be overcome by the players successful making a saving throw or skill check involving the trap. I.E. If the Thief succeeds in picking the locked door the attack/trap fails and the Players are freed from that room.

Table 5 – “The House” Room Contents
Roll (d%) Contents
0-10 2d10 Standard Currency Pouch
11-30 Nothing
31-40 +1 Armor
41-60 4d10 Standard Currency Pouch
61-80 +1 Magic Weapon
81-90 Spell Scroll
95-100 Heart of “The House”*
*See End of Adventure for Description

Ending the Adventure

When the heart is destroyed the house will “melt” around the players within four turns leaving nothing but a slimy puddle that takes up most of the clearing.

Day is just breaking as the house finishes melting, and the players find that they are still in the small clearing amid the corpse of the Greater Pseudopod and the remains of its former victims.

Should the players chose they can pick through the remains (Roll table 5 three times) but find nothing else.

All that is left for the players to do is to move on and continue on their way. However, if any of them are exceptional perspective they may notice that the stables are still in the clearing and a baleful, but dim, red light is emanating from it.

New Monsters

Greater Pseudomorph (Heart)
Armor Class: 2[17]
Hit Dice: 7+3
Attacks: Pseudopod (3d6+stick)
See Below
THB: +9
Saving Throw: 10
Special: Psychic Attack, Stick
Move: 3
HDE/XP: 9/1,100

The Heart of the Greater Pseudopod is the only way to kill the Greater Pseudopod as a whole. As a sentient creature the Greater Pseudopod will attempt to protect its heart at nearly all costs.

The first way that the Greater Pseudomorph will attempt to protect itself is by hiding the heart from the prey trapped within itself. If the Prey happens to find the Pseudomorph heart it will use the rest of its body to defend itself by creating pseudopods from three different surfaces.

The Pseudomorph will also attempt to use its Psychic Attack ability to trick and confuse the attackers away from attacking it. While in the presence of the Pseudomorph Heart the save against any psychic attack is increased by -2

StickAny Melee attack has a 75% chance of causing the attacker to become stuck to the Pseudomorph. While stuck to the Pseudomorph the target takes 1d4 acid damage as the Pseudomorph begins to digest the target.

New Traps

Elongating IllusionWhen the players affected by this trap attempt to move in any direction the space will grow before them 10' for every step taken. A successful saving throw with a -3 modifier will cause the illusion to vanish leaving the area normal for the player.

If a single member of a party succeeds in disbanding the illusion the modifier is dismissed for all other party members.

Psychic Attack – The player is assaulted with false imagery, scenarios and personal memories. A Psychic Attack can take the form of imagining being attacked by a horde of orcs, or seeing a lost lover out the window being killed before the players' eyes. The Psychic Attack is typically the same for all the players.

Paranormal Phenomena

Lady in White – The players see the image of a pale human woman in a tattered wedding dress running through the marshlands as if it where a carpeted room. If pursued the Lady in White will continue to run until she reaches a place in the center of marsh. There the players will find the corpse of a long dead human and have a 75% chance of being hopelessly lost (add an additional 6 rounds of wandering before the house is found).

Ghost Fire – Pale lights that dance in the sky of the marsh and dive toward the murky, fetid waters. If pursued the lights will dance deeper and deeper into the marsh, until the player steps into the waters. Once the player steps into the waters something will grab and attempt to drown the player. If the player does not succeed a saving throw with a -2 modifier he or she will be pulled under and drowned in 1d6 rounds.

Azure Coin – The player finds a large standard currency coin on the ground before him or her. If he or she attempts to pick-up the coin it will fall from his or her fingers back onto the ground. With every attempt to pick-up the coin the player becomes more obsessed with picking the coin up. At first attempt a normal saving throw is made, on every attempt after the first a negative modifier equal to the number of attempts is added to the saving throw.


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