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Living Locations 6: Echo House will sing your players to their doom

Living Locations 6: Echo House will sing your players to their doom

Landscape featuring the sarcophagus of Horus the Child (Harpocrates)

This series introduces the concept of living locations: places that possess a primitive sentience, personality, and awareness. These locations are not “alive” in the traditional sense, but manipulate their environment and the creatures and objects within them.

Locations that fit this archetype in games, film, and literature include the house in the movie Monster House (2006), the apartment in 1408 (1999), and the town of Silent Hill in the game Silent Hill (1999). More examples might come to you if you think a bit.

A living location need not be a haunted house or a supernatural manifestation. It can include locations such as a workshop granted a semblance of life by clockwork magic or a mysterious tower of plants animated by the will of an elemental or fey lord.

Catch up on all the Living Locations articles! Previous articles looked at how to design and run a living location, including the powers for a living location and the types that can exist. The final two articles in this series introduce two living locations that GMs can run straight out of the box.

Echo House

In a secluded valley deep within the mountains, Echo House is a ruined structure of unknown antiquity that appears to be a massive stone cube engraved in mystical runes. The ruin has drawn many foolish adventurers eager to plunder its treasures, and the bones of most of these unfortunate souls now litter the valley floor.

Strange sounds can be heard issuing from the ruin day and night. Those who have ventured past the rune-covered gates and returned speak of their own voices being thrown back to them in hateful tones and killing songs emanating from deep within the structure’s sealed lower vaults.

Bizarre and malicious monsters associated with sound, including aural hunters (Tome of Beasts 3) and vangslaugh (Tome of Beasts 2), lurk in the valley surrounding the ruins, drawn to the building’s strange cries and whispers and hunting those attempting to enter, while animated instruments (Tome of Beasts 3) of all shapes and sizes can be found within its interior as well as the spirits of past victims returned as ravenous shadows.


Echo House was constructed almost two millennia ago by a cabal of wizards and bards experimenting with sounds and music to create an new form of sonic-based magic. Unfortunately, they found that sounds brought on by the screams of the dying produced some of the best results, and their experiments took a decidedly darker turn.

Eventually, the cabal was exterminated by mage hunters from a nearby kingdom, but not before their unholy inquiries had granted their laboratory a semblance of life and malevolence.


Size Gargantuan (50-foot-wide central chamber and six smaller vaults located below it)
Senses blindsight 60 ft., tremorsense 30 ft.
Number of Cores 2


Echo House has two cores (both Large). Its first core is the statue of a massive stone lyre positioned in the center of the grand chamber. Its second core is an animated quartet (TOB3) in the building’s underground vaults. The stats listed below are for the first core.


Armor Class 12 (natural armor + core bonus)
Hit Points 50
Speed Fly 40 ft. (+10 ft. from core bonus)
Perception 12            Stealth 10
Senses blindsight 30 ft. (blind beyond this radius)


Save Bonus. +2 bonus to all saves from core bonus.

Antimagic Susceptibility. The animated stone lyre is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the stone lyre must succeed on a CON save against the caster’s spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

Core Bonus. The stone lyre gains two additional attacks, a 10 ft. bonus to its movement speed, and adds its Charisma modifier to its AC and saves.

False Appearance. While the stone lyre remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an ordinary statue.


Multiattack. The stone lyre makes three slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d12 + 2) bludgeoning damage.


On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), and any time outside of combat (unless otherwise specified), Echo House can use one of the following Minor Abilities as an action:

  • Echo House can perfectly replicate the sound of any Beast, Giant, or Humanoid expressing a powerful negative emotion (distress, fear, despair, hate, etc.). This ability can take the form of screams, whispers, scratching, sobbing, or similar sounds. The house can make the sounds come from any surface and can duplicate the voices of anyone who spends more than an hour inside it (if they speak at all during this time).

  • Echo House can ignite or quench all non-magical sources of illumination within its interior. It can cast the light spell on any surface or object not being held or worn by a living creature. Likewise, it can cast the darknessspell on any surface or object not carried or worn by a living creature. It can cast the darkness spell, once every hour.

  • Echo House can cast the spells arcane lock, fog cloud, gentle repose, illusory script, magic mouth and sleep once every hour (save DC 14).


On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Echo House can use one of the following Major Abilities as an action:

  • Deadly Wail (Recharge 5–6). Echo House unleashes a deadly wail in a 20-foot radius. Creatures in the radius of the scream take 14 (4d6) thunder damage and are frightened until the end of their next turn. A successful DC 16 CON save halves the damage and negates the frightened condition.

  • Ground Spikes (Recharge 5–6). Thick, wooden spikes shoot up from the ground. Each enemy in a 20-foot area must make a D 19 DEX save, taking 33 (6d10) piercing damage on a failure or no damage on a success.

  • Spinning Scythe. Echo House can activate one of the many bizarre weapons houses within its confines. A typical weapon is a spinning scythe: Whirling blades emerge from the walls to attack all creatures within a 10-foot radius. The blades have a +6 to hit and deal 11 (2d10) slashing damage on a success.

Echo House uses its Major Abilities if intruders destroy one of its cores or if they breach its lower vaults.

about Phillip Larwood

Phillip has been writing for Kobold Press and other companies for many years. From multiple articles in the early days of Kobold Quarterly magazine to recent books like Tome of Beasts 2 and Vault of Magic, Phillip is never more satisfied than when he sees his name in print. Something that he points out to his family and friends over and over and over again.

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