Dungeons. Dragons. Graph paper. Funny dice.

A is for Aedicula

An aedicula is a small shrine within a larger structure. The larger structure might be anything from a church to a private home to a city gate. Some aediculae are large enough that you could walk into them, others are merely niches in a wall.

Aedicula embedded in a Roman aqueduct

Roman pantries included a small shrine to the household Penates, guardians of grains and olive oil and so forth. A shrine to a saint within a Catholic church could be considered a kind of aedicula, such as the monument erected over St. Peter’s tomb within the larger Basilica.

Aedicula Random Generation

Approximate Size

  1. Under 6 inches
  2. 1 foot
  3. 3 feet
  4. 6 feet
  5. 10 feet
  6. 15 feet

Central Figure Depicted

  1. Humanoid
  2. Animal
  3. Animal-human hybrid
  4. Plant
  5. Abomination
  6. Scale model of urban landscape
  7. Everyday object
  8. Weapon
  9. Monster of type that last killed a party member
  10. Apparently, the most recently deceased party member

Decorative Motif

  1. Piles of treasure
  2. Flowers
  3. Tentacles
  4. Eyes
  5. Teeth
  6. Fruit
  7. Grains
  8. Musicians
  9. Stars
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Slaves
  12. Diagramatic


  1. Minor adverse magic if offering not made
  2. Minor helpful magic if offering made
  3. Central figure animates after specific trigger
  4. Aedicula “wanders” to different locations
  5. Accepts donations through a coin slot
  6. God missing from shrine; may be located elsewhere

(This is for the A-Z Blogger Challenge.)


richard April 2, 2011 at 6:36 AM

  1. aedicula occurs spontaneously.
  2. statue is actually a spy used for skrying.
  3. marks a point in a breadcrumb trail of clues: statue is looking at the next clue
  4. used by secret-keepers in the city (spies, anarchists, whatever) to hide messages.
  5. has a slot to receive documents, like the Venetian reporting boxes or a geniza.
  6. gives out some resource, maybe only under special circumstances. Water, blessings and mana are all trad. Hindu statues sometimes weep milk. Salt could be interesting, especially if ruminants are important in the setting.
  7. aedicula connects to a bigger, secret temple, that you can only see/notice with prior knowledge (network of aediculae through city/empire?)
  8. aedicula contains an aedicula.

Paul April 2, 2011 at 11:24 PM

Cool, thanks. I’ve really been enjoying your LJ posts, BTW, Richard.

richard April 4, 2011 at 4:02 AM

Thank you. Good to know someone’s reading :)

richard April 5, 2011 at 6:31 AM

…BTW, with all the DDoS nonsense at livejournal I’ve set up a second site at

I’m planning to cross post roleplaying stuff (only) in both places.

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