10 Minor Locales of Interest in a Sewer

Sewers are dank, dismal places rife with muck, slime and disease. Like a traditional dungeon, they have passageways and chambers, but such locations are markedly different to those in a normal dungeon.

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)


Of course, not all locations in a sewer host monsters and their treasure. Some are empty, but interesting nonetheless by dint of their features. Such locales give the GM the opportunity to set the scene and to build the sewer’s flavour. Use the table below, to describe such locations:

  1. Here, several sewer passageways come together in a rough cross. The flow of so much turgid water has eroded the bottom of the intersection, and now a lazy but powerful whirlpool draws the waters into yet deeper caverns.
  2. An iron-bound door pierces one wall. The door is old, swollen and hard to open. It is also barred from the inside—clearly someone values their privacy.
  3. This sewer passageway is old and decayed. Part of one wall has fallen away creating a rubble field. Characters exploring the collapsed wall discover a small, dry natural space beyond. The foundations of a large building intersect the area.
  4. A great mass of rubbish and detritus has formed a veritable island almost completely blocking the flow of water through this sewer channel. Tracks of small creatures—probably rats—are easily visible in the island’s “mud”.
  5. The PCs hear the sound of tumbling water from quite some distance, before they reach this area. Here, the sewer channel drops five-foot over a weir. Crude steps cut into both walkways drop the, down a similar height.
  6. In several places, the walkway in this section of sewer has crumbled away. Long, slippery—and possibly rotten—boards bridge the resulting gaps.
  7. The sewer channel flows through the middle of a natural cave discovered when the sewer was dug. Most of the cave is unworked and in its natural state; however, some effort has been made to smooth the floor adjacent to the channel.
  8. For a 30 ft. stretch of channel, the ceiling is twice the normal height (50% chance) or so low the PCs—except gnomes and halflings—must crouch or bash their heads on the brickwork (50% chance).
  9. The water flow noticeably increases as it approached this area. Here, the sewer was dug over a natural cavern network. The remorseless flow of water has finally broken through into the caverns below, flooding them. A waterfall drops into the cavern below; only a trickle of water makes it passed the waterfall into the sewer beyond.
  10. A shallow ramp—wide enough for a cart—leads up from this section of sewer. It leads to a grimy, iron-bound double door. Beyond lies the redolent basement of a tanner. Tracks in the sludge show a cart has traversed the slope relatively recently.

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This article appears in 20 Things #13: Noisome Sewer. For more free 20 Things lists, check out our Free Resources page.

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