10 Noxious Stenches to Smell in a Slum

Slums are dark and dingy places. In dark alleyways, monstrous deeds are wrought while the poor, the destitute and the desperate simply try to survive.

Alley Lurker. Artwork © 2008 Jeff Freels, used with permission

Alley Lurker. Artwork © 2008 Jeff Freels, used with permission

Slums often stink. Use the table below to generate details of the smell present in a slum.
  1. The stench of old, rotting fish pervades the whole alleyway. The source—a rotting mass of fish carcasses—fills an old barrel resting on its side near once wall.
  2. The decomposing corpse of a cat lies stretched out by a wall. Several rats gnaw at the body, but scatter if anyone approaches. The smell of faeces and decomposing flesh is strong near the cat’s corpse.
  3. The alley stinks of excrement. Brown streaks down the nearby walls show where residents have hurled it into the street from their windows. Underfoot, the going is slippery.
  4. There is no wind in the alleyway and thick smoke—from cooking fires—hangs in the air. The smoke’s arid smell lingers in the alley.
  5. The pungent smell of smoke, sweat and offal fills the alley.
  6. The reek of stale, rotting food along with urine and a dank, mouldy smell combine to produce a fetid, monstrous odour.
  7. An unplaceable, fetid odour blankets the alley.
  8. A handcart piled high with animal dung partially blocks the alleyway. The stench emanating from the handcart is indescribable in its foulness.
  9. Recent rain has transformed the handpicked earth of the ground into thick, cloying mud. Consequently, the rough smell of earth intermingled with animal dung fills the alley.
  10. A sulphurous miasma fills the alley. Here, in the deep shadows, breathing is difficult such is the strength of the stench.

Want More?

For more on slums, check out 20 Pieces of Slum Dressing. Additionally, this article will appear in the upcoming GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things compilation releasing in 2016. You can read more about the book, here.

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