10 Signs of Previous Exploration

The PCs are likely not the first to explore the fallen dwarven hold. Such locales draw adventurers to their dusty halls like iron filings to a lodestone.


Use the table below, to generate minor evidence of previous explorations:

  1. A smear of charcoal on the wall shows where someone stubbed out a torch. Nearby, lies the discarded stub of said torch.
  2. A shredded backpack rests on the floor. Dried blood coats the pack’s back. PCs searching the pack’s remains find a single dusty gold coin caught up in a fold of the fabric.
  3. Footprints in the thick dust betray the presence of another explorer. A skilled tracker can interpret the tracks and realises whoever made them was sprinting at the time he or she made them.
  4. Lichen and mould grow over a few scraps of mouldy food and a discarded water flask.
  5. A glimmer of light from one wall catches a PC’s eye. Investigating, the PC discovers a bent silver coin wedged into a tiny gap between two stone blocks.
  6. A splintered javelin, its rusted head bent, lies against a wall.
  7. Burnt scraps of wood arranged in a rough circle show where someone built a campfire. The detritus of a quick camp—crumbs of food and so on—are also in evidence.
  8. Shards of glass from a broken wine bottle lie on the floor. Unwary explorers could stand on a large shard and suffer one point of damage.
  9. An iron spike is hammered into this door’s stone frame. The piton is impressively bent, but it’s done its job—the heavy stone door still stands ajar.
  10. A splintered pickaxe handle lies on the floor. Nearby, the pickaxe’s blade juts from a narrow crack in one wall at about waist height. (Perhaps the previous adventurers discovered a secret niche but were disturbed before they could get it open).

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This article appears in 20 Things #23: Fallen Dwarven Hold.

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