10 Suspiciously Detailed Dungeon Doors

PCs are a suspicious and paranoid bunch. And with good reasons. In the depths of a dungeon, it’s not necessarily only the monsters that can kill them.

By Matt Morrow

By Matt Morrow


Wise adventurers pay careful attention to their surroundings. Sights, sounds and smells can all provide a hint—or warning—about what lies beyond.

Use the table below, to generate details of the doors the PCs encounter during their dungeon exploration.

  1. One of the planks making up this sturdy wooden door has recently been replaced. The wood looks fresh and the heads of the nails holding it in place are still bright and shiny.
  2. The door is a terrible fit for the doorway; gaps about one inch wide at the top and bottom provide mute testimony to the carpenter’s craftsmanship—and a handy way to spy what lurks beyond.
  3. While the door itself seems in relatively good condition, the hinges are old and rather rusty. Opening the door creates a loud screeching sound sure to alert anyone in the vicinity.
  4. Gouges in the wood of this door show where someone has tried (and failed) to dig out one of the hinges.
  5. This door isn’t installed properly; it is merely propped in place. Anyone trying to open the door normally is in for a shock as it topples backwards onto them. Observant PCs notice the door’s hinges are not actually attached to the wall (like normal).
  6. Water drips down from the ceiling onto the floor in front of the door. Consequently, the bottom of the door has swelled somewhat, making it harder to open than normal.
  7. Nails of various shapes and sizes have been driven into the surface of this door in the general shape of an esoteric sigil representing danger.
  8. A crude representation of a flame has been daubed this door with red paint. The work is amateurish and faded.
  9. The wood of this door is clearly rotten. Mould grows on the door’s surface and the pungent smell of damp wood and rot fills the immediate vicinity.
  10. This iron door perfectly fills the doorway. A small grilled view port pierces the door at male human head height. Several smaller ports—hidden from casual inspection—at waist height serve as arrow slits of sorts and allow defenders to jab spears and suchlike at those in front of the portal.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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