10 Things to Find Dumped at the Dungeon’s Entrance

Ahead, yawns the shadow-cloaked depths of the dungeon’s entrance. Within lurks untold danger and perhaps glimmering treasures. But what of the entrance itself? What can inquisitive adventurers find there?

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)


Dungeon entrances are often overlooked as a great place to set the scene. Obviously, this is (probably) a high-traffic area and so there is bound to be a certain amount of rubbish and discarded equipment lying about.

Use the table below, to determine what the PCs find at the dungeon’s entrance.

  1. A hacked and broken large wooden shield. Red and blue splinters of wood lie all about and it is impossible to make out the heraldic device on the shield’s shattered remains.
  2. An empty waterskin; dried blood covers the skin’s mouth.
  3. A haphazardly arranged pile of freshly cut wood stands near the dungeon entrance. The inhabitants (or adventurers) may have cut the wood for fuel or it may be a defensive measure by the dungeon’s denizens. (In this case, the wood is soaked with oil and will be ignited by the defenders when the PCs attack).
  4. A sporadic trail of copper and silver coins leads away from the dungeon. Eventually, the trail terminates in a leather sack with a hole ripped in the bottom. Sadly, the sack is empty except for a single gold coin caught in a fold.
  5. Several wooden holy symbols hang from a skeletal tree growing near the dungeon’s entrance. All the symbols have been slashed or scorched. Several have clearly had precious stones pried from their settings. The symbols clack against one another in the wind, creating a mournful sound.
  6. Blood splatter and a confused miss mash of tracks bear witness to a recent skirmish.
  7. Two broken arrows stand proudly from the ground. Nearby, a wisp of red fabric flutters from a branch on which it is snagged. Investigation reveals the fabric is velvet and probably came from an expensive robe or cloak.
  8. The hacked and bloody decomposing corpse of a humanoid lies in a jumble against a boulder. The creature (of a type appropriate for the dungeon) had clearly been tortured, but it is unclear by whom.
  9. A shredded backpack with a huge rent in the back. One of the pack’s straps has  been ripped off. The pack’s contents—a blanket, three days of rations and a coil of hemp rope—are all mouldy; they’ve clearly been here some time.
  10. A single leather boot stands—incongruously—in the very shadow of the dungeon’s entrance. It seems of high quality and in good condition. The boot is part of a trap set to alert those guarding the entrance; it is attached by a length of twine hidden in the dirt to a precariously balanced metal shield. If the boot is disturbed, the shield falls over with a crash.

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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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4 thoughts on “10 Things to Find Dumped at the Dungeon’s Entrance

  1. This stuff you post is golden, but I don’t always have time to review it, and I may not remember these when I need them. Will you be putting out a book with this stuff?

    • Thank you for the kind words!

      Yes, this article–along with loads others–appears in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II. There’s a link above at the end of the post. I hope you find the book jolly useful!