10 Things to Find in a Burned Out Building

Fire is a potent enemy for any settlement. Wooden buildings are particularly susceptible to flames and often marauders use it to devastating effect on the borderland settlements they raid.

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)


Use the table below, to determine what minor features of note the party discover while investigating a burned-out building:

  1. The building’s blackened chimney rises from the surrounding piles of scorched and burnt wood. Debris chokes the fireplace.
  2. Bizarrely one section of soot-stained wall survived the fire relatively undamaged. Someone has written graffiti—the names of the people who died here—in the soot.
  3. Part of a bed’s wooden headboard sticks out of a pile of burnt and scorched debris.
  4. The fire that destroyed this building was clearly powerful. The building’s stone foundation stones are scorched, and several cracked in the intense heat. Similarly, the branches of a tree nearest to the building are blackened and burnt.
  5. Pieces of partially melted iron lie amid the ruins. One is reminiscent of a cauldron or pot, while others nearby might have once been utensils of some sort.
  6. Birds now nest amid the scorched rafters of this once fine home. The rafters rang over the ruin like blackened bones reaching up into the sky. If disturbed, the birds fly up out of the building into the air; perhaps their sudden appearance could alert nearby raiders to the PCs’ presence.
  7. Three crude grave markers of blackened wooden planks stick out of the muddy earth behind the house. Bunches of dying flowers lie upon each grave suggesting at least one person cares about the people who once lived here.
  8. Rubble and the scorched remains of two wooden beams partially cover a hole in the ground. Investigation reveals, the hole leads down to a root cellar. The wooden stairs leading downward were badly damaged in the fire and collapse if any meaningful weight is put on them.
  9. Attempts have been made to salvage useable materials from this ruin. Near what was once the front door, someone has dumped a pile of wood that survived the fire in relatively good condition; another pile of scorched and burnt offcuts lies nearby.
  10. The soot-wreathed bones of one of the building’s unfortunate residents lies pinned beneath an unstable pile of debris. Trying to reach the skeleton is dangerous; the pile could shift or collapse if disturbed.

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20Front_#7_220This article appears in 20 Things #7: Haunted House, which is available now. It will also appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.

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