10 Things to Find in an Abandoned Dwarven Workshop

Dwarves are near-peerless crafters of metal and stone. Many dwarves make their living creating tough and beautiful objects for use or trade. A fallen dwarven hold likely contains many workshops and forges.


Use the table below, to generate details of the objects found in a workshop or forge:

  1. A large anvil of blackened iron, forged in the shape of a clenched fist, stands in the middle of the floor. Bumps and dents—testimony to the service it has seen—cover the anvil’s clenched fingers.
  2. Shelves cut into the living rock fill one wall. Choked and cluttered with rubbish, broken tools and mouldering, unidentifiable things they appear—at first glance—devoid of loot.
  3. A broken hammer lies on the floor near the door. Nearby lies a skeletal dwarf his—or her—head caved in by one terrible blow.
  4. A stone workbench juts from one wall. The bench is almost one-foot thick; cunningly fashioned drawers pierce its side. Most have been pulled out and ransacked, but one remains tightly closed. Chip marks on the drawer front show where someone tried—and failed—to prise it open.
  5. A fire pit topped by a smoke-hood fills one corner of the chamber. Dusty coals fill the fire pit. Nearby, a stone bunker holds yet more coal ready to feed the long-dead flames.
  6. An overlooked curled-up bloodstained parchment lying under other rubbish and detritus bears plans and sketches for the dwarf’s next creation. The plans are intricate and ambitious—almost a work of art in their own right. They might even be worth something to someone in the same trade.
  7. A small forge stands against one wall. Next to it, a once neatly stacked pile of seasoned wood is scattered across the floor. The wood is bone dry and burns fiercely. Perceptive PCs notice one piece of wood is hollow and contains a slender silver necklace (worth 50 gp) wrapped in a strip of brown cloth.
  8. Scattered broken tools cover the floor.
  9. A wrought iron chandelier wreathed in magic light illuminates the workshop. Forged in the shape of a skeletal dragon in flight the chandelier is bulky and difficult to remove without damaging the dragon’s outstretched wings.
  10. The workshop’s stone door is heavy and cumbersome. The workshop owner was clearly paranoid as the door has slots for two heavy bars on the inside. Two iron bars lean against the wall by the door. (This feature can make the workshop a safe place to rest).

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

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4 thoughts on “10 Things to Find in an Abandoned Dwarven Workshop

  1. 11. This workshop contains several tables each of which seems to have served for a different part of a process. The first table is next to a small iron furnace or stove. Several small iron ladles sit either on the stove, or on the table near it. Those on the stove contain metal, while those on the table are empty. One ladle was apparently spilled on the table, and a small solid puddle of the metal that had been in it sits next to it. There are also several narrow rectangular objects on the table held together with clamps. Some of these have open holes in the top, while other appear to be filled with the same metal that was in the ladles. The second table contains more of the narrow rectangular objects most filled with metal. There are a couple that have open holes, one is split in two. Close examination reveals that the holes lead to indentations that were apparently used to form small figures. The third table has numerous small figures laying on it, many of which have a plug of metal coming off of them, though some on the far side of the table have had this plug removed. There is a small saw, and a set of snips on the table as well. The fourth table has a large number of the figures on it. Some are laying in a pile on one side, but many are standing in small groups on the other side. There is another small saw, a couple of small knives, and several files on the table as well. It is easier to see the figures now, and it is clear that some of them are dwarves, while some appear to be goblins, there is a larger figure that may be an ogre, some men with spears, and odd creatures that looks like a snake with small legs towards the middle of its length, and the wings of a bird. One figure catches your eye. It is nearly twice as tall as any on the others, and is a female in a plain dress that reaches to the floor. A crested helmet completely covers her head. Her left hand rests on an oblong shield. and in her right hand she holds a huge scythe. There is a fifth, much larger table towards the back of the room. There is a grid pattern etched into the surface in the center of the table. A large tome rest open upon the table. One of the pages you can see is filled with archaic runes, and the other seems to contain several charts. Perhaps this contains the formula and process for creating these figures. (Every player in the group must roll a D12. whoever rolls lowest thier PC stess on a pointed metal 4 sided object on the floor and takes 1 point of damage. The object has tiny runes etched in it with different patterns on each side. Each side has 3 runes on it, all facing a different way, and no two sides are the same.)