20 Hauntings to Encounter in a Mine

Tales of haunted mines abound and are a traditional venue for exploration and treasure seeking. Mines are also renowned for unexplained sounds and events that can leave even the bravest souls trembling.  The hauntings below can add a sense of tragedy to any mine adventure.

By William  McAusland (Outland Art)

By William McAusland (Outland Art)

 

Use the table below, to determine what hauntings the PCs encounter in the mine:

(The GM should remember to tweak the various hauntings to suit the mine’s owners, its history and so on):

  1. A billowing cloud of smoke hurtles down the tunnel, leaving those caught within it gasping for air and unable to see. It dissipates just as quickly as it appears, leaving behind the lingering smell of charred flesh.
  2. A tunnel floor of dried mud entombs the partial remains of several skeletons. The sound of rushing water with no apparent source fills the air.
  3. The distant clanging of a bell comes from behind, as whispering voices seem to pass by headed in its direction.
  4. A wooden cross piece with a hangman’s noose suspended from it spans the bottom of a ventilation shaft. It sways gently in a non-existent breeze and faint choking sounds can be heard.
  5. A small bird noiselessly flies into sight out of the darkness and crashes to the tunnel floor. It weakly flutters about before lying still and disappearing.
  6. The sound of heavy footsteps accompanies the party as they traverse a certain tunnel. It sounds as if someone wearing heavy boots is walking alongside the PCs. Moist footprints appear on the stone floor before quickly fading away.
  7. An overturned wheelbarrow, surrounded by a low cloud of dust, comes into view. The upturned wheel is still spinning, as if the upset had just occurred.
  8. The ghostly visage of a sobbing miner kneels against the tunnel wall, staring deeper into the mine. When approached, he suddenly stands and runs into the darkness.
  9. Shadows cast by the party’s lights take on the form of hunched miners wielding various mining implements. They become locked in battle with one another before fading away to nothingness. Dried blood covers the tunnel walls, here.
  10. Light from several torches crosses a distant intersection accompanied by the echoing sound of conversing voices.
  11. A rumbling sound begins to crescendo and culminates in what sounds like a cave-in, followed by muffled and fading screams.
  12. Twisted and leering faces seem to take shape in the walls, out of the corner of the PCs’ eyes. The faces disappear, if anyone looks at them.
  13. A light mist forms and follows the explorers. It eventually coalesces into a roughly humanoid form that motions them to silence by bringing a finger to its mouth, before fading away.
  14. The faint smell of noxious gas reaches the PCs’ nostrils, followed by the hazy outlines of choking faces that fade in and out of view and the very limit of the party’s lights.
  15. Two rows of chains are suspended from the tunnel roof, dropping down to just short of the floor. They begin swaying and clanking as if something just ran between them.
  16. A skeletal figure lies sprawled at an intersection, one arm pointing towards a side tunnel. Anyone approaching feels a dramatic drop in temperature and the unmistakable feeling of being watched.
  17. A voice cries out as the ghastly visage of a large rat swarm comes into view. The swarm disperses and fades away, revealing the mauled remains of a miner lying sprawled on the floor.
  18. Glints of gold seem evident now and then in a small stream trickling passed. When investigated, the water swirls with blood and becomes littered with bones.
  19. A pillar of sunlight streams in from a ventilation shaft piercing the ceiling above an intersection. Spectral miners are occasionally outlined as they pass through the patchy of faint light.
  20. Small blue flames lead explorers to an isolated alcove with a narrow vertical shaft in the floor. The mouldering offerings of the miners cast into the depths fill the bottom half of the shaft.

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20Front_#5_220This article appears in  20 Things #5: Subterranean Mine, which is available in August 2016. It will also appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.

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Guest Designer


Ronald Calbick is in his 40s and has been playing RPGs since he was ten years old. He’s stuck primarily with D&D, starting with the “Blue Cover” boxed set and all the way up through Pathfinder and 5E. He’s married, with two grown children, works as a web developer for Fun.com, and is a Gulf War veteran and reserve police officer.

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