20 Pieces of Fallen Dwarven Hold Dressing

Dwarves do not lightly abandon their clan homes. Likely, the last days of the dwarves’ hegemony were marked by savage battles and sorrow. Such terrible events leave their mark on a fallen dwarven hold.


Use the table below, to breathe life into a fallen dwarven hold:

  1. Dust and the bones of the fallen thickly cover the floor. Obviously, a great battle raged here. Many of the remains show signs of violent death. Nothing of value remains.
  2. Dried rust-coloured stains cover the ornate wall carvings here. The stains—dried blood—obscure much of the cravings’ details, which depict a craggy mountain range of epic proportions.
  3. Deep, dusty cobwebs obscure the arched ceiling, creating areas of deep shadow. Disturbing the webs creates a billowing dust cloud that lasts for several minutes before the dust settles on the ground—and anything else (including explorers) in the area.
  4. The shattered remains of a stout dwarven door choke the entrance to this area. Something impressively strong knocked down the door. Pieces of its intricate stone hinges yet remain attached to the door jam.
  5. A small niche low down near the floor pierces one wall. A small slab of stone crafted to look like the wall lies discarded nearby. Within the niche lies a switch which is in the down position. There is no clue as to what the switch operates.
  6. Nine small niches about the size of a man’s fist pierce one wall at about a dwarf’s shoulder height. Stylised carvings—depicting rays of sunlight—radiate from each niche.
  7. The once beautiful dwarven carvings decorating the walls are comprehensively defaced.
  8. Carved into one wall, the words of a dwarven battle prayer speak of glory, duty and implacable hatred toward the clan’s enemies.
  9. A pile of mouldering, dusty bones lie in a heap before a doorway, suggesting someone made a stand within. Perceptive PCs note many of the bones are crushed or broken—mute testimony to the savagery of the struggle once fought here.
  10. The stone floor is chipped and damaged as if someone had tried to dig it up.
  11. Dust covers much of the floor. A cracked stone basin juts from one wall and water drips from within. Under the basin, the water has turned the dust into a thick, grey paste that glistens in the party’s lights.
  12. A cast iron brazier lies on its side among the dust and mouldering detritus of the dwarf’s fallen home. Scattered coal, along with an over-sized wrought iron poker, lie about the brazier.
  13. A dusty pyramid of dwarven skulls—perhaps a battle trophy or warning of what lies beyond—dominates this chamber. Of the rest of the dwarves’ remains, there is no sign.
  14. A shallow channel—that once guided water to a hidden cistern far below—cuts across the floor. Rubble and debris fill the water’s course; consequently, the surrounding floor is slick with moisture (and floods after rain).
  15. The clan’s sigil is carved into the rock above the next door the PCs discover. (Investigations reveal the head-sized carving can be pushed inwards slightly; doing so operates the door’s lock).
  16. A small handcart lies overturned on the floor. The wood is soft; mushrooms and fungus grow over the remains. Nearby, the remnants of the cart’s contents—clothes, food and so on—have mouldered away leaving nothing but a foul stain upon the stone.
  17. An intruder’s skeletal remains lie sprawled on the floor. No valuables remain, but a crossbow bolt is yet buried in the unfortunate’s forehead.
  18. A five-foot-wide hole pierces the floor. A chill breeze issues from the hole, which seems to be impossibly deep. Light sources dropped within quickly disappear.
  19. Thick red-brown mould grows across the walls and floor. Observant PCs notice an indistinct lump in the middle of the decay has the same general shape as a skeleton.
  20. Rusty and grimy iron chains running down one wall hang from a hole in the ceiling. They disappear into another hole in the floor. The chain is thick, although one loop at floor level is horribly twisted, which has stopped it running into the hole.

Want More?

20 Pieces of Fallen Dwarven Hold Dressing appears in 20 Things #23: Fallen Dwarven Hold.

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3 thoughts on “20 Pieces of Fallen Dwarven Hold Dressing

    • Thank you, Michael! I was just writing the foreword for GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things III so your comment was particularly well timed!