20 Things to Find at an Abandoned Campsite

Adventurers spend a lot of time in the wilderness hunting for lost tombs, hidden monster lairs and more. As such, they often come across things they weren’t looking for in their travels.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


One such thing they might discover is an abandoned campsite. Some may be just that—an abandoned camp—while others could the site of violent slaughter. Use the below table, to determine what they find in an abandoned campsite.

  1. The charred remains of several bloody rags lie among the ashes of the campfire. There is, however, no sign of violence.
  2. An abandoned two-man tent lies crumbled on the ground. One end is still attached to its guide ropes while the other flaps despondently in the breeze.
  3. A jumbled pile of firewood stands under the boughs of a tree off to one side of the campfire. A small stash of full waterskins has been hidden under the pile.
  4. Food wrappers lie scattered about the camp, rustling in the breeze. The party’s noses lead them to a shallow latrine hole which the campers did not bother to cover over before leaving.
  5. A single much-patched tent stands in the shadow of a tall tree. Within, the party find a bedroll, backpack and several days’ worth of food along with other miscellaneous camping gear. Of the owner, there is no sign.
  6. A rudimentary attempt has been made to hide this old campsite. The low hanging branches of a tree have been pulled down and secured with rope to several iron spikes driven deep into the earth. The spikes are rusting and the rope is festooned with mould.
  7. The ground around this central fire pit is churned up and splattered with dried blood. Trackers among the party can make out the signs of a terrible struggle as well as the “footprints” of three tents.
  8. A rusting hatchet stands where it was left, embedded in the side of a tree clearly too large to be brought down by such a small weapon.
  9. This was clearly a semi-permanent camp at some point. Someone spent considerable time cutting down tree branches and dragging them back to camp to create interlaced walls of tumbled wood. The space inside the “walls” is large enough for a half-dozen tents.
  10. This campsite has four small fire pits spread evenly around its perimeter; the grass and vegetation in the space between the fires has been squashed flat—suggesting several people slept therein.
  11. A ragged mottled green and brown cloak hangs from a tree’s low branches.
  12. The skinned, gutted and now decomposing remains of a deer have been dumped about 30 ft. away from camp.
  13. A crude map of the surrounding terrain has been drawn into a patch of mud with a sharp stick. Several portions of the map have been effaced by animals or inclement weather.
  14. By the looks of things, the campfire at this camp got a little out of hand. A nearby tree’s branches have been scorched and the burn patterns on the ground extend well beyond the fire’s stone ring.
  15. Wind-blown leaves cover much of this site. A small leaf drift covers a shredded sack containing seemingly nothing more than rotting clothes. A perceptive character, however, searching the clothes finds a small leather pouch contains 3 gp and 7 sp.
  16. A waterlogged book lies discarded on a low, flat stone. Once a religious tract of a local religion the book is now nothing more than a sodden mass of parchment; only the cover remains legible.
  17. The remains of several crude animal snares surround this campsite; all are empty.
  18. A shallow grave—topped with a smattering of stones surrounded by wild flowers—stands near a gurgling stream. A ring of smooth stones—no doubt pulled from the nearby stream—surround the grave like a fence.
  19. A broken lantern lies on its side partially covered by leaves and other wind-blown detritus. Any oil within has long since drained away.
  20. A large tarpaulin hangs between two trees suspended by stout hemp rope and anchored by several iron spikes.

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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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