20 Things to Find in a Mine

Mining is an ancient effort shared by many races. Even active mines may come across problems which require the help of skilled adventurers, whether it be to roust a pesky beast or explore a newly-discovered underground cavern.

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)


Use the table below, to determine what minor points of interest the party discover while exploring a mine:

  1. The tunnel floor is marred with deep ruts worn by steel-clad wooden cart wheels. Slippery moss grows in patches between the ruts.
  2. A pulley hangs from the ceiling. The rope dangling from it has an empty wooden bucket tied to one end. The other disappears into a deep shaft in the floor.
  3. A donkey cart sits to one side with its harness still attached. It contains three day’s worth of dry rations for four people.
  4. Small recesses at head height, one every ten-foot or so, line the walls. One of them contains a metal lantern which emits a cool, pale light that can’t be extinguished.
  5. The floor ahead is littered with diamond shards that glitter like stars. There is about 50 gp worth of diamond bits, but collecting them all takes about 30 minutes.
  6. A small metal cage dangles from a metal hook driven into the tunnel’s ceiling. A brightly coloured, but miserable-looking, bird sits on a perch inside
  7. A six-foot stick lies along the wall. It has a half-used candle lashed to one end.
  8. This passage boasts a few large wooden support beams. One lies unfinished across the floor in a pool of oddly coloured water.
  9. Warm, dry air flows through this part of the mine. A shaft in the ceiling cuts straight up to daylight above.
  10. Short-hafted hammers, pickaxes and shovels lean against the walls in this half-finished tunnel, waiting for the workers’ return.
  11. A group of hand baskets sit here, full of ore ready to be carried from the mine.
  12. A low shaft slants off to the right. A drum with two crank handles sits four-foot back from its opening wrapped in a rope that disappears into the darkness below.
  13. Atop a pile of rubble sits an old, battered warrior’s helm which has been modified to hold a candle just over the brow.
  14. Knocking sounds seem to come from behind the walls and ceiling. All non-magical lights gutter out in this area.
  15. The floor drops away suddenly. A wooden ladder enables access to the lower level.
  16. A pile of charcoal lies on the floor of an alcove. The wall and ceiling are black with soot.
  17. Off to the side sits a wheelbarrow with a single metal wheel. The barrow is full of fist-sized chunks of rock.
  18. The walls are worked with such delicacy that they are smooth as glass to the touch; this must have required a significant amount of time, but there seems to be no reason why anyone would expend that much effort.
  19. The floor slopes down into a lower area full of a strong, sour gas smell. One minute spent in the area probably causes any creature to become sickened; after ten minutes they could lose consciousness.
  20. A crude sign nailed to a support beam says “For the Knockers”. Beneath lies a pile of half-eaten food in various states of decay.

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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

Hailing from the wilds of Canada where she resides in the beautiful city of Calgary, Alberta, Kalyna Conrad is an entertainment lighting designer and technician by day and an avid reader, writer, and gamer in any spare time she can find. RPGs came into her life in university, when her future husband invited her on a date to game with his friends, and she’s been hooked ever since. She is an associate editor for Wayfinder and has written for Fat Goblin as line developer for their Campaign Kits line, LPJ designs, and now Raging Swan. She was honored to be part of RPG Superstar’s top 32 in 2015 with her first ever entry. Coming from a fiction background Kalyna loves creating towns, characters, histories, and interesting situations for PCs to find themselves in.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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