20 Things to Find in a Tavern Bedchamber

Inveterate wanderers, adventurers spend much of their downtime patronising inns and taverns. Staying in such an establishment overnight is almost always preferable to a night under the stars.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


After all, an inn’s probably got a roof, four walls, hot food and alcohol. Those resting may suffer rain, wind, insects and the ever-present threat of a wondering predator disturbing the party’s sleep.

Inns are an excellent place to seed adventure hooks and suchlike. Almost every GM on the planet this in the tavern’s taproom, but what about its bedrooms? Use the table below, to generate things of minor interest left in an inn’s bedroom. These things could be nothing more than a minor distraction; they could also serve as a plot hook for the next adventure.

  1. A small, half full vial of woman’s perfume is wedged between the bed and the wall. The glass vial is intricately made and worth 10 gp. The perfume is worth an additional 5 gp and smells of lilac and roses.
  2. Several pieces of rubbish have been pushed under the bed. A tray holding a plate of mouldering food covers a piece of smudged parchment. It looks like the parchment once depicted a map, but a great smear has rendered it unreadable.
  3. A muted red cloak hangs on a hook on the back of the door. Dried mud clings to the cloak’s hem and a large rip pierces its back.
  4. The previous occupant of this room was paranoid and slept with a (normal) dagger under his pillow. Sadly, he forgot it when he left. The dagger is small, light and wickedly sharp.
  5. The initials CB and CRB are deeply carved into the bed’s headboard.
  6. A large bloodstain mars the bed sheets. A blanket covers the stain from casual view, but a character getting into bed without checking first could be in for a shock.
  7. An empty wine flask lies on the floor by the bed. A perceptive PC smelling the flask might detect a subtle, but definitely out of place, odour.
  8. A wooden shield leans against one wall; it’s in poor condition, with several gouges hacked out of its surface. The shield’s strap is worn and frayed. If used in combat, the strap snaps after three rounds.
  9. A rat—its back broken—lies on the floor, squeaking pitifully. The rat’s injuries look like someone has intentionally stamped on it before leaving it to suffer and die. If a PC heals the rat, it becomes a loyal pet (or it could be so much more—perhaps a wizard’s familiar, a polymorphed adventurer and so on).
  10. A wine-stained, frayed tunic rolled up in a ball lies in one corner where it was tossed. The garment stinks and is sized for an obviously overweight human (or perhaps a half-orc).
  11. A single frayed sock lies under the bed.
  12. A pile of folded blankets stands on a sideboard against one wall. A letter—a love letter speaking of forbidden love—has fallen behind the pile. One of the lovers—a prominent member of the community—is mentioned in the letter; apparently she must never find out about this relationship…
  13. A small soft leather pouch containing three small black stones (onyx worth 10 gp each) has been stuffed into a pillow. The pouch is embroidered with initials, “J.P.L” and is of fine quality.
  14. A blood-stained scrap of fabric lies in the shadows under a sideboard. It looks like it was used to clean off a dagger or similar weapon.
  15. A note pinned to the back of the door reminds the occupant to lock the door when retiring for the night because of “the regrettable incident last month.”
  16. Small flakes of metal lie under the room’s door. Careful investigation of the lock reveals it’s been tampered with. Even if the key is turned in the lock, the lock doesn’t actually engage; thus the door is not locked (even though the occupant believes it to be secured properly).
  17. A dreary watercolour hanging from the wall depicts a local landmark on a particularly bleak day. A waterproof pouch tacked to the back of the painting holds a map of a cellar. Although the location of the cellar is not shown, a link to a nearby sewer is clearly visible.
  18. A small wardrobe in one corner of the room holds a hooded cloak forgotten by the previous occupant. The cloak is voluminous and fur-lined and worth 20 gp. Unfortunately, it is a distinctive light blue in colour and its owner is actively looking for it.
  19. While in bed, a perceptive character may notice strange etchings on the ceiling directly overhead. When a light source is placed at the end of the bed on a small occasional table, the flickering shadows create a map on the ceiling.
  20. Graffiti scratched into the wall by the door holds the following, unsettling message, “Curse the unending scrabbling. Beware the rats in the walls.”

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20Front_#1_220This article appears in  20 Things #1: Seedy Tavern, which is available now. It will also appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.

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7 thoughts on “20 Things to Find in a Tavern Bedchamber

  1. It could be that the cloak hanging on the wall is actually a cloaker or some other nasty trap (imagine a cloak actually being a gate to another locale, or perhaps a dimensional hole loaded with trash). The dagger under the pillow could belong to an assassin who REALLY wants it back.

    • I like the assassin angle. That’s cool! Perhaps the dagger holds the soul of the last person killed in it and the assassin needs it to get paid.