20 Things to Find in a Torture Chamber

The world in which the PCs adventure is a brutal, hard place. When magical means of persuasion are not available, villains often resort to torture to get what they want.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Torture chambers are a feature of many dungeons—particularly ones designed to incarcerate prisoners. Use the table below to generate points of minor interest for the PCs to discover in such a locale:

  1. A pile of bloody rags tossed carelessly in one corner hints at the terrible practises wrought upon the unfortunates brought here.
  2. An iron brazier full of glowing coals emits a dim, malign glow. Next to the brazier a small wooden bin holds a half-dozen pokers; burnt flesh yet clings to several of their tips.
  3. A row of manacles is set into one wall. The floor in the surrounding area is stained with blood, urine and faeces. The area smells terrible; here unfortunates are brought to await their fate—or to watch the torture of their comrades and loved ones.
  4. A bloody piece of sackcloth covers a low table set near a chair itself set with manacles on the armrest. Under the sackcloth lie a collection of bloody knives, saws and other implements of torture.
  5. Incongruously among the squalor and carnage, an ornate table and several fine chairs stand on a dais in an alcove at the end of the room. Here, the torturer’s master occasionally comes to watch proceedings.
  6. A scrappy, bloody journal lists those tortured here. Included are their names, date of torture, what they confessed—if anything—and their ultimate fate. A cursory perusal of the book shows that most people brought here do not survive the torturer’s attentions.
  7. A small iron cage—perhaps a foot square—hangs from the ceiling by a thick rope. Within coals smoulder. A small pile of ash lies on the ground below the cage around a set of stout manacles set into the floor.
  8. Several iron pegs adorn one wall. Wrapped around them is an impressive collection of whips. All are obviously well used, and several have dried blood upon their tips.
  9. Under a sack against one wall lies the torturer’s most recent victim. The body is in a terrible way; cuts and burns cover much of the cadaver.
  10. An iron basket holds a collection of branding irons. Burnt flesh clings to some of the irons, which depict various evil deity’s symbols.
  11. A blood-stained chair stands in the centre of the room. The chair has thick leather straps upon its armrests. The chairs legs are stained with blood and urine.
  12. A collection of dirty implements including pliers, clamps and thumbscrews rests on a shelf.
  13. The sadistic torturer working here likes to take the thumbs from his victims. Once he has extracted his prize he boils the flesh away and adds it to a bone curtain he is making. The curtain hangs over his sleeping alcove and almost reaches the floor.
  14. A small iron cage hangs from the ceiling via stout chains. The cage is large enough for a human to crouch in. A close inspection reveals dried blood on many of the bars.
  15. Two oubliettes pierce the floor in a dingy corner of the room. The narrow, rough-hewn holes are filled with black, foul water to a depth of six feet and topped with a locked iron grate.
  16. A small, half-full barrel holds several gallons of lamp oil. A dirty, oversized ladle, secured with a leather loop, hangs from the barrel.
  17. Crude pictures daubed on the wall in faded paint and other unwholesome liquids depict various horrendous torture methods.
  18. A worn and bloody apron hangs from a hook on the wall near the door. A pocket holds a small knife, a whetstone and a small vial of salt.
  19. A thin leather bound book lies wrapped carefully in clean cloth. Its pages depict a stylised body and show the locations of the major organs, arteries, nerve endings and so on. The book is well thumbed.
  20. A rough piece of parchment lying on a table details the confession of some unfortunate. The signature is little more than a squiggle; dots of blood mar the parchment.

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