20 Things to Find in a Vampire’s Lair

Perhaps one of the most terrifying foes most adventurers will ever face, vampires—creatures of the night—have well-hidden and protected lairs.

By Willam McAusland (Outland Arts)

By Willam McAusland (Outland Arts)


The culmination of most vampire hunts ends in a vampire’s lair, but often such locales hold nothing but a coffin. Use this table, to generate points of minor interest to include in a vampire’s lair:

  1. Lurid paintings of a nearby settlement at night decorate the walls. The paintings are gloomy and depressing. Careful examination reveals several depicting the vampire lurking in the shadows.
  2. The vampire’s coffin stands on a stone pedestal in the centre of the room. A red velvet cloth blankets the pedestal. Exotic and esoteric symbols decorate the cloth’s hem.
  3. Several plush rugs cover the floor. Under each lies an ironbound trapdoor. Beneath each trapdoor lies a narrow but deep, rough-hewn oubliette. The bloodless remains of several of the vampire’s victims can be found within.
  4. Tapestries cover the walls of this chamber. They are a mishmash of styles and depict a wide variety of things—family sigils, woodland scenes and so on. Some have been defaced of slashed. Behind one hides several small holes bored through the wall. These holes form part of a secret door. Behind the door lies the vampire’s spare coffin—somewhere he can retreat to in extremis.
  5. A black book stands on an ornate desk along with a fine quill and pot of ink. The book lists all the vampire’s victims in chronological order and provides details of how he stalked and killed his prey. The vampire also lists the quality of each victim’s blood.
  6. The vampire’s coffin stands amid a virtual sea of broken, bloodless bodies. Cadavers lie strewn around the room and dried gore and viscera splatter the walls. The smell in this chamber is nauseating.
  7. The decomposing bodies of several people are pinned to the far wall by spears thrust through their chests. Additionally, each has a wooden stake driven through their mouth. By their garb, these unfortunates were clearly once adventurers. Of their valuable gear, nothing is to be found.
  8. The floor is rough and pitted as if scoured by acid or other strong chemical. A slight acidic smells lingers in the air.
  9. A portrait of the vampire—painted when he was yet alive—hangs on a nearby wall. The portrait depicts the vampire smiling broadly against a dramatic horizons of jagged mountains caught in rays of sunlight slanting down from above.
  10. Free hanging curtains—like those surrounding a four-poster bed—screen the vampire’s coffin from casual view. The curtains are old, dusty and depict a woodland scene.
  11. A set of bookshelves line one wall. They hold no books, but rather display a number of grizzly trophies taken from the bloodless corpses of the vampire’s victims. The items include a child’s rattle, a lace bonnet, a finely crafted but broken masterwork dagger and a blood-stained holy symbol of a local, good-aligned deity.
  12. An ornate wardrobe of dark-stained wood holds several changes of clothes suitable for the vampire’s daytime persona. All are spotlessly clean.
  13. A large chest holds an array of clothing. All are dark hued and well suited to blending into the shadows. Perceptive explorers spot specks of blood on several articles of clothing.
  14. A smashed mirror with an ornate, antique frame hangs from one wall. The shards of glass lie on the floor where they fell.
  15. Wrought iron torch sconces hang at regular intervals from the walls. Each has a fresh torch; it is obvious none have ever been lit.
  16. The ceiling depicts an amazing detailed painting of a clear, blue sky complete with several small clouds and a blazingly brilliant sun. Several glass chandeliers festooned with candles hang down from the ceiling.
  17. A row of heavy iron manacles is set into one wall. None of the four sets is currently occupied, but specks of dried blood cover the surrounding walls and floor.
  18. Several chests stand against one wall. They contain various jars and bottles each filled with blood. A nearby occasional table holds four crystal wine glasses. Paranoid PCs may wonder why the vampire needs four glasses…
  19. A wall of iron bars divides the chamber in half. The vampire’s coffin lies beyond the wall.
  20. This stone sarcophagus is a trap. A permanent illusion of the vampire slumbering fills the interior and conceals the presence of a large amount of green slime. Any adventurer staking the vampire inadvertently thrusts his arms into the slime—with potentially disastrous consequences.

GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing

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