20 Things to Find in an Abandoned Building

Adventurers often seem to explore abandoned buildings. Whether it be a (reputedly) haunted manor house, a peasant’s home in a ruined village or even the demesne of a mysteriously disappeared wizard such places make excellent adventure sites.

By Bradley K. McDevitt

By Bradley K. McDevitt


Use the table below, to add minor points of interest to the party’s exploration.

  1. Cobwebs—heavy with cocooned insects—fill the corners of this dank, gloomy chamber; a veil of cobwebs fills a doorway leading further into the building.
  2. Rotting, mould shrouded furniture stands against the walls of this chamber. A heavy, formal chair is particularly far gone and one leg collapses if the chair is disturbed.
  3. The shattered remains of several pewter mugs lie scattered across the floor. A dented and bent pewter plate lies against one wall. Dust covers everything.
  4. The sound of faint scrabbling comes from deeper in the building. If a PC investigates, a squirrel clutching a nut, darts out of the darkness.
  5. A mouldering brown blanket lies where it fell.
  6. A strange dark stain mars the floor of this chamber. Investigation reveals the stain is likely old, dried blood.
  7. Someone has pried up the floorboards to reveal a small space below. Nothing but cobwebs fill the niche. A faint outline in the dust hints a small box or coffer was once stored here.
  8. Black mould has grown over one wall of this room and the air is redolent with the stench of decay.
  9. Part of the wooden wall has been pried loose and the boards tossed casually aside.
  10. The roof of this chamber is partially missing and the rain has got inside. The floor is damp and several small puddles have gathered.
  11. The hinges of this door have failed and only the door jam holds it in place. If the door is opened, it collapses into the room with a loud thud.
  12. The floorboards in this chamber are rotten. They collapse if subjected to a weight of 100 lbs. or more.
  13. Someone has covered one wall in graffiti daubed in charcoal. To the untrained eye, the graffiti looks like nothing but deranged scribbling. Scholars of the occult may realise, however, the scribbles looks a little like the sigil of a certain elder, blasphemous power…
  14. A forgotten sack stands in one corner. In contains blankets and old clothes sized for a child. All are now mouldy.
  15. A pile of mouldering planks—pulled from the walls and floors—are stacked in the centre of the room.
  16. The fireplace in this room has obviously been used relatively recently. The ash within is still faintly warm and marks in the dust show where someone slept.
  17. Thick dust coats the floor of this room. Nothing—except the tracks of small insects—is visible in the dust.
  18. Small droppings—probably from rats or mice— cover the floor by one wall. Several small holes gnawed at the bottom of the wall show where the rodents probably live.
  19. Mottled green slime coats the ceiling. The slime is harmless, but paranoid adventurers may suspect otherwise.
  20. The door to the room is wedged shut. Either debris has fallen against the other side or is has swollen in place due to water damage.

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20Front_#7_220This article appears in 20 Things #7: Haunted House, 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 an Abandoned Building

  1. has anyone mentioned there are 19 items in this list of 20 things?

    probably a copy-paste issue? since i figure you probably actually wrote 20 items when you put the list together.

    hope you’re doing well, man.