20 Things to Find in an Abandoned Mine

Many races delve deep below the earth in search for precious metals and gems, and adventurers often explore such places in search of treasure and to stamp out monstrous infestations commonly found therein.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Use this table, to generate minor points of interest for PCs to discover in an abandoned mine:

  1. The haft of a pickaxe lies in the floor. Nearby, the rest of it is embedded in a wall.
  2. A bucket filled with rubble stands against one wall. Stuffed between it and the wall is a shard of seemingly unremarkable rock wrapped in a dirty sack.
  3. An (inanimate) skeletal arm clad in rags emerges from a caved in section of tunnel.
  4. At this point in the tunnel, a mine cart lies on its side. It partially blocks the tunnel and rubble lies all about.
  5. Water drips down from the ceiling forming a small pool on the floor.
  6. One of the wooden roof supports has collapsed and fallen to the ground. Ominously, a small pile of rubble lies around the fallen support perhaps hints the roof is unstable.
  7. An iron bar gate blocks off access to a side tunnel. The gate is old and its lock is rusted into immobility. Beyond the passageway extends 10 ft., before turning away to the east.
  8. Minerals in the tunnel’s walls glimmer in the party’s lights. They are worthless, but pretty nonetheless.
  9. A sinkhole pierces the passage’s floor blocking further progress. The sinkhole is 5 ft. wide and 120 ft. deep. Danger lurks here for the far side of the sinkhole is unstable; anyone jumping across and landing within 5 ft of the edge causes an additional collapse, which drops unfortunate adventurers into the lightless depths below.
  10. Phosperescent mould grows along one wall and part of the ceiling. The mould is green and harmless. Observant adventurers notice it seems to undulate gently. (Its thick growth obscures several small worked holes in the wall that lead to an air shaft).
  11. A barrel full of rusting mining equipment—picks, spades etc.—stands in an alcove. The equipment is worthless, and rapidly falls apart if put to its intended use.
  12. A shaft pierces the ceiling. It extends upward linking up with an upper level. A faint cold breeze issues from the shaft and—occasionally—strange sounds are also discernable.
  13. From somewhere far away comes the sounds of miners at work. Later, the party come across an area of tunnel in which the air is full of rock dust. Of the miners, there is no sign.
  14. A rotting chest stands in an alcove. Within linger the remains of rations and several desiccated water flasks.
  15. The skeletal remains of a pony lie in front of an overturned mine cart. The cart partially blocks the passageway and examination of the skeleton reveals the animal likely broke a leg and was left here to die.
  16. Deep cracks pierce the ceiling of a large section of tunnel. As the PCs approach the area, the rocks groan alarmingly and dust sifts down from above.
  17. Thick spider webs cover the entrance to a side tunnel. A faint, but unpleasant, smell emerges from the tunnel. The spider is long dead, but the desiccated remains of its victims yet remain.
  18. A ripped and torn backpack lies in the deep dust covering the floor. Dried blood covers the back portion of the pack (which is empty).
  19. Here, the miners carved several niches in the tunnel wall and filled them with candles and votive offerings to the various gods of the underworld. All are covered in dust but, along with many partially burnt candles, looters can recover 15 gp in old mixed coinage.
  20. Up head, the tunnel splits in two and goes around a large column of tremendously dense rock. A whitewashed arrow points down one tunnel.

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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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