20 Things to Find on a Guardroom Table

During the course of their adventuring careers, most adventurers break into innumerable guardrooms and put the occupants to the sword.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


These guards don’t just sit around doing nothing while waiting to be slaughtered; they eat and drink, gamble and engage in a wide range of activities during their shifts. To portray this, use the table below to breath life into the guardrooms in your campaign and to give depth to the faceless minions falling before the party’s might.

  1. The guards were in the middle of a simple meal of hard cheese, sour red wine and several haunches of lamb. The remains—along with their plates and pewter flagons stand upon the table.
  2. The guards are in the middle of a dice-based gambling game. Roughly a quarter of their listed wealth is scattered about the table in various piles.
  3. Crude graffiti—carved into the table top with a knife—depict various stickmen (and women) in a variety of lewd poses.
  4. A dark stain that could be blood, but is actually spilled red wine, mars the table top.
  5. One of the guards was engaged in mending a pair of boots when the party burst in; the boots along with needle and thread lie on the table.
  6. Pewter goblets and a half-empty jack of wine stand on the table.
  7. A sharp dagger, a pile of wood shavings and a partially carved chunk of wood lie on the table. The carving is crude and unfinished; it might represent a bird, but then again it might not.
  8. Several whetstones, along with six blunt daggers all in the process of being sharpened lie on the table amid the ruin of a simple meal of bread, cheese and dried meat.
  9. A half dozen pewter goblets along with three empty wineskins lie scattered about the table.
  10. A small chest stands under the table. It contains plates, bowls and cups along with a supply of candles and a flint and steel.
  11. A crudely wrought birdcage stands in the exact centre of the table. A rather drab and miserable-looking bird is perched within.
  12. Four cages each containing a half-starved rat stand near each other on the table. The rats are agitated and hungry and are used for impromptu fights. Nearby stands a much larger cage used for the actual fights. Dried blood covers some of its bars.
  13. A dirty and faded black tablecloth covers the table. The cloth hangs down almost to the ground and obscures sight of what lurks beneath. After the battle is won, PCs checking under the tablecloth discover a hiding child (the child of one of the assumably slain guards). This might present a tricky moral dilemma for the PCs.
  14. One of the guards is a skilled artist and is drawing an exquisite picture of a prominent nearby landmark on the wall near the table. The chalk image is unfinished and a small box of materials stands on the table.
  15. One of the guards is learning to write. A small chalkboard and several nubs of chalk lies on the table. The writing on the chalkboard could be charitably described as child-like.
  16. A small basket covered with a cloth stands upon the table. Within, can be found a hard cheese, some almost stale bread and a flask of sour wine.
  17. Two of the guards were engaged in a game of draughts. A crude board, surrounded by pieces stands upon the table (as do several partly empty wine flagons).
  18. When interrupted, the guards were in the middle of a card-based gambling game. The cards—and a quarter of their listed treasure—lies on the table.
  19. A jumbled mass of mundane equipment covers the table. The guards are sorting through the possessions of the last folk to stumble into the dungeon and were arguing about who gets to keep what, when they were interrupted.
  20. A burning brazier stands upon the table over which the guards were roasting small, unidentifiable pieces of meat.

GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing

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7 thoughts on “20 Things to Find on a Guardroom Table

  1. There is a rota on the table, with notes describing days off to be with family. One guard’s birthday is marked for tomorrow, and the name of a tavern is written below the date. A locked box under the table has partitions for each guard – their names are written on the inside of “their compartment” – and a few personal items are in each section: a few coins, a locket or medallion containing a drawing of a loved one, a small token embroidery square. These guards were ordinary people doing a job for someone the PCs felt was despicable. But they themselves were standard citizens who believed the political rhetoric of “their leader,” and acted as that leader asked.

    • Nice, Stephen. I love adding the moral, personal touch to my games. Showing that guards aren’t just unthinking minions is a great way of doing that.

      Thanks for the added listing!

  2. Where is the guard that has taken an interest in music? One that plays an instrument, or writes a musical composition? Any of them cartographers? And the ones that read or write?

  3. A circular target is tied in front of a small bale of hay on one wall. It has a multitude of holes in it and half the daggers the men have in their equipment list are in and around the target. At least one is blunted from impact with the wall.

  4. 21. When interrupted, the guards were in the middle of some sort of a dice-based role-playing game. Several polyhedral dice and whittled humanoid tokens rest atop a large, crudely drawn map on parchment on top of the table. ;D