20 Things to Find on an Evil Altar

It seems, adventurers are always invading fanes dedicated to evil powers, slaying their priests and looting their valuables.

By Matt Morrow

By Matt Morrow


Priest worshiping evil powers perpatrate unspeakable, terrible acts upon their altars. The altars are the centrepiece of their foul rituals and such places are rarely without ornamentation or implementation. Use the table below, to add items of interest to the evil altars in your campaign:

  1. A curved bronze knife encrusted with dried blood lies next to a beaten copper bowl similarly covered in blood.
  2. A black velvet cloth covers the altar. Atop it, a polished skull, fashioned into a drinking cup, stands on a small beaten silver tray along with a stoppered clay flask decorated with lewd images of demons cavorting with humans.
  3. A small silver tripod holding a stone bowl along with several pots containing foul-smelling herbs have been neatly arranged on the altar.
  4. Dried blood has stained this stone altar a foul browny/black colour. The surrounding floor is similarly stained.
  5. A three-pronged candlestick filled with red-hued candles stands in the exact centre of the altar. The candlestick is designed to look like a pair of lovers entwined in the midsts of a particularly lewd act.
  6. A wide oval bowl set atop the altar contains several rotting and shrivelled hearts.
  7. A low pile of skulls—all bearing the signs of violence—covers the altar top. Emerging from the centre of the pile is a single thick blood-red candle.
  8. A thin book—covered in some sort of aged leather—lies on the altar. It is kept shut by a ribbon woven from long, golden hair. The ribbon is frayed and speckled with dried blood.
  9. The shattered shards of a mirror—laid out in a rough approximation of how the mirror would have looked when whole—lies on the altar. One large part of broken glass is conspicuously absent. The glass of the shards present seems suspiciously clouded in places as if the mirror has trapped the image of the last thing reflected on its surface.
  10. A single, foul-smelling burning candle stands atop the altar in the centre of a pool of wax that almost covers the altar top. The candle’s flame dances wildly, as if caught in a strong wind, but no wind is present in the chapel.
  11. Channels cut in the altar top lead to a central depression with a small hole at the centre. Clumps of dried blood fill the channels and central depression. A small knife, point towards the depression, lies at the head of the altar.
  12. A thick tapestry covers the altar. The tapestry depicts angels being slain by a rampaging balor wielding a huge sword wreathed in dark energy. The tapestry is obviously old, but is in good condition.
  13. A battered helmet, the stump of a broken horn and a bent holy symbol crafted from blackest obsidian lie on a scarlet velvet pillow.
  14. A set of five matching daggers are laid out on the altar. Each of the daggers has an oversized, two-handed handle and flecks of ruby set its its pommel. Each also has a litany to some dark power etched in Abyssal runes along the blade.
  15. A scythe lies on the altar. Dried blood covers its blade, and wisps of blond hair are stuck in the blood.
  16. Niches—seven in total—have been carved into the altar’s surface. A polished skull—its top removed—fills each niche. A different type of incense fills each skull.
  17. The slashed and bloody tabard of a servant of good—decorated with the wearer’s patron’s symbol—lies on the altar. The tabard conceals other trophies including a partially melted silver holy symbol, a battered mace head and the bones of a severed hand.
  18. A skull stands at each corner of the altar. A dagger has been rammed through the top of each skull, and tied to their hilts are red, scarlet and purple streamers.
  19. The altar is riven with a multitude of cracks. Bent and hammered coins—silver, gold and platinum—have been forced into the cracks—perhaps as offerings…
  20. A low “fence” of leg and rib bones surrounds the altar. The altar itself comprises a great mass of bones glued together in some unspeakable fashion. Three great horns emerge from the mass of bones; from each hang small banners depicting the symbols of various evil powers.

GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing

If you enjoy the table above and like dungeon dressing, check out GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing. Crammed with over 300 pages of information and charts designed to bring your dungeon alive, GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing is an essential part of any GM’s arsenel.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 thoughts on “20 Things to Find on an Evil Altar