Campaign Events: Prison Break

Prison breaks provide almost limitless opportunities for adventure. However, few adventures feature prison breaks because they are problematic to flesh out. Designing all the prisoners and the guards and the many minor events the PCs witness would take more time to prepare than even the most diligent GM has at his disposal. That’s where Campaign Events: Prison Break comes in. Presenting copious notes on the prisoners themselves as well as minor events and dressing along with hooks, opportunities and complications it takes the hassle out of running a prison break and lets the GM concentrate on the important details of the campaign!

By Maciej Zagorski

By Maciej Zagorski

Prison Dressing

  1. Rust corrodes the door hinges, causing a brittle shriek when the door opens and closes.
  2. Tally marks are chipped into a cell’s corner wall.
  3. Manacles dangle from the wall, their ridges darkened with dried blood.
  4. A sconce stands empty, the wall smeared with ash near where the torch previously burned.
  5. A dented tin tray with an overturned bowl lies near a cell door. Any food it may have contained has been picked clean.
  6. A dull buzz emanates from a small cloud of insects, which swarm around a pool of tepid water at the end of the corridor.
  7. Tattered parchments with charcoal sketches of morose faces lie scattered across a table. Beneath each face is a six-digit number.
  8. Two tarnished chains suspend the ends of a cell cot. One of the links has split, threatening to drop its end to the floor.
  9. Tiny mice scurry through the corridors, escaping into narrow holes in the walls and floors.
  10. A fire pit smoulders in the centre of the room, its fumes rank from the dung used for fuel.
  11. A dusty ring encircles the inner courtyard, with hundreds of footprints stamped into the soil.
  12. A large fire blazes, illuminating the whole area.
  13. Greasy fingerprints stain a cell’s otherwise polished iron bars.
  14. A door opens into a vast pit, illuminated only by a fist-sized opening in the far wall near the ceiling. A rolled-up rope ladder lies nearby.
  15. Coils of hemp rope and piles of dirty burlap sacks stand atop a long oak table. Some of the ropes have nooses at their ends.
  16. A barely-perceptible crack runs along the entire perimeter of one brick in a cell wall. The stone juts out just enough to be gripped and removed.
  17. Scraps of burlap lie stacked beneath a cell cot, each bearing hastily scrawled memos written with different improvised inks.
  18. One cell has a faded wool blanket, its edges frayed and its centre ripped.
  19. A dirty iron grate, partially clogged with grime, covers a drain in the middle of the hallway.
  20. Profane symbols cover the walls at major intersections. There is evidence of trying to scrub them off, but the images remain.

Minor Events

  1. A trio of guard dogs bark wildly whenever something passes close by.
  2. A guard peers into a cell and counts its occupants.
  3. A team of prisoners silently scrub the mess hall floors, overseen by a guard with a sap.
  4. A crowd of inmates walk in a circle around the courtyard, rebuked by guards when they talk.
  5. Two prisoners make a subtle exchange of goods, disguised as an embrace.
  6. A guard patrols the ramparts of the outer walls, using a bullseye lantern as a spotlight.
  7. An inmate suffers a momentary psychotic break, crying and lashing out before being restrained.
  8. A group of stocky inmates encircle another, smaller prisoner in a threatening manner.
  9. A prisoner taps a rhythm on the side of his cot.
  10. Wind rushes over the prison, blowing out lights and sending a chill through the complex.
  11. The crack of a whip sounds from behind a door, followed by an agonized cry.
  12. A trio of prisoners laugh loudly amongst themselves, while others cast them dark looks.
  13. A group of chained prisoners pile work tools into a heavily guarded, pony-drawn cart.
  14. Two cell mates practice boxing, one holding up a lumpy pillow as a bag for the other to strike.
  15. A small group of inmates crowd together to watch a mouse that has been taught to do tricks.
  16. A prison volunteer wheels a cart of hot food around the cells, accompanied by four guards.
  17. A recognizable noble pays a visit to his incarcerated friend.
  18. Two guards speak to a well-dressed man in hushed voices.
  19. A shriek from an unknown source echoes through the prison.
  20. Six inmates’ corpses are piled onto a cart and wheeled off the premises.


A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Christopher Wasko

Released 21 March 2016; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) d20pfsrd, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23 or sign up to Raging Swan’s Patreon campaign before 17 March and get it for $2!

Download a Free Sample Prison Break Sample


CE_Prison_Cover_220A System Neutral Edition GM’s Resource by Christopher Wasko

Released 21 March 2016; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

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