20 Dungeon Corridors

Many corridors are featureless areas of little or no interest. Other times, a corridor serves as the location of a random encounter or the scene of a trap.

Artwork by Claudio Pozas, copyright Expeditious Retreat Press, used with permission.

 

I’ve talked before about the illusion of detail in a dungeon. Descriptions of empty areas go a long way toward bringing a dungeon to life and to setting the physical scene for the players. These are good things.

Use the corridor descriptions below to flesh out your dungeon. (Check out some sample room descriptions here). Remember to modify them to suit the dungeon the PCs are exploring. Much of the descriptions below are designed to be read aloud to the players. Information inside brackets can be gleaned through investigation.

  1. A noticeable groove in the floor—perhaps worn by the tread of countless feet—runs down the centre of this ten-foot wide corridor. Without deviation, it leads directly away from the party.
  2. Water oozes down one wall before betraying a slight gradient and flowing away down the corridor. The floor is slick and wet and tracking through the area is all but impossible. Beyond rendering the floor slippery, the sheet of water isn’t deep enough to hinder explorers’ progress.
  3. The corridor’s ceiling is arched and about 12-foot high above the centre of the floor. Every 20-foot or so, a three-inch diameter hole pierces alternating walls. (The holes are angled downwards at about 45 degrees, well-constructed and about one-foot deep. )
  4. An archway pierces one wall of this corridor. Runes once adorned the archway, but these have been hacked and smashed and are virtually unreadable. A crudely mortared wall of mismatched stone fills the archway. The work is obviously different to the surrounding style.
  5. A heap of mouldering wood and thick rotting rope partially blocks the corridor. The wood and rope smell of mould and decay. The sodden wood looks so soft almost anyone could crush it in their hand. (The rope—while thick—breaks if used to support any weight greater than 100 lbs. There is 120 ft. of rope, but it weighs three times as much as normal.)
  6. Partway along the corridor, a steep set of steps descends for about five-feet. Fifteen-foot further on, an identical set of steps returns the corridor to its normal level. Above the sunken section, the ceiling—unworked stone—drops by a similar amount. Thus, explorers cannot see what lies beyond.
  7. A doorway pierces one wall of the corridor. The stone around the doorway is scorched and blackened. Close to the door, some of the stone even seems to have melted.
  8. The corridor doubles in width and the ceiling climbs to 15-foot high. Slender columns, carved to depict questing tentacles emerging from the floor, hold the ceiling aloft and partially obscure explorers’ vision.
  9. A plain five-foot wide shaft pierces the ceiling and floor. A strong breeze blows up the shaft, making the area of corridor in its immediate vicinity noticeably colder. (Explorers looking up or down the shaft discover it extends as far as their vision. At certain points, it seems to intersect other open spaces.)
  10. A cave-in blocks the corridor. Dust and grit covers the floor. The collapse is clearly old. Haphazardly piled stones nearby suggest someone tried to clear the blockage, but quickly gave up.
  11. Half-way down the corridor a small forest of long slender stone spikes has burst from the floor. Half the skeleton of a humanoid lies sprawled nearby. The unfortunate’s legs remain upright, impaled on several spikes.
  12. Six staggered doorways pierce the walls of this corridor. Two have closed stone doors, while the other four stand open.
  13. The bas-relief carving of a hideous, man-sized winged and be-tentacled demon leers at explorers from a plinth set in a recessed niche at the end of the corridor. Its three eyes glimmer menacingly.
  14. A stone channel cut into the floor by one wall holds sluggishly flowing water. The discoloured water carries much grit and silt, and is unlikely to be drinkable without treatment. Faded chalk writing above the stream comprises one word: “safe”.
  15. This corridor is double the width of the previous area. Bizarrely, the floor is of two heights; one five-foot above the other. A slender, unadorned stone railing separates the two sections of corridor. The ceiling is uniformly 20-foot high.
  16. A short flight of cracked, shallow steps drop the corridor level by a few feet. A broken crossbow bolt lies discarded on the bottom step.
  17. A narrow opening in one wall leads to a tight spiral staircase. (It turns twice before reaching a stone door that opens to reveal long gallery. Small cunningly hidden slits cut into the wall provide a commanding view of the corridor below.)
  18. The corridor opens into a 30-foot long, 20-foot wide space. The corridor continues onwards through an archway in the far wall. An immense iron brazier—easily five-foot wide and ten-foot tall stands in the centre of the area. The brazier has a small door on one side. Burnt and blackened bones half fill the brazier and the ceiling above is thickly blackened by soot.
  19. Niches pierce one wall of this corridor. Each holds a three-foot high plinth. Upon each plinth stands the statue of a snarling warrior holding a spear reaching out into the corridor. Each statue depicts a short, muscular reptilian humanoid with a lizard-like head. (Explorers can easily walk beneath these spears).
  20. A wide stream channel cuts the corridor in half. A gently arched stone bridge crosses the stream. The bridge has no parapet or handrail, but is only 15-foot long.

Gloamhold


This material appears in the Gloamhold Campaign Guide available from Raging Swan Press.

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