They are the corpses of society, one-time homes, shops, and warehouses abandoned by their tenants and left to slowly crumble into ruin. The smallest villages and the largest cities have them. Abandoned buildings follow in civilization’s wake as surely as devastation follows a marauding army.
Though they share decrepitude and dilapidation, abandoned buildings do not necessarily share their contents. This article presents 100 ideas for what might lurk within that sagging riverfront warehouse, the boarded up orphanage, or the sinister mansion on the hill.
d% Roll | Abandoned Building Contents
01 A chalk outline of a human on the wall bears knife marks centered on vital areas.
02 A pair of lost travelers use this place as shelter during their journey.
03 Starry-eyed runaways heading for the big city have taken shelter here.
04 Carvings on the walls indicate this was once a trysting place for young lovers.
05 This former tavern seems to have been recently used by bandits, but is now empty.
06 A group of young adventurers camp in this old tavern; they’ve found a keg of ale and are getting quite drunk.
07 This one-time bakery is abandoned, but tiny clawed footprints are visible in freshly-spilled flour on the floor.
08 Someone recently lit a fire in a par tially crumbled fireplace here, using the bodies of rats for fuel,
09 Adark corner hides a trapdoor that leads to acrawlspace below; it sounds occupied.
10 A mute dwarf hides in the remains of the building’s fireplace, a spoon clutched in his hand.
11 Asurly drunk sleeps off his latest binge in this building’s central room.
12 A huge sailing boat has been built in this warehouse; the boat looks to be seaworthy.
13 A former bordello, this building is now the home of a large pack of feral dogs.
14 Anunattended homemade shrine to Hextor squats in the corner of one room.
15 A corpse draped in ruined leather armor lies half-buried under a partially collapsed stairwell.
16 Several corpses hang from the rafters by their ankles, their bodies drained of blood but bearing no obvious wounds,
17 A fresh corpse hangs bya noose from the rafters; the body is still swaying slightly.
18 A hole in the roof leads to a narrow ledge supplied with thieving tools and a dagger.
19 The doors and windows of this building may be boarded up, but a thick plume of smoke escapes from the single chimney.
20 A parchment with a drawing of a skull is nailed to the front door—a sign of plague (actually a forgery).
21 A collection of skulls line what were once bookshelves, and a street urchin claims the place belongs to him.
22 This stone building is fitted with wooden catwalks throughout, several of which are rigged to collapse if weight is placed upon them.
23 Apile of ten leather pouches, each bummed witha different symbol, lies on a window sill; each pouch contains 1d4 sp.
24 The walls between this building and the next are missing, transforming the place into one huge open space.
25 A beggar pops up from a trapdoor in the floor and is startled to find visitors in the building.
26 This former tavern now serves as the home of a starving family.
27 A former candle shop, this building is now home to orphaned twins.
28 A teenaged thief cares for his three younger siblings here.
29 A group of vigilantes meets here nightly,
30 The root cellar contains a cramped tunnel that leads to an alley a few blocks away.
31 Dirty old blankets conceal a tunnel entrance that leads outside the city walls.
32 ‘Three to six inches of water cover the ground floor atop a completely Hooded cellar.
33 Barrels of rainwater fill this place, top to bottom.
34 Broken glass covers the floor of this building, far more than can be accounted for by the structure’s broken windows.
35 A rag doll and a small blanket sit on the floor of the largest room in this building,
36 A group of five lepers lives here.
37 Three runaways from abusive parents hide out here.
38 The cellar of this home houses a laboratory for making poison.
39 This former home has been gutted by fire.
40 A lame blind woman lives here; urchins bring her food and she heals their wounds,
41 Mold of dozens of different colors and types grows everywhere in this former bakery.
42 This place shows signs of recent repairs,
43 A suicide pact has taken place here; the bodies are still warm.
44 This former home is gutted; a single beam holds the roof up and the floor is covered with spikes.
45 A beggar woman is giving birth here, alone.
46 Ornate carvings cover the beams and doors of this building.
47 A mad beggar has captured a bunch of rats here and claims he’s their king.
48, Awild animal is kept cagedin the basement.
49 A humanoid child hides in a closet, claiming a “beetle-man'” chased her into the building.
50 Many bundles of herbs and dried flowers hang from the rafters.
51 The first floor has caved in, exposing a web-clogged root cellar below.
52 Large centipedes have taken up residence in this former orphanage.
53 The former home of a shut-in dwarf, the ground floor has stone furniture.
54 Only the outer shell of this home remains; the area is open from the basement to the sky above.
55 A family lives here; they rent from a man who doesn’t own the building
56 A collection of scalps hangs by the hair on nails over the fireplace mantle.
57 A large crow keeps a nest here; a few shiny trinkets glint in its nest.
58 Scavengers have torn out much of the wood in the back wall for firewood.
59 Although human-sized from the outside, the interior of this abandoned house has been rebuilt to be sized for a halfling.
60 A corpse dressed in silk robes clutches half a treasure map in her hand.
61 The floors of this building are rotted and won’t support more than 50 pounds before collapsing.
62 A former potter’s home, clumps of clay and broken pottery shards litter this place.
63 A huge broken loom dominates the living area; someone has been trying to use it
64 The windows and doors of this former smithy are all oversized; only the anvil and forge remain within.
65 Some of the bones under the shelves in this former butcher’s shop look humanoid.
66 The one-time home of a miser, all of the floorboards and walls have been torn apart by looters.
67 A small group of children have claimed this building as heir hideout; toys lie scattered about everywhere.
68 A young fugitive wizard hides here; she uses her abilities to steal food and
scare away intruders.
69 The entrances to this building are guarded by traps that hurl rotten eggs at intruders; a small pile of rotten egg ammo sits in a wooden box
70 This ruin was a church dedicated to Pelor before it was abandoned.
71 Unwelcome at the nearest inn, a barbarian chose this abandoned home as a place to spend the night.
72 A group of pigeons has taken resi dence here; judging by the small pile of bones in a corner, someone is catching and eating them.
73 A tall thin man waits here with a sack of 30 silver coins; he flees at the first chance.
74 A kidnapper and his dog are holed up here with a victim: the young son of a wealthy local merchant
75 A young woman hiding out to avoid an arranged marriage has made this place her home.
76 A pair of poor newlyweds have relocated here until they find jobs and a better place to live.
77 A young wizard collects guano from the floor; he waves intruders away impatiently as the bats above become agitated.
78 This place houses a large table etched with a pentagram at its center; skeletons in rich robes and holding iron goblets sit in chairs around the table.
79 The locals believe this place is haunted; it is in fact situated such that the prevailing wind blows through the poor workman: ship and creates a howling noi
80 A collection of bloody chains and manacles hangs from nails in the rafters.
81 A prostitute entertains a famous client here.
82 This place looks lived in; a dog sleeping on a palletis in fact a polymorphed gnome.
83 This former weapon shop hides an old mold for casting archaic blades,
84 Old protection runes are carved into the mantle of the fireplace here.
85 A secret door in the floor of this former home leads to a basement still that produces dangerous liquor.
86 A wanted criminal hides out here, waiting for the heat to die down.
87 A scrawny child hides from bullies in this shop; he may be asleep.
88 An invisible chest inside the kitchen fireplace contains some childish charcoal sketches and a small sooty blanket.
89 Words written in blood on the wall here mark the building as a new murder site for a notorious villain thought long dead or captured.
90 Several people lie on the floor, bound and gagged.
91 Urban fey have made this place their secret playground,
92 A cursed book sits on a stone table; touching the book triggers the curse.
93 A flying familiar spies on those who enter the building, watching them from a hole in the roof.
94 A ruined pentagram is etched into the floor of this one-room building; a heavy fluttering can be heard in the attic above.
95 A strange chill fills this whole building, especially the cellar, which is rimed with frost.
96 This house is littered with dozens of poison needle traps,
97 Several magical traps (many still active) can be found in this building.
98 Twoanimated skeletons, their bones carved with runes, guard this emply building.
99 The interior of this structure is humid, hot, and filled with tropical plants transplanted here by an insane druid,
100 The former resident’s angry spirit haunts this place.
By Dawn Ibach
Illustrations by Attila Adorjany