Skip to main content


A weathered castle, a haunted palace, an abandoned labyrinth—any of these constructions may fall into ruin. A ruin is distinct from other dungeons in that it no longer serves a particular purpose. It may be inhabited piecemeal by different groups, but no one ruler or gang controls more than a fraction of it .

Tiers. Ruins can be any tier, with older and more remote ruins tending to house stronger monsters.

Ruin Size. Each 50-foot-square node of a ruin contains either a room or passage. A small ruin is about 150 feet square (a 3 × 3 grid of nodes); a medium one is 250 feet square (a 5 × 5 grid); and a large one is 350 feet square (a 7 × 7 grid).

Marks of Decay. Uninhabited sections of ruins are covered with layers of dust and grime. Survival checks made to follow or track creatures, or to search for signs of travel through an area, are made with advantage . Furthermore, efforts to break a ruin’s furniture or doors are made with advantage.

Creating a Ruin

To generate a new map, roll on the Description table for the initial area and follow its instructions, and then do so again to see what’s past each exit, and so on. If you’re filling a pre-made map, roll on inhabitants and Contents for each location.

Ruin: Description


1 - 2

Narrow passage. Roll on Passage Contents and Exits. For passage width, roll 1d6:

1 - 2 2 1/2 ft.
3 - 6 5 ft.

2 - 7

Passage. 10 feet wide. Roll on Passage Contents and Exits.

8 Wide passage. Roll on Passage Contents and Exits. For passage width, roll 1d4:
1 15 ft.
2 - 3 20 ft.
4 30 ft.
9 - 14

Small room. Roll on Room and Chamber Contents and Exits. For room size, roll 1d4:


15 x 15 ft.


15 x 20 ft.


20 x 20 ft.

4 20 x 30 ft.
15 - 20 Large chamber. Roll on Room and Chamber Contents and Exits. For chamber size, roll 1d6:
1 30 x 30 ft.
2 30 x 40 ft.
3 - 4 40 x 40 ft.
5 40 x 50 ft.
6 50 x 50 ft.


Ruin: Passage Contents

1 - 10


11 - 14

Roll on Passage Scenery

15 - 18

Roll on Escalations

19 - 20

Roll on Obstacles


Ruin: Room and Chamber Contents

Roll 1d20 in small room, 1d20 + 2 in large chamber.

1 - 5


6 - 10 Roll on Small Room Scenery or Large
Chamber Scenery
11 - 12

Roll on Novelties

13 - 15

Roll on Obstacles

16 - 17

Roll on Discoveries

18 - 19

Roll on Escalations and on Small Room Scenery or Large Chamber Scenery


Roll on Set Pieces


Ruin: Exits

If the die roll is odd, a room’s exits are blocked by doors. Otherwise, they are open.

1 - 3

No Exits

4 - 5

One exit left

6 - 7

One exit straight

8 - 9

One exit right

10 - 11

Two exits, left and right

12 - 13

Two exits, left and straight

14 - 15

Two exits, straight and right

16 - 18

Three exits, left, straight, and right

19 - 20 Ascent or descent. Roll 1d10. Then roll again on this table for other exits.
1 - 2

Stone stairs down


Stone spiral staircase down


Trapdoor down


Ladder up or down (50 percent chance of each; 50 percent chance the ladder is broken or missing)


Stone spiral staircase up

7 Trapdoor up
8 Stairs going 1d4 levels up and 1d4 levels down.


Ruin: Novelties


A mundane object — such as a serving dish, chamber pot, or artisan’s tool — that illustrates what day-to-day life was like in the ruin


A pile of rubble where one wall has caved in. A muffled voice can be heard from under the rubble. Underneath the rubble is a mechanical bronze statue that endlessly recites poetry


A dressing room containing a shattered mirror and wardrobes filled with rotten finery. A single robe is in good shape and radiates illusion magic. While wearing it, a person is blind and deaf to the real world and sees and hears the past experiences of its original wearer, a noble or monarch. Experiences may include a flirtation at a ball, boring judgments in an audience chamber, or hunting


A cobwebbed ballroom containing ghostly illusions (or animated skeletons) of dancing couples dressed in the fashionable garb of hundreds of years ago. If you watch for some time, a dancer discovers one of her jewels is missing. The jewel is still hidden in a corner


A skull mounted on the wall like a trophy. One of the ruin’s denizens can magically see through the skull’s eyes and speak through its mouth (see Set Pieces to determine the creature)


A seemingly magnificent throne room: illusion magic hides the fact that the throne is stripped of gold, the cloth hangings and carpet are rotted, and the statues are smashed. An object takes its true form once removed from the room. The effect can be dispelled as a 4th-level spell. DC 13 Perception check: a smell of rot


Room is lit by flitting, flaming bats that shed light like torches (as bats with immunity to fire damage)


Marble room decorated with statues, gilt mirrors, and ceiling frescoes; the floor is knee-deep in slimy water


Exits are through the fanged mouths of grotesque carvings


Statues stand atop battlemented balconies


A plaque dedicated to the ruin’s founder or architect. Touching the plaque triggers a permanent magic mouth that speaks the dedication aloud


The enormous remains of what was once a titan-sized statue


Ruin: Obstacles


Lock: A lock set in the middle of a carved heraldic shield.

Key: A key with a grip like a sword pommel


Lock: A lock seized by rust; attempts to pick the lock are made with disadvantage unless it is oiled.

Key: A rusty key


Lock: A lock inscribed with a riddle.

Key: A key with a handle carved to resemble the riddle’s solution


Lock: A crescent-shaped depression in a door.

Key: A crescent-shaped necklace


A cave-in blocks the way forward. It takes several minutes of work to dig out a passage wide enough to crawl through


A crumbling wall blocks passage. DC 10 Perception check: Cracks in the wall outline a secret door with no obvious way to open it. A DC 13 Investigation check reveals the brick that must be pressed to open the door


A fresco — perhaps depicting a cloaked man opening a door, a three-headed dog, or the gate to a white-walled city — is split by a faint crack down the middle. Pushing on the fresco opens the secret door.


Against a wall is a heavy piece of furniture, such as a grandfather clock or empty bookcase. A DC 10 Perception check reveals scrapes on the floor near the furniture. Moving the furniture reveals a concealed door.


Wooden door with a bell. Unless precautions are taken, the bell rings when the door is opened, alerting creatures within 50 feet.

10 Malfunctioning machine door with a missing gear: an Engineering check is required to repair (DC 10 + dungeon level)
11 - 20 Trap based on the dungeon level: level 1–2 false hoard trap or spear trap; 3–4 false door trap or snake hatch; 5–10 ghost trap or mirror trap; 11–16 deep collapsing dungeon trap or yellow mold trap; 17–20 minotaur champion trap or rolling icosahedron trap


Ruin: Discoveries

1 - 4

Roll 1d4 on the Obstacles table. You find the key listed in that entry. Make a note of the matching lock. The next Obstacle encountered is that lock.


Harmless undead spirits, unaware of onlookers, re-enacting a scene from their lives that reveals a secret


Adventurers (entry 3 on Escalations table), looking for help defeating a dangerous threat (roll on Set Pieces)


A friendly hermit or outcast


A frieze that casts a new light on the area’s history (depicting a great cyclops or skeleton civilization, for instance)


An inanimate (or animate) skeleton wearing the signet ring of a royal house and bearing a Minor Treasure associated with the house

10 A trail of chalk marks that leads to a Treasure Hoard—or the corpse of an explorer

The inanimate skeletons of royalty and nobles lying among ruined luxury. 1d4 Minor Treasures can be found

12 Behind a locked door or trapdoor, a Treasure Hoard. The lock is guarded with a level-appropriate lock trap variant (DDG)


Ruin: Escalations

50 percent of guards possess a Minor Treasure.


Guards: patrolling on behalf of the local overlord (roll or choose from Set Pieces)

Level 1–2: cutthroat or scout with 1d4 bandits

Level 3–4: 1 or 2 ogres

Level 5–10: blackguard or cambion with 1d4 + 1 thugs

Level 11–16: 3 or 4 ettins or minotaur

Level 17–20: chain devil or ogre mage with 3 or 4 werewolves



Level 1–2: 1d4 goblins or kobolds

Level 3–4: 2 bugbears with 1d6 goblins

Level 5–10: 1 or 2 trolls

Level 11–16: 2 cyclopes or medusas

Level 17–20: minotaur champion ; 4 minotaurs


Adventurers exploring the ruins

Level 1–2: acolyte , scout , and spy

Level 3–4: druid or priest with berserker

Level 5–10: mage with 2 knights

Level 11–16: assassin with gladiator

Level 17–20: archmage with 3 veterans


Guardians: lurking

Level 1–2: 1d4 giant poisonous snakes or rust monsters

Level 3–4: 1 or 2 dire centipedes or gelatinous cubes

Level 5–10: otyugh

Level 11–16: 3 or 4 ghosts

Level 17–20: rakshasa with 1d4 weretigers


Guardians:guarding a location

Level 1–2: 1 or 2 shadows

Level 3–4: blazing black pudding

Level 5–10: 4 or 5 ghasts

Level 11–16: 3 or 4 vampire spawn

Level 17–20: wraith lord with 1 or 2 wraiths ; 3 cyclopes

6 Guardians; following instructions
Level 1–2: 1d4 flying swords or skeletons
Level 3–4: 3 or 4 animated armors or death dogs
Level 5–10: 3 walking statues ; clay guardian ; invisible stalker

Level 11–16: iron guardian ; 3 or 4 water elementals

Level 17–20: 2 giant fire elementals ; 2 shield guardians

7 - 10

Roll 1d6 on this table to determine an encounter group. The group is nearby (in the nearest unexplored room) and may be detected by tracks, nearby noises, the flickering of torches, or other signs


Ruin: Set Pieces

Set piece encounters usually feature a Treasure Hoard.


Settler’s Lair. This part of the ruin has been recently conquered by an outside group

Level 1–2: kobold broodguard with 3 or 4 kobolds ; 3 or 4 bugbears

Level 3–4: bugbear chief with 2 to 4 bugbears ; 3 azers

Level 5–10: alpha werewolf with 3 or 4 werewolves ; 3 cyclopes

Level 11–16: high priest with 2d4 priests

Level 17–20: 2 adult shadow dragons with 2d6 kobolds ; adult red dragon with 2 or 3 salamanders

Setting: A settler patrol (3 or 4 of the weakest monster) is away exploring the ruin. Once combat begins, the patrol returns within 3 rounds.


Spirits of the Past. These undead have haunted the ruins for centuries, since the days they ruled as mortals.

Level 1–2: ghast with 2 ghouls

Level 3–4: wight with 2d4 zombies

Level 5–10: skeletal warlord (DDG) with 2d6 skeletons

Level 11–16: vampire warrior with 2 or 3 vampire spawn

Level 17–20: dread knight with skeletal warlord (DDG) and 2d10 skeleton immortals (DDG); lich with demilich

Setting: The leader of the group rests in a sarcophagus. Once combat begins, it or another creature must use an action to raise the lid.


Gate. A planar rift to the hells threatens to overwhelm the area unless it is sealed

Level 1–2: imp with 1d6 lemures

Level 3–4: 2 or 3 horde demons or bearded devils

Level 5–10: cambion with 1d4 horde demons or bearded devils

Level 11–16: rakshasa with 1 or 2 night hags

Level 17–20: marilith with 2 or 3 vrocks

Setting: A planar gate pulses in a corner of the room. A creature can use an action to make an Arcana check (DC 10 + half dungeon level); three successes close the portal. Fiendish reinforcements may arrive through the portal.


Fallen Empire. An immortal ruler schemes to regain the dominion they once possessed

Level 1–2: cult fanatic or dragon cultist with 2 to 4 kobolds
Level 3–4: lamia with 3 or 4 jackalweres
Level 5–10: spirit naga with 1d4 giant constrictor snakes
Level 11–16: deva or forgotten god with archpriest and 1d4 priests ; planetar with 2 to 4 couatls
Level 17–20: empyrean with 2 fomorians
Setting: While sitting on their throne, the leader can cast sanctuary with a spell save DC of 10 + the dungeon’s level and a recharge of 5–6.
5 A sphinx or similar creature provides aid and oracular wisdom to the worthy.
6 Treasure Hoard guarded by an elite trap such as a collapsing dungeon or ghost trap .


Ruin: Minor Treasure



Glowing, shattered mirror (if repaired for 25,000 gp, acts as a crystal ball )


Deed of land ownership—and possibly of nobility


Spell scroll containing a spell appropriate to the area’s tier (tier 0: cantrip or level 1 spell, tier 1: level 2–3 spell, tier 2: level 4–5 spell, tier 3: level 6–7, tier 4: level 8–9)

4 - 6

Cache of ancient coins worth an amount appropriate to the tier (tier 0: 20 ep, tier 1: 100 gp, tier 2: 500 gp, tier 3: 1,000 pp, tier 4: 10,000 pp)

7 1d6 vials. Roll 1d6: 1–3 potions of healing , 5–6 potions of poison
8 Necklace, crown, or other jewelry, worth an amount appropriate to the tier (tier 0: 25 gp, tier 1: 75 gp, tier 2: 750 gp, tier 3: 2,500 gp, tier 4: 25,000 gp)
9 In a dusty, cracked vase, flowers that look freshly cut. The vase is filled with a potion that prevents its drinker from aging for 10 years
10 Half of a crystal; when reunited with its other half, the crystal displays a message from the past
11 Pottery shards or clay statues of interest to scholars but otherwise worthless (tier 0: 10 gp, tier 1: 50 gp, tier 2: 200 gp, tier 3: 500 gp, tier 4: 5,000 gp)
12 An ancient battleaxe. The wooden shaft disintegrates when touched, but its adamantine head can be affixed to a new one


Ruin: Treasure Hoards

Dungeon Level 1–2

Valuables: 1d4 × 100 gp worth of copper, silver, or gold coins, or a gold idol worth the same amount

Magic (30 percent chance): immovable rod or wand of secrets

Dungeon Level 3–4

Valuables: 2d4 gp worth of silver, electrum, and gold coins or art objects

Magic (40 percent chance): handy haversack or ring of protection

Dungeon Level 5–10

Valuables: 1d6 × 1,000 gp worth of gold and platinum coins or gems

Magic (50 percent chance): +1 armor or boots of speed

Dungeon Level 11–16

Valuables: 1d4 × 10,000 gp worth of platinum coins or jewelry

Magic (60 percent chance): belt of dwarvenkind or flame tongue

Dungeon Level 17–20

Valuables: 1d4 × 100,000 gp worth of coins of all denominations, gems, jewelry, and artworks, piled in heaps

Magic (70 percent chance): Ioun stone of mastery or ring of three wishes


Ruin: Passage Scenery


Dusty suits of armor stand against a wall


The area is charred as if by a long-past fire

3 Worm-eaten tapestries depicting the interests of the ruin’s original inhabitants

Brackets hold the stubs of burnt-down torches


An arrow drawn on the wall in chalk


A cracked wall or ceiling; a DC 18 Strength check could smash it, filling the corridor with rubble and perhaps opening another passage


A door ripped off its hinges


A fresco depicting an ancient ruler on a throne or in battle

9 Toppled statues make the area difficult terrain
10 Niches in the wall hold inanimate skeletons. 50 percent chance of a Minor Treasure
11 The cracks between the stones are green with mold
12 Fragments of old bones litter the floor


Ruin: Small Room Scenery



A chamber that’s empty of furniture but hung with rotting paintings and tapestries. A chandelier lies smashed on the ground


An armory containing rotted bows and arrows. 30 percent chance of a dozen +1 arrows, a javelin of lightning , or similar magic item, in noticeably better condition than the other weapons


A musty dining room with rotted food on dusty plates


Cramped sleeping quarters for soldiers or servants; bunk beds line the walls. The beds are stuffed with moldy straw

5 - 6

A once luxurious bedroom with rotting bed covers, broken chests, and wardrobes filled with moth-eaten finery


A cold, dark bedchamber: the bed’s sheets are bloodstained, and there is no fireplace or lighting


A dusty, untended shrine

9 - 10

A kitchen covered in spiderwebs. 50 percent chance of a locked cabinet containing vintage wines worth several hundred gold pieces


A store room containing crates of rusty tools and weapons


An empty prison containing shackles and torture implements


A workshop with ruined clocks of all sizes


A forge with stacks of rusty swords

15 Ranks of inanimate skeletons lie on bunks with rotting mattresses
16 A chapel to a death god
17 Sarcophagi, their lids carved to resemble armored knights
18 The cracks between the stones are green with mold
19 A campsite left by a group of previous adventurers; 50 percent chance of a Minor Treasure or half-completed map of the ruins
20 A trap that was triggered long ago but is now harmless


Ruin: Large Chamber Scenery



Stone benches, a defunct fountain, and smashed marble statues


A once beautiful throne room: the doors have been stripped of their gold inlays, statues are missing from pedestals, the fresco on the ceiling is faded and cracked, and the throne is marked with cavities where gems have been pried out

3 - 4

A columned audience chamber lined with defaced statues

5 - 6

A ruined banquet hall: long tables are broken, chairs are overturned or smashed, and shards of dusty glass litter the floor


A fire-blackened mess hall filled with tables and benches that crumble if any weight is placed on them


A store room containing paintings, statues, and furniture draped with dusty drop cloths


A library of scrolls that crumble when unrolled


A crypt containing 1d4 empty sarcophagi, their lids smashed

11 - 12

The ceiling on one side of the room has collapsed, creating an area of difficult terrain


A laboratory with a stitched-together corpse bound with electrum chains. A notebook describes repeated failed attempts to create a flesh golem


The cracks between the stones are green with mold

15 A ballroom in which every surface is carved with elaborate curlicues inlaid with gold. There is a raised stage in one corner
16 A chamber carpeted with bone fragments
17 A portrait gallery lined with aged and sinisterlooking painting
18 A chamber dedicated to some sport: a bowling alley, indoor pool, or wrestling arena
19 Water drips from the ceiling, puddling in small pools across the floor
20 Echoes in the chamber are accompanied by ghostly wails or whispers