Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Never-ending stairs

Following up on my last post about stairs in the dungeon, here’s something you can add to your next dungeon.

Never-ending stairs
This staircase spirals or switchbacks over and over without ever coming to an end or another door. The longer anyone spends on the stairs, the greater the chance of encountering the following:

1. Dead body obviously violently killed (ancient bones, fresh, self)
2. Non-sequential chalk numbers written on the wall
3. Stair Stalker
4. Demon (mad, scared, desperate to escape?)
5. Vampiric Mist
6. Insect Swarm
7. Doorway (Illusionary, painted on, fake)
8. Magic Mouth (doom, hopeful beckoning, mad rambling, cries for help)
9. Light/hot air/sulfur smell/ from the depths
10. Hastily dropped and spilled pack
11. Mad/catatonic individual
12. Mummified fairy pinned to the wall
13. Voices from below
14. Sound of running footsteps coming up the stairs
15. A single organ, removed with surgical precision
16. Journal detailing the mad ramblings of someone stuck on the stairs.
17. Perfectly normal kitten/puppy
18. Broken circle of salt
19. Circle of black glass, reflective on one side, dull on the other
20. Lightless void, stairs continue on...

Inspired by SCP-087


  1. I've loved reading your thoughts on stairs. Funny how something so simple can stop and make a party think. If you consider that in real life we rarely give a moment's thought to stairs, doors, and windows. They blend into the background and we operate them on reflex.

    I once outlined an entire dungeon that took place on some vast, descending staircase that went into some foreboding pit in the ground. Small lairs, platforms, and even little side dungeons might sprout from it, but I always loved the idea of days of travel down into this unending stair, the party wondering what they might eat, where they will sleep and never knowing if their goal, if they knew what it was, was waiting down the next flight or not.

    1. I actually think about stairs a lot, since I climb a lot of them to get to work in the mornings, but yeah, they usually aren't deep thoughts. "How many more floors... ugh... why didn't I take the elevator..."

      A giant dungeon built around a staircase sounds great actually! Did you ever map it out?

  2. Love this! There are 3 elements there that I'm going to incorporate into my current game. Not saying which, in case any of my players are reading. ;)

  3. An excellent concept all around. Of course this only works on stairs going "down," I mean, who fears going up "into the light of heaven?" LOL

    Definitely going to be using this one.

    Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!

    1. I think you're right. Getting PCs to fear going up stairs would be hard... Now I've got to figure out a way to do it!

  4. This is an interesting idea. A random chance to be teleported forward or backwards of the direction of travel on the stair, or to another room/location could add to the angst.

    Can you imagine that they have decided to leave and a random teleport sends them the opposite way?


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