Mini-Encounter: The Door of Places

You’re in a cavern deep underground. Your dim torchlight reveals a heavy stone door tucked away in the corner, the surface covered with centuries of cobwebs and dust. It resists all physical attempts to smash it apart or wrench it open. The only other exits are the way you came and some kind of grille in the centre of the cavern floor.

Embossed on the front of the door in time-dulled silver are the names of six ancient cities. It looks like each letter could be pressed:

(Umberto, Nyeprop, Lyasene, Olmason, Cthulem and Khimine).
(Umberto, Nyeprop, Lyasene, Olmason, Cthulem and Khimine).


  • Where is this ancient deep? Is it a tomb, a mine or some unknown cave system?
  • What are you here to claim?
  • The language on the door isn’t common, dwarvish or elvish. What is it? How did you come to learn it?
  • What lies beyond the door?
  • Which one of you lost their way once getting here? What did the group lose because of it? (Whoever answers mark XP.)
  • Who is a native of one of the cities named? What’s it like?
  • Which of the cities no longer exists? Why not?
  • And, as always, What do you do?

If the players press the first button of each city (“unlock”) the grille in the centre of the cavern is unlocked, releasing it’s captive – a great worm!

If the players press the last button of each city (“open me”) the door opens with a blast of stale air, staying open for about a minute. Play to find out what happens next…

Want to use this in your own games?

Go for it! Here’s the PDF for easy reference. If you’ve enjoyed reading or playing and want to help me make more, why not take a look at my Patreon campaign?

(Font used is Rodgauer by Manfred Klein.)

Shadows of Umberto

Buy a copy from DriveThruRPG

The sand billows about you, obscuring the old road and making your eyes water. Ahead, the silhouette of the “fortunate city” looms. What will this venerable capital contain for you and your party – riches, fame and glory? Or corruption, scandal and death far from your home?

Shadows of Umberto is a framework for running Dungeon World adventures within, above, below and beyond an ancient city teetering on the brink of revolution. Will your party be heralds to a glorious new order, or help usher in the city’s demise? One way to find out…

  • A wealth of information on the city of Umberto: it’s history, it’s peoples, what’s on offer, and who’s likely to want you dead.
  • A introductory letter to get new campaigns started
  • Three interlocking fronts, each representing a different faction striving to crush or conquer Umberto. Who will come out on top, and will the players be around to see it? PLUS: Two ‘encounter’ fronts, covering what might happen after your grim portents come to pass!
  • New named hirelings, including – Milena, a magus with ambition; Hakiki an old crone who may be too helpful; and introducing your new best friend, Woof the dog!
  • All the things you’ve come to expect from a classy Dungeon World adventure: new magic items, custom moves, monsters, and more!
  • Two high-quality maps for your table: the city plan and the Iron Marches