Why hasn’t anybody explored this ruin?

When writing and running fantasy RPG adventures, I often find myself looking for excuses for why ancient ruins still have anything in them worth finding. For future reference (and likely to drop into Alight), here is a list I put together of 20 reasons an ancient ruin has not yet been explored (and why the PCs might be the ones to do it).

  1. Hidden beneath the earth (until unexpectedly revealed by earthquake or excavation)
  2. Force field, stasis field, or psychic deterrent (until power ran out, or countermeasures finally discovered)
  3. Invisible, intangible, destroyed, or lost in another dimsension (but just mysteriously reappeared/rematerialized)
  4. Extremely remote location (until happened upon by chance)
  5. Secret location (but the map has been found)
  6. It moves erratically (but has finally been tracked down)
  7. Sacred to a number of ancient religions (desperate to preserve it after recent signs of corruption)
  8. Very accurate legends of a contagion or curse (but means of protection finally discovered)
  9. Overrun by hostile wildlife (but signs suggest their numbers dwindling)
  10. Unbreakable seal (but the key has finally been found)
  11. The “ruin” is actually a predator that restocks itself as bait for adventures it feeds on (but no one knows that)
  12. Contains a one-way portal to another world (but no one outside knows that)
  13. Only opens once every milennium (which is now)
  14. Disguised as a statue or other structure (but an opening appeared)
  15. Sealed by decree of an immortal emperor (finally deposed)
  16. It came from space (but just crash landed here)
  17. Protected by a fearsome guardian (but no one knows, or the guardian was seen leaving)
  18. Exploration rights long held in legal limbo (but finally ready to auction off)
  19. Believed to have been plundered already (but there are rumors of yet undiscovered depths)
  20. Too vast to ever be completely explored (so there’s always something to find)

One response to “Why hasn’t anybody explored this ruin?”

  1. #9. At least I’ve always gone with that one. Possibly then population is not dwindling but the monsters within keep most people far enough away they aren’t even sure exactly where the ruins are.

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