Brick by Brick: Doors

Designer: Brian “Fitz” Fitzpatrick
Brick by Brick: Doors - CoverArt: “Wood-Carving by George Jack” (1903) (Project Gutenberg)
Page Count: 14 (plus one-page worksheet)
Release Date: November 5, 2013

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Every dungeon has doors. Each door has a story. More than that, every door offers a transition from one thing to the next. Some transitions are easy (no door at all or it’s unlocked). Some transitions are hard (locked or trapped). Some turn out to be dead ends (blocked or jammed).

Do you ever find yourself designing a dungeon or scenario and wondering what to do with the doors? Aren’t they important? Most buildings have them. Yet as a game master, except for a few special occasions, I can hardly remember spending more than a second or two on any door. If it opens, shuts, and locks, that was typically good enough for me.

But what about those cases where you want something unique but don’t have any inspiration?

That’s where Brick by Brick: Doors comes in. Whether you walk through every single step in the book or just pick one, you roll a few dice and can see where they lead you.

From beginning to end, we work through various stages or questions of design. Pick and choose which pages to use depending on what you’re after. You might go through all of them while designing a particular door for a dungeon if it’s a particularly important one, or you might just pick one or two to add a bit of color or uniqueness where you’d like it to appear.

Just remember… Your door has a story to tell!


  • The Roll for Initiative Podcast guys did a great job diving into Brick by Brick: Doors in Volume 3, Issue 139. Be sure to give it a listen! (Thanks again for the great review guys!)
  • Chris Lotspeich @ Gamer-XP reviewed Brick by Brick: Doors as part of a double-review. “A glance at this, a few rolls on the table, and any GM will be well on their way to making a door that is anything but boring.” Thanks Chris!

Product Excerpt

We’ll start at the front door of a 3-room dungeon. Once I have the details, I can write a description…

Front Door

  • Purpose: (In/Safety) As the first door of the dungeon, it appears that this door was meant to keep something in (what, we’ll leave for later) with safety the primary concern. Seems that something was locked away for safe-keeping in this particular structure.
  • Location: (Ground/Triangle/Oval) Though a ground-level, triangular doorway offers some intriguing possibilities, I will re-roll and go with an oval doorway instead. So we have a rounded doorway leading into a secure bunker.
  • Maker: (Craftsman/Work/Protection) This door was built by a craftsman as just another piece of work. Though I like the craftsman angle, I’m going to change this to work better with the safety vibe from the purpose and select protection here. Our craftsman felt compelled to lock something away. So perhaps it wasn’t keeping something safe from the outside, but he built it to protect the outside from whatever was locked away.
  • Materials: (Teak/Cedar/Glass/Obsidian) I rolled a few times on the material table, but didn’t hit upon anything I liked off the bat, so I’m going to choose obsidian. And the only construction type that makes sense here is single pane so we’ll say that this giant oval obsidian door is made of one solid piece of stone.
  • Opening: (Roll/Automated/Lock and Key) How does this door open? Somehow it has been mechanized to roll aside horizontally on a track just on the inside of the front wall. As far as the lock goes, lock and key suggests a couple of things for us. It implies that there is a key in case someone wanted to open it after locking whatever inside. And if that key goes missing, it implies that the lock could be picked by a skilled rogue.
  • Condition: (Perfect Condition/Stained/Stuck/Decades Old) Most of the conditions don’t really fit randomly, so we’ll say the front door is either in perfect condition or stained. Stained has more story possibilities, so we’ll go with that and say the door is stained with blood or other bodily fluids. And the door is stuck. That’s probably why it hasn’t been opened. Perhaps someone tried to open it before and got gore wedged in the lock mechanism, so there’s some work that needs to be done. Lastly, the age of the door is “decades old.” This door has been here a while.


“The huge oval door before you is made of an old, weathered black stone and you can see it’s partially covered in what might have been blood at one time. A cursory glance at the lock by an experienced rogue quickly reveals that both the door and locking mechanism are of solid construction. Someone didn’t want anyone to get into this place.”

Because of the gore mired in the lock, anyone attempting to unlock the door with or without the key will need to do some careful cleaning before attempting to do so. It’s a moderate difficulty to clean the lock without damaging it. And an easy difficulty with the actual key or moderate difficulty to pick the lock with a set of lock picks.

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