Spoilers! Careful, there are spoilers ahead. If you are playing the adventure Lost Mines of Phandelver or ever plan to in the future, please stop reading now.

Hello everyone,

I'm DM'ing the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure. We've just arrived at the Hideout

beneath Tresendar Manor, belonging to the Redbrands

There is a small issue that does not seem to be explained in the rulebook. I have split this issue into 2 questions, with part 2 being here.

In Area 1

There is a wall on the north side of the room leading to area 3. From the drawing it looks like it's breakable, but the text describes it as 'part of the original cellar'. Is this wall discernable for the PC's, or is this a hidden passage?
Area 1 to Area 3


2 Answers 2


The odd-looking wall below the number 3 in the diagram isn't special in any way. The map itself is confusing, but it's trying to depict that there is a tunnel underneath the stone balcony.

Basically, the white door with the dotted lines is at ground level, then there is one set of stairs that leads up to the stone balcony. From that balcony, another set of stairs leads up to the door on the east of the room. The odd-looking wall is the artist's license to show that there is a tunnel beneath the balcony. Admittedly, it could be clearer.

If you'd like to add a secret door or hidden passage there, you certainly could, but nothing in the module suggests it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since the question no longer contains anything about area 4 (it's been moved here) I've deleted the area 4 section from your answer. I suggest you grab it out of your edit history and post it there, and give this post a do-over if you'd like. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 8:31
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I removed the spoiler markup, as everyone that scrolled this far down into a clearly spoilery question should be aware of spoilers by now, and the spoiler markup hampers readability. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 8:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass on the other question. The new answer there covers everything from my previous answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Discord
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 13:24

Discord's answer is correct; the map is depicting the not-at-all-secret passage under the landing. What you are seeing as a 'breakable' wall is an attempt to represent a solid wall at the level of the north landing (c. 7.5' above the floor of the cellar) but an open passage at the level of the floor.

While Discord's answer is correct, it simply states this as a fact, rather than marshalling any evidence in favor of it. My answer is an attempt to explain why this is the correct interpretation, especially in the face of doubt at this conclusion1. So, to the question of whether the map is showing an open passage, or a closed wall ('breakable' or otherwise), consider:

The map numeration of Areas

Typically a gaming map will be numbered in terms of the party's probable progress, starting with Area 1. Although there are multiple entrances to the Hideout, most likely the party will arrive through

the cellar door of the ruined kitchen of the manor house

and thus enter Area 1.

From there, there are two obvious doors out (both described in the area's flavor text) as well as one secret door. The guardroom / storeroom off the main cellar is Area 2, but that is a dead end. Area 3 is the hallway accessed through the north door, which is how the party will have to proceed if they don't find the secret door. If the north door did not actually lead to an open passage (if it was a cupboard or closet), then the party would have to find the secret door and enter into Area 8, which is a jump in the numeration.

Avoiding a stuck party

As mentioned above, if the north door was a dead end, and the party entered the Hideout at Area 1, they would be stuck unless they could find the secret door leading to Area 8. The secret door has a low DC, as befitting an introductory module teaching the players to look for secret doors, but it would be strange to frustrate beginning players by not giving them a clear way to proceed.

The map symbols

Traditionally on D&D maps, dashed lines such as the ones on the north landing indicate something 'below' the floor layer - most often, pit traps and trap doors in the floor. In this case, they indicate the open passage below the landing.

The description in Area 3

The flavor text in Area 3 reads as follows:

Thick dust covers the flagstones of this somber hallway. The walls are decorated with faux columns every ten feet, and the double doors at the west end of the hall are sheathed in copper plate, now green with age. A relief carving of a mournful angel graces the doors.

This description makes sense only if we assume that the characters are emerging through the north passage from Area 1, then turning and looking west at the closed doors at the end of the hall. If there was no access from area 1, if the only way into Area 3 was through Area 4, this description would not make sense. Characters entering Area 3 from the west would not see the carvings on the doors until they had completely entered (3) and turned around; it would not be part of the initial room description. However, the DM would in that case need to describe the alcove at the end of the hall opening on the south wall, which is not mentioned in the description.

More subtlety, the 'mournful angel' on the doors might be recognized by more historically astute players as the entrance to the crypts of the manor house, and thus as foreshadowing the

undead skeletons

they would be about to face if they continued west. If the only way into Area 3 was from the west, this would not be foreshadowing and would be wasted detail.

1 For example, the youtuber Fred Weller has a channel called "How to RPG", which includes a very helpful series on running LMoP. Still, in this video he insists that "the mysterious door" gives access to a cupboard, and that there is no way to move directly from Area 1 to Area 3.


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