Little Spaces: Burial Mounds
There are few absolutes in life save that eventually all lives come to an end. In the wake of that loss, the living must go on. But sometimes the living and the dead cross paths, whether to pay their respects or disturb their rest in some way.
In roleplaying games, we are occasionally asked to disturb these islands of the dead as PCs. Perhaps we seek some clue left behind on a grave marker or to leave flowers or some other token to commemorate their passing. Perhaps the undead are restless and we must settle them once more. Or perhaps some necromancer or mad scientist has been stealing body parts and we must cease this behavior. Maybe yet its us doing the disturbing, seeking some buried treasure they left behind with their remains.
Whatever the reason, it seems that each gravesite appears vaguely like every other we have come across. We hardly notice the details as every marker is shaped much the same way and appears like every graveyard we’ve seen on TV or on the big screen.
We’re usually just there to get in and get out. Why look around if it’s uninteresting?
Let’s make it a bit more interesting…
Little Spaces: Burial Mounds takes a different approach to graveyards than Little Spaces: Gruesome Graves. Taking a lesson from the Insta-NPCs series, Fitz has changed up the format slightly going away from the Senses, Descriptive Element, and Sense Descriptor methodology to a more free-form collection of tables. In Burial Mounds you get eight separate tables helping you determine what your burial mound, mausoleum, or gravestone might look like.
For the monument itself, the tables include: Memorial Type, Material, Markings, Age, and Condition. And then you can decide who has been interred there with tables helping you decide the number of occupants, who they were, and how they may have died. This collection of tables offers a wide array of options for determining who may be home in your favorite graveyard. Roll up a few tenants and see who rattles loose when the PCs come calling!
As an example, let’s say the PCs are returning to their home town after being away for a few months and discover a change in the local graveyard:
“(Sculpture/Alabaster/Symbols/Months/Untended/Single/Father/Supernatural) Near the front gate of the small cemetery a new sculpture has appeared since you were here last. The new figure holds a large set of scales on his shoulders, with the trays holding balanced cubes below his hands. The face looks familiar and you soon realize that it is Father Dane from town, the Priest of Light who helped you out on multiple occasions. He has been sculpted as though he is in pain, bending under the weight of the cubes. Each side of each cube is decorated with a runic symbol from the local pantheon and you notice that the symbols facing forward equate to Travel and Hell.
Vines and weeds have overgrown the cemetery in your absence as though no one has tended its care. And you come to find out that the Temple has yet to send a replacement for Father Dane.”
I can hardly wait to see what the PCs decide to do to figure out how to solve this problem!
Thousands of possible combinations will inspire an insane number of adventurous encounters and hidden dangers. Use your imagination to come up with intriguing burials that cross genres and keep your players guessing!
This is the next in a series of short, system- and genre-neutral supplements from Moebius Adventures designed to encourage more creative descriptions in your games.