Little Spaces: Gruesome Graves offers a collection of four tables to offer inspiration to describe events in the next graveyard your PCs come across. You can get hints to help you figure out what or who is there for them to find… It starts by determining which sense you use for the description, then deciding what element you’re describing and gaining some sensory detail about that element.
For example, if you’re describing an ongoing ceremony in an ancient graveyard hidden deep in the forest (Hearing/Ceremony/Marble) you might get…
“Even as you approach the small burial ground in the forest clearing, you can hear voices chanting. A white marble table gleams in the moonlight, stained with fresh wet blood. And a circle of robed individuals are passing a chalice from person to person…”
If that’s not enough, you can determine whether the place they’re coming to is occupied or not. Perhaps the cultists are not only performing a ceremony but raising the dead and desecrating the ancient graves…
Let’s walk through an example or two… If I start with these three elements:
I might end up with something along the lines of:
“The crypt before you has suffered some serious damage and you doubt it was due to old age. The stones appear cracked and broken as though bashed over and over again with a blunt weapon. As you run your hands over a few of the indentions left behind, you can feel the small raised symbol of a sword and ankh where the hits were hard enough to transfer such details to the granite now piled all around you. Something escaped with an enormous strength or a powerful weapon and it’s out here now…”
If I look at a different combination of elements:
- Sight and Smell
- Rank and Disturbed
This one will require a bit more thought… Let’s see.
“Though you can see little in the thick fog covering the hillside, something is definitely wrong. You can smell it. Something with the stench of the dead is upwind. Of that much you are sure. And occasionally you can see a disturbance in the fog as though something large is parting the clouds. What could it possibly be?”
Not quite as visceral as the first one, but it offers enough of a hint at something that you could probably cause all sorts of problems for the PCs with whatever large undead creature is stumbling around in a cloud of stench and fog…
Thousands of possible combinations will inspire an insane number of adventurous encounters and hidden secrets. Your players may wonder if you’re secretly an explorer with knowledge of all the places lost to time and experience…
Looking for a bit more detail? Check out Little Spaces Design: Gruesome Graves for examples and a few items from the lists.