Graveyard Encounters

On December 1, 2004, Posted by , In Campaign Workbook, With No Comments

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Whether within or without the city walls the local graveyard offers plenty of opportunities for cunning Dungeon Masters. Filled with unusual sounds, cloying mists, and as many adventure hooks as it has headstones, graveyards provide the perfect opportunity to introduce a wide variety of subplots into your campaign.

The next time your adventurers set off to wander through the cemetery roll d%100 and consult the ideas below or choose your favourites to create a more evocative graveyard scene.

    • 01 A pair of lovers beats a hasty retreat.
    • 02 The PCs disturb a lowy adept collecting grave dirt for some unknown incantation.
    • 03 Several large rats scurry by.
    • 04 The groundskeeper tries to chase the group away.
    • 05 A small group of teenagers huddle in a circle around a forlorn mausoleum, chanting an Infernal verse purchased from a now absent merchant of mysteries and poultices.
    • 06 A bodyguard watches over the grave of a recently deceased noble.
    • 07 Several tombstones have knocked over.
    • 08 Several tombstones have been broken and repaired.
    • 09 A lone crow watches from atop a statue.
    • 10 A statue seems to move and blink.
    • 11 The PCs trigger a magic mouth that reads an epitaph as they pass by.
    • 12 Soft music seems to be coming from an old, untouched grave.
    • 13 A new grave has been dug, but not yet been filled.
    • 14 A recent grave has been disturbed.
    • 15 Someone has placed garlic cloves around this tombstone.
    • 16 A young girl pays her respects toa grave.
    • 37 A young man plants flowers on a fresh grave.
    • 18 An old blind man reads tombstone epitaphs with his hands, desperately searching for something from his past
    • 19 A familiar guards the grave of its former master.
    • 20 An old emaciated dog sleeps on a grave.
    • 21 A circle of empty wine bottles rings a marble gravestone topped with the bust of a satyr.
    • 22 The PCs interrupt a clandestine meeting of thieves.
    • 23 The PCs startle a young woman, who accidentally drops a written message before running off
    • 24 An old woman wails over a grave and beats the dirt with her hands.
    • 25 Someone has tossed a pair of dice on this grave: they are partially buried but show snake eyes.
    • 26 An ancient gravestone pecks from the massive, knotty roots of a gnarled tree. Delicate chimes hang from the tree’s largest branch.
    • 27 A statue of a crow animates as the PCs pass by squawking awkwardly and taking fight.
    • 28 A friendly black cat peeks out from behind a nearby gravestone, desperately seeking attention.
    • 29 A lone dog sniffs around a tombstone bearing the epitaph of a famous hunter.
    • 30 An angelic statue atop a small mausoleum changes its position every hour.
    • 31 A prominent life-sized statue near the center of the graveyard is actually a petrified NPC important to your campaign’s backstory.
    • 32 An artist paints a landscape of the graveyard in the moonlight.
    • 33 Someone has tossed a freshly killed rat on an old grave.
    • 34 The name and epitaph has been scratched off a knocked-over tombstone.
    • 35 An older man sleepwalks through the graveyard, an unlit candle in hand.
    • 36 A child has fallen asleep behind some brush while playing hide and seek.
    • 37 A shovel sits next to a 30ft pit before a new headstone, apparently abandoned in haste. But is the grave half empty or half full?
    • 38 A multitude of colorful flowers and healthy grass bursts from the site of this grave, in stark contrast to the sickly growth upon nearby plots.
    • 39 The door to an old mausoleum stands ajar, broken lock at its foot.
    • 40 The PCs pass an in progress funeral featuring priest, an unusual bent figure under a tattered robe, and dozens ‘of wailing paid mourners, Instead of a name or epitaph, the marker bears an unusual arcane sigil.
    • 41 The PCs interrupt a group of young children playing hide and seek. One ‘of them has been hiding for more than two hours, and the youths have no idea where he is.
    • 42 A large headstone topples noisily as the PCs walk by.
    • 43 The PCs hear the voices of two or three men arguing followed by an abrupt silence; they can turn up no sign of them no matter how hard they look.
    • 44 The PCs disturb a nest of skunks.
    • 45 Many dried bouquets of flowers lie upon a nearby grave
    • 46 An owl swoops down and takes off with a snake gripped in its talons,
    • 47 Moths utter around the PC’s light source.
    • 48 The PCs come across the handiwork of a prankster using cantrips to mimic ghosts.
    • 49 An ever burning torch sits in a sconce on the tombstone of a prominent local cleric.
    • 50 A partially decayed arm lies next to a fresh grave. The arm bears a bracelet purchased a week ago from a well known local merchant
    • 51. High overhead, bats dart to catch insects.
    • 52 An unconscious teen has been tied to a gravestone with rough rope.
    • 53 In a dark corner of the graveyard, a creepy mausoleum has been bricked up and covered with holy symbols of the god of retribution.
    • 54 A headstone has fallen from the face of a 3-foot high stone cairn, revealing the holy symbol of Erythrul.
    • 55 A rectangular patch of dead, brown grass roughly the size of a grave appears between two headstones; it has no marker of its own.
    • 56 All of the cement been disturbed.
    • 57 The party’s light source seems to dim near a prominent grave.
    • 58 A huge shell is the marker for the grave of an ocean explorer.
    • 59 A ring of salt encircles a grave with an epitaph written in a foreign tongue,
    • 60 A dark-colored rabbit atop a nearby gravestone stares unnaturally at the group; it’s made of carved wood and has glass eyes.
    • 61 The statue of an angelic figure is missing its head.
    • 62 A young runaway sleeps under some brush.
    • 63 An older woman engages in a frenzied dance over a grave, but refuses to speak about it when finished.
    • 64 The area around a black stone grave is colder than anywhere else in the cemetery
    • 65 Hundreds of croaking frogs and toads completely cover a grave and marker.
    • 66 An open grave yawns beneath a massive headstone bearing the name of a randomly determined PC.
    • 67 A delicately carved gravestone smells of jasmine, but no flowers are visible.
    • 68 Some young thrill seekers have followed the group into the graveyard eager to see adventurers take on the local undead.
    • 69 A wooden broom stands propped up against a gravestone
    • 70 A gravedigger works late into the night, digging up a new grave
    • 71 A gravedigger has found a mysterious body already buried in this spot and refuses to inter a recently dead corpse
    • 72 Maggots can be seen crawling to the surface of a nearby grave.
    • 73 Gnats hang like a cloud over a nearby grave.
    • 74 A broken holy symbol lies next to a nearby grave
    • 75 A shadowy group of five to ten hooded cultists rendezvous nightly within the columned mausoleum of a prominent city official.
    • 76 Someone has built a bonfire at to the graveyard.
    • 77 A mature woman sings an ancient dinge while cleaning off the tombstones and statues.
    • 78 A chilling scream can be heard from the center of the graveyard, but the PCs discover no sign of the cause.
    • 79 Someone his posted a scarecrow inside the cemetery. It sways in the cool breeze.
    • 80 Sharp pointed sticks edge a crude dug grave.
    • 81 A seductive woman appears out of the shadows, smiling inviting
    • 82 Dead leaves make an eerie scratching sound as they blow across the back of the stone grave markers.
    • 83 A chill wind whips through the area and dies just as quickly as it arrived.
    • 84 A battered coffin sits on the grass next to an open grave. The body within decayed long ago, but the clothes it wears appear to be brand new.
    • 85 A local criminal uses the hollow tombstone of a famous city watch captain as a drop-off point Tor contraband.
    • 86 Blue moss grows on most of the gate grave markers the moss glows at night.
    • 87 Nightshade and belladonna grow profusely around a marker bearing lupine motifs,
    • 88 Daisies have been planted lovingly around a nearby grave, but they’ve recently been stomped into the dirt.
    • 89 The twisting bark of a gnarled tree growing from grave dirt appears to bear the tortured faces of several humans,
    • 90 The party’s light source casts shadows ‘onto the ground which form into dancers whose brief gyre lasts only few seconds before the shadows are normal again.
    • 91 Normal animals of the forest cluster outside the cemetery to watch the group. completely ignoring the other ls around them.
    • 92 When moonlight touches the grave stones a puff of mist rises from each and disappears overhead.
    • 93 The spirit of a dog howls at the gate at midnight and disappears until the next night
    • 94 The spirits here are tormented and cry out periodically.
    • 95 A spirit wants to talk to the group, but can’t make any sound.
    • 96 An elven man sings to the dead but disappears when approached.
    • 97 A spirit guides the group to a grave where a young necromancer is dissecting the occupant.
    • 98 One spirit here seems to be tormenting the of
    • 99 A massive grave takes up the area of six regular sized plots.
    • 00 A spiritual choir sings for an hour beginning at midnight.

BY DAWN IBACH
ILLUSTRATION BY UDON WITH JIM ZUBKAVICH