This is my second post for the very first blog carnival Character death, Resurrection, and the Undead that was hosted by The Core Mechanic back in 2008. The RPG blog carnival is a monthly feature of the RPG Blog Alliance in which bloggers decide upon a topic to jointly write about.
Here I wanted to give some examples of encounters that can be added to any random encounter table or can be specific encounters inserted when characters are travelling. If you use any of them, I hope they’ll lead to some interesting situations and feel free to let me know how your players handled these encounters.
- The characters travel to a small remote village on the fringes of society. As they enter the village square, a woman screaming in pain, clad in burning clothes, breaks through a wall of spectators that have gathered around a pyre. As she stumbles to the ground, some of the spectators grab her, bind her, and carry her back towards the pyre. The woman turns out to have become a widow recently and as tradition requires, she is to join her late husband on the funeral pyre.
- As the characters are on the road, they encounter a small temple that has been ruined by a recent storm. As they examine the debris they find a few bricks missing in a wall. When examining the hole it turns out to be a small alcove that has the mummified remains of a skeleton inside. When they make the hole bigger, the skeleton is found to be sitting in a lotus position still wearing the remnants of a monk’s robes. It looks like the monk was sealed into this alcove while still alive.
- The character’s attention is drawn to a group of vultures circling the sky not far away. When they move closer to investigate they find a crying woman sitting on a tree stump being comforted by a man while a another man is situated a few feet away, hacking up a corpse with an axe. Local beliefs say that the vultures will consume the corpse and in return guide its soul to the heavens.
- When travelling the characters happen upon an abandonned farm of which pretty much everything except for the walls has been destroyed. Traces of axes can be seen in chopped up furniture making it obvious the place was trashed with a purpose. In the yard the characters find a 30 ft high wooden platform. If they climb the platform they will find the top to be covered by mud, leaves, and branches. Beneath the leaves and branches they will find a corpse. Local traditions say this ritual is to destroy the deceased’s ego so he would not linger and haunt those who remain. The destruction of the deceased’s property is another reason for the dead to depart as no possessions are now keeping him in the land of the living.
- The characters arrive at a 100 ft high rock wall that has wooden poles sticking out of the rocks at several places all over the cliff’s face. Balancing on two poles each are wooden coffins. At the bottom of the cliff, the characters will find several coffins that have fallen down to the ground, revealing the remains of the dead among the debris.