Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bodies in the Dungeon

In honor of +Ivan Sorensen's blog Daily OSR, here is my first random list. The original inspiration for this particular list was +Troy Costisick's blog post "How Do I Design a Dungeon?".

It's pretty rare that a party of adventurers is the very first on-site in a pristine untouched dungeon. King Tut's Tomb is the exception, not the rule.

So, to convey to the player's the notion that adventurers have been here before them, roll a d6 on entering a room the party hasn't explored yet. On a 1, a body is present in the room. Then roll d8 on the following table:

Condition of Dead Bodies Found in the Underworld (d8)

  1. Fresh -- pool of blood still wet
  2. Chewed on
  3. Rotting -- smells of decomp and covered in maggots
  4. Skin and bones -- most flesh is gone
  5. Intact skeleton
  6. Pile of loose bones
  7. Covered in fungi
  8. Mummified


  1. I like the idea that the dungeon is a living (or in this case, dead) place. It always felt weird that a dungeon would have no signs of visitors at all.

  2. You might even run into another adventuring party who came in a different entrance, currently in the process of looting!


  3. May I suggest a few more?

    9. Still fairly fresh but torn apart, with some parts missing

    10. Butchered.

    11. Badly injured and comatose, but if closely examined, found to be still breathing.

    12. Embalmed.

  4. #9 is basically what I was trying to get with #2. #10 -- do you mean like meat-counter-style or like serial killer-style?

    I think instead of #12, I'd make it #12. Makeshift burial -- covered with shroud, shield, stones, etc. Historically, other than Egypt, ancient Peru, and China, embalming didn't get going until the Renaissance.

    1. Ah. I took "Chewed on" to mean it was gnawed on by smaller scavengers, but all the main parts are still there. For #9 I had in mind "fed on and dismembered by lions" level of damage.

      "meat-counter-style or like serial killer-style?" Yes. :)

      I actually had prepping-for-meat-counter style in mind. Gutted, hung, maybe quartered. Not cut up into steaks and roasts yet, but preparing for that.

  5. 13. Petrified (turned to stone)

    14. roasted

    15. pickled (1-5 in vinegar, 6 in alcohol)

    16. thinly sliced and preserved as a tapestry

  6. 17. Smashed to a pulp.
    18. Only half a corpse. Roll again for condition of remainder.

  7. What about "will rise as a zombie a few minutes after first sighted"?

  8. That's a cool list! The ones in the comments section here are nice too. I like these sort of things because it can help a GM that's a little brain dead after four hours of gaming keep things fresh. Nice! :)