10 Pieces of Battlefield Dressing

After the butchery and death has abated, a battlefield is an environment like no other. Hacked and broken bodies lie scattered about among severed body parts, broken equipment and the general leavings of the slaughter. Exploring or travelling through such a terrible, unique environment should be a memorable experience for the PCs.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Use the table below, to determine what the PCs find on the battlefield. Such discoveries could be nothing more than “dungeon dressing” or could be a hook for an encounter or entire adventure.

  1. A corpse—festooned with arrows—lies sprawled on the ground. Almost a score of arrows pierce the unfortunate’s body, although strangely his face is completely unblemished. Nearby, lies the warrior’s small, much dented, iron shield.
  2. Here lies a great tangled heap of bodies surrounding the hacked and mutilated body of an enemy champion. Blood soaks the ground and body parts lies scattered about. The enemy champion has been comprehensively looted—of his no doubt fine weapons and armour there is no sign.
  3. Crows feast upon the bodies of the fallen in this part of the battlefield. The birds peck and tear at the dead; blood stains their feathers and beaks giving them a somewhat infernal appearance. Unconcerned by folk moving among the dead, they only take flight if attacked or assailed by a loud noise.
  4. A ragged, blood-splattered standard yet stands (at a somewhat drunken angle) among the carnage. The fighting was particularly savage here; piles of bodies lie scattered about. Macabrely, a severed hand yet clings to the banner.
  5. Blood from the dead and the dying has flowed and oozed into this small hollow, which is now filled with a veritable pool of congealing blood. A stray dog laps at the blood, seemingly unaware of the surrounding butchery and slaughter.
  6. Freshly turned earth—a crude grave—stands amid the slaughter atop a small rise. A broken sword is thrust into the ground at the head of the grave to serve as a grave marker; a helmet hangs from the sword’s pommel.
  7. A low moaning emanates from beneath a pile of bodies. Investigation reveals a critically injured warrior mere moments from death. The warrior, who bleeds profusely, has suffered several deep scalp wounds and one of his eyes has been destroyed.
  8. A heap of broken equipment shows where the victors have begun gathering up the leavings of the slaughter. Hacked suits of armour, splintered shields, broken weapons and so on all lie here in a pile.
  9. A horse—several deep slashes along one of its flanks—wanders among the carnage. Wearing slashed and torn leather barding, the beast is a warhorse—breed to fight. It is skittish and exhausted; the PCs must earn its trust before it allows them to approach.
  10. A small heap of bodies is the beginnings of what is destined to be a large funeral pyre. Nearby, lies a salvaged pile of useable equipment, weapons and armour. Slightly further away lies a pile of broken equipment.

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This article appears in 20 Things #15: War-Ravaged Land. For more free 20 Things lists, check out our Free Resources page.

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