20 Blasphemous Spell Components

Necromancers uses many unwholesome, even blasphemous, objects to conjure forth their dark powers. Such objects—repugnant to right-minded folk—serve as a connection to Death’s black realm.

By Dean Spencer


Like all other wizards, necromancers are rarely found without pouches full of spell components and arcane foci. Use the table below, to determine what horrific spell component the PCs discover:

  1. A small pouch contains the jumbled finger bones of a mass murderer. Each bone has a different sigil carved into it; the necromancer uses these bones to divine the future.
  2. A shrivelled, desiccated heart fills this small silken drawstring sack. If someone touches the heart with their bare skin, it seems to shiver slightly. If burnt, it gives off a noxious, cloying stench.
  3. The necromancer places this pair of thin bone counters over the eyes of corpses during his gruesome experiments and rituals. One side of each counter is etched with symbols of death and decay.
  4. This parchment of flayed skin displays an anatomical diagram of a human, with all the major organs prominently depicted. Notations around the diagram explain the best methods of removing the various organs while keeping the subject alive as long as possible.
  5. This waterskin holds a black, turgid liquid. Investigation reveals the liquid to be water mixed with ash.
  6. Dried blood coats the blade of this small ceremonial wrought iron knife.
  7. Carved from a single piece of bone, this sacrificial dagger has a crude, uncomfortable handle. Clearly not designed for combat, it has a more sinister purpose.
  8. A small sealed earthen pot holds a dully glimmering crimson paste. Investigation reveals it to be blood mixed with powdered gemstones.
  9. A fine mix of powdered silver and bone fills several small packets nestled in a tightly-wrapped waterproof pouch.
  10. This horribly misshapen rat or mouse skull is wrapped in a square of red silk. The skull has the base of a single horn growing from its forehead. Shadows cluster thickly—perhaps even disturbingly—inside the skull’s eye sockets.
  11. Carved from some kind of hard black rock, this rough figurine depicts a skeletal man sitting cross-legged. The top of the figurine’s skull is shiny and smooth—as if it has been caressed by countless hands.
  12. This partially burnt crimson candle stands about six-inches high. Its wick comprises tightly bound strands of blonde hair treated with some kind of slow-burning oil. The candle gives off a pungent smell reminiscent of burning flesh, when burnt.
  13. A wired four-foot long snake skeleton lies coiled in this pouch. The snake’s skull still has its fangs. Close inspection reveals dried blood on the fangs and splatters of blood inside the skeleton.
  14. Crumbling clumps of dried, noisome lifeless earth fill this small pouch.
  15. This over-sized glass vial holds a turgid, cloudy liquid. The liquid holds three eye balls in suspension. Anyone shaking the vial may be in for a shock.
  16. Six small onyx gems individually wrapped in bloody sackcloth. Each gem has the arcane symbol of death carved into its surface. (A PC skilled in spellcasting may determine these are components designed to increase the efficacy of animate dead and similar spells).
  17. A single long fang attached to a shard of bone. This is a vampire’s fang—it might be the only surviving fragment of the legendary vampire Gallowburn, and could even imprison a fragment of his soul.
  18. A fine grey dust fills this small silver box to the brim. The box has a tiny lock; the necromancer has hidden the key in a secret compartment in his belt suggesting the dust is valuable in some way. Only perceptive PCs find the key.
  19. A strip of dirty, tightly woven bandages faintly inscribed with various ancient runes dealing with death, the afterlife and guardianship. PCs wise in the ways of the undead identify these as a fragment of a mummy’s wrapping.
  20. A badly repaired plain cast iron amulet, sundered by a single sword blow or the like hangs around the necromancer’s neck on a silver chain. The amulet had a (now empty) small hidden niche within. This was a lich’s phylactery the necromancer has recovered to aid his own diabolical research into the afterlife.

Related Book

This articles appears in 20 Things #16: Necromancer’s Lair.

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