The mansions and castles of the graveyard, mausoleums are almost always built to impress, and many are constructed with unusual features that reflect their owner’s proclivities or personality. These houses of the dead are often grim, looming landmarks in graveyards, and are built to attract attention.
Some mausoleums stand out even amongst this remarkable crowd, and can be said to be truly strange. Use the table below, to add a little flair to a lonely mausoleum, or choose the result you like best.
- This entire mausoleum is made of an unusual blood-red stone. The local groundskeeper swears that every time there’s a storm, the lightning only ever strikes the mausoleum, although the structure bears no sign of any damage.
- A ghostly figure can sometimes be seen pacing restlessly outside this mausoleum at night. In truth, the ghost is an illusory image of the mausoleum’s occupant, which was once always present, but which has become unreliable over the centuries.
- Belonging to an eccentric nobleman, this ornate mausoleum holds the remains of his most prized hounds. The outside is decorated with gargoyles and bas-reliefs shaped like dogs.
- Only three feet high, but completely to scale, this mausoleum features tiny figures engraved on its sides, needle-like spires and a plaque too small to read. If the miniature door is opened, the building is hollow, containing only an urn.
- The interior of this mausoleum features a trapdoor, which opens over a horrific pit filled with dozens of corpses heaped haphazardly atop one another.
- This grand mausoleum takes the shape of a tower, unlike the short, squat structures beside it. A blue-green light shines from its zenith on most nights, but is dark on the last night of each month.
- The interior of this mausoleum is a single, large room. Rather than sarcophagi or biers, the mausoleum’s inhabitants sit in elegant chairs around an oak table, which is set for a tea party.
- Made entirely of smoked glass, one can just faintly make out the biers standing within this sealed mausoleum. Occasionally, locals report seeing a hazy figure moving inside, or hearing the sound of something tapping on the glass.
- Known locally as the Banshee’s Tomb, a strange singing sometimes emanates from this mausoleum. By day, locals insist it’s just wind whistling through cracks in the building, but at night, they’re less confident.
- This massive mausoleum is carved to resembles a sleeping dragon. The entrance is in the dragon’s mouth, and the long, narrow corridor serving as its neck leads to the main chamber.
- There are no rumors that this mausoleum houses the undead: the four zombies standing guard outside it night and day are plain to see. Devoted servants of the demanding lord interred within, they serve him even in death.
- A cleverly disguised elevator descending into catacombs below, this plain-looking mausoleum is rather sparse inside and out. Its lone sarcophagus is empty, other than a hidden lever that operates the elevator.
- Something about this mausoleum attracts the undead. Any mindless or semi-intelligent undead creatures coming near, even those controlled by magic, suddenly stop what they are doing and head straight for it, standing outside its door patiently.
- This grim mausoleum is constructed entirely of bones, which have been painstakingly mortared together like bricks to form a solid structure.
- Built in a swampy hollow in the graveyard, usually only the roof of this mausoleum is visible above the muck. By speaking a magic word known only to the family owning the crypt, it can be made to rise up, allowing entrance.
- The entrance to this mausoleum is bricked up. The bricks are clearly a much later addition, and seem to have been laid with haste, more than care.
- The door to this mausoleum appears to be locked from the inside, and the door features both a knocker, and a small viewing slit that can be opened only from within.
- This mausoleum is only present in the light of a full moon. At all other times, the plot it occupies is simply a vacant patch of grass.
- This mausoleum glistens in the moonlight, and close inspection reveals it is because a clear, ectoplasmic slime is seeping from its walls.
- Barely recognizable as a mausoleum, this 12-foot-tall obsidian obelisk features a door on one side, and just enough space on the interior for its occupant to stand for all eternity.
This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.
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Alex Riggs has been writing and designing content for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game since 2010, when he founded Necromancers of the Northwest and jumped head-first into the business. Since then, he’s been fortunate enough to be able to work with many other great designers, including contributing to several books on the core line of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game products with Paizo, numerous Legendary Games products, and, of course, his work for Raging Swan Press.