20 Things to Find in a Necromancer’s Sanctum

In their forbidden corpse-filled laboratories necromancers pursue their unspeakable, blasphemous experiments. Such horrible labours require terrible components and depraved research materials of the very worst kinds.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Often, though, such details are overlooked as the party merely loots the chamber for items of obvious value. Use this table to generate such items of interest. It is up to the GM to determine the value of any particular piece on the table below, however most good-aligned PCs will be uncomfortable (at best) owning such items.

  1. A wooden box contains a dozen thin, long black candles. When burnt, they give off an indescribable smell akin to burning flesh.
  2. Seven skulls fill a shelf above the desk. A strange rune decorates each skull’s forehead.
  3. A coffer near one wall holds a jumble of horribly misshapen bones. Most are of humanoid origin, but surely no creature could have survived long with such deformities.
  4. An ornate display of bones decorates the ceiling. Leg and arm bones form the perimeter of the “sculpture” while a circle of skulls fills the centre. The bones are yellowing and old and have been stuck in place with strong glue. One of the skulls contains a bead from a necklace of fireballs. If the skull is disturbed, the bead falls out and explodes when it hits the floor.
  5. A fireplace pierces one wall. Deep soot and ash lie within. Even a cursory examination of the pile turns up fragments of bone.
  6. A small red velvet pouch contains a single braid of long impossibly red hair. The braid is carefully curled up and has been dusted with some kind of fine black dust.
  7. A skull—with its top removed—serves as a mixing bowl of sorts. A nearby worn leg bone hints at its use as a pestle.
  8. A small sack of salt lies on one corner. It is half empty and the remaining discoloured salt looks contaminated.
  9. A large earthen jar of honey contains the preserved head of an old man. His face is contorted as if in indescribable agony.
  10. Three small glass jars hold an array of different coloured dust. Each is the ash of a different cremated creature, used for some ineffable purpose. A different esoteric sigil has been carefully written on each jar.
  11. A chandelier crafted of bones hangs down from the ceiling in the centre of the room. The bones are blackened with soot and covered in dried wax.
  12. A small cauldron blackened with use and pitted with age stands near the necromancer’s worktable. Dark, unnaturally cold water fills the cauldron almost to the lip. Within lies the sludge and detritus of many experiments—shattered bones, decaying flesh and the like.
  13. A sagging bookshelf holds the remains of ancient tomes long since succumbed to the ravages of extreme age.
  14. A small box contains four long quills carved from bone. Their tips are exquisitely sharp and blackened with red “ink”.
  15. A partially dissected body lies on the table. The body is that is a long dead human. The unfortunate’s chest cavity has been opened and the organs removed.
  16. An ornate pentagram carving on the floor provides a zone of protection around the necromancer’s workbench. The carvings have been picked out with blood.
  17. Several beakers stand on a shelf above the table. Each is full of a different kind of dark, sticky and noxious fluid.
  18. An oversized leather wallet holds a dissection kit. Incongruously, the leather wallet is of the finest quality and is even monogrammed with the necromancer’s initials.
  19. A small cage hanging from the ceiling holds the skeletal remains of several songbirds amid a small heap of discoloured feathers. Hideously, the birds’ remains yet stir and judder. A close examination reveals they appear to still be trying to sing.
  20. The room seems unnaturally cold and the party’s nonmagical lights do not dispel the darkness lingering in the room’s nooks and crannies. Anyone spending much time here gets the feeling that unseen presences lurk in the chamber.

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20Front_#3_220This article appears in  20 Things #3 Wizard’s Tower, which is available now.

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