20 Things to Find Near Skeletal Remains

When combing the depths of a dungeon, adventurers invariably encounter skeletal remains, and sometimes there are any number of strange trinkets and oddities nearby.

Small Treasure Hoard: William McAusland (Outland Arts)

Small Treasure Hoard: William McAusland (Outland Arts)

 

Use the table below, to give your skeletons some new and interesting flavour.

  1. The bones of an orc sit next to a small sack filled with glass marbles. Shards of glass can be found in its teeth.
  2. A pile of human bones lie atop an ancient fire pit. One of the skulls still contains a few burning embers.
  3. A headless skeleton lies against the wall, still clutching a partially burned book. The pages contain inane scribbling.
  4. Several potion vials lie near an yellowing skeleton. Each of them contains a finger bone, but the skeleton itself is missing no fingers.
  5. Near this skeleton is a cookbook open to a recipe for beef porridge.
  6. Each of the three broken daggers near this aging skeleton have a piece of painted quartz set in the cross guard.
  7. Next to this skeleton’s open palm is an excellently crafted false eye. The eye’s iris changes colour every ten minutes.
  8. This skeleton still wears a faded leather coat. In one of the pockets is a petrified salamander corpse, curled in a ball.
  9. Several pieces of a healer’s kit lie strewn about near this skeleton; a scalpel is still clutched in one of its hands.
  10. Several shards of amethyst and silver lie inside this fallen skeleton’s ribcage. Perceptive characters make out feathery designs on the metal.
  11. More than a dozen needles and a spool of black thread sit nestled in a pouch next to this small skeleton. The string is soft to the touch and smells faintly of grass.
  12. A half finished staff rests against this skeleton, the whittling knife stuck near the staff’s bottom.
  13. There’s a sword stuck in the ground near this skeleton. The blade is rusted and cracked, but the runes enraged in it still give off a faint glow every few hours.
  14. Lying undamaged near this dainty skeleton is a painted, ceramic butterfly, its wings a mix of greens and blues.
  15. Two pieces of a golden ring lie several feet from this hulking skeleton; the words once written inside the band have been scratched away.
  16. What appear to be this skeleton’s index and middle finger bones are in fact well-made wooden prosthetics, still curled up with the rest of its fist.
  17. This skeleton rests next to an unstrung violin bow. Several bars of music are etched into the bow’s back.
  18. An empty inkwell, feather pen and bits of rotting paper sit near this skeleton. The feather comes from a common crow.
  19. A leather mask with a particularly wide smile that almost reaches the subject’s ears sits discarded several feet away from this skeleton, which is missing its lower jaw.
  20. A pack near this skeleton is filled with mouldy rubber balls.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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Guest Post

John Schutt started his roleplaying career in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, transitioning to Pathfinder on its release in 2009, and has been playing or running games ever since. A native of Indiana and currently based in Boston, he wrote for the RPG blog Nevermet Press back in 2008, and worked for Wolfgang Baur’s Open Design for Halls of the Mountain King. John currently works to develop a spiritual successor to Nevermet, writing system-neutral content for as many genres as he can wrap his head around.

A poet by training nothing is more exciting to John than strange details or novel ways to look at an established idea. From the dungeon built beside a salt mine to the lord’s mansion where all the corners are rounded to maintain the acoustics, if it makes a player say, “Neat” or “This isn’t good,” John’s all for it.

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