20 Things to See in a Graveyard

Adventurers seem to spend a lot of time in graveyards. Whether they are investigating a series of hauntings, destroying a nest of ghouls or merely visiting the grave of a loved one, a graveyard can make an exciting adventure locale.

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)


Use this table, to add minor points of interest to any graveyard the PCs visit.

  1. A lone gravestone—much weather worn and overgrown by weeds—stands off alone to one side.
  2. A stand of dense trees creates an area of shade. The trees’ roots are so dense no graves have been dug beneath their boughs.
  3. A large oak tree stands majestically among the graves. Coloured ribbons and streamers hang from its lower branches and move gently in the wind.
  4. An open grave—freshly dug—awaits its occupant.
  5. Several spades rammed into a pile of freshly dug earth stand next to an open grave.
  6. Three graves lie close to one another. A low iron wrought fence pierced by a single gate surrounds the trio. Within the fence’s perimeter, the grass is neat and well tended.
  7. A small shrine decorated with the carved decorations of all the local deity’s sigils stands near the graveyard’s entrance.
  8. Obscured by a thick hawthorne hedge, a shrine dedicated to the god of death stands at the centre of the graveyard. The shrine is little used—except by those recent bereaved. Three grim-faced clerics maintain the shrine, conduct services and oversee the graveyard.
  9. A long, low mound covered in wild flowers dominates one side of the graveyard. Here are buried the victims of some long ago disaster—perhaps a plague, war or large fire that ripped through the town.
  10. Low hedges heavy with blooms divide the graveyard into sections.
  11. Four men carry a coffin through the graveyard. A weeping man helped along by a grim-faced priest follows in their wake.
  12. A large crow—its black feathers glimmering in the light—perches atop a gravestone and caws loudly when anyone approaches.
  13. A cluster of people stands around a grave, arguing loudly and gesticulating wildly.
  14. A lone figure stands in the gloom beneath a stand of trees. He seems to be watching the graveyard intently, but if approached disappears into the shadows.
  15. The wind moans among the headstones.
  16. Wind chimes hang from the branches of the trees scattered about the graveyard. When the wind blows they create a discordant clamour. The locals believe this keeps the ghosts of the dead in their graves.
  17. A stonemason is on his knees in front of a grave carving something onto a headstone. He could be making a correction to a carving, finishing a decorative carving or adding graffiti to the grave of a hated rival.
  18. Dark clouds hang over the graveyard, casting the whole area into gloom.
  19. Several of the gravestones are topped with half-melted candles. Their wax has dripped down and dried on the face of the stone. The dried red wax looks like old blood.
  20. Suddenly the birds pecking among the graves or perching in the surrounding trees all fall silent. Moments later—in the sudden quiet—they take flight.

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GM’s Miscellany: Urban Dressing

If you enjoyed the table above and like urban dressing, check out GM’s Miscellany: Urban Dressing! Crammed with over 200 pages of information and charts designed to bring your village, town or city alive, GM’s Miscellany: Urban Dressing is an essential part of any GM’s arsenal. This article will appear in the upcoming GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things compilation releasing in 2016. You can read more about the book, here. Alternatively, you can read even more 20 Things lists on our Free Resources page.

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