10 Dead Tomb Robbers to Discover in an Ancient Necropolis

Tomb robbers are drawn to necropolis’ like moths to a flame. Some escape the necropolis with ancient treasures while others find their eternal rest among the dust and bones of an elder time.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Use the table below, to determine the basic details of any dead tomb robbers the party encounter (ad-libing such details as race, age of the remains and so on as appropriate to the adventure) while exploring an abandoned necropolis:

  1. Pinned to a wall by a huge spear, the remains of this robber are little more than bone, sinew and hair. One skeletal hand still clutches the spear’s shaft, suggesting the robber survived the trap…at least for a few moments.
  2. This tomb robber fell to a trap cunningly hidden in the floor. Metal jaws emerging from the stone yet hold the unfortunate’s left leg, which had been severed just below the knee. The rest of the robber lies at the end of a dried smeared blood trail; a crude tourniquet on his leg clearly failed to staunch his blood loss.
  3. At first glance, this tomb robber’s body seems relatively fresh. However, a more than cursory look reveals a look of terror on his face and a certain, disquieting sunken, desiccated quality about the body. A close examination of the body reveals no obvious wounds.
  4. The headless decomposing corpse of a tomb robber lies just in front of an archway or door. The unfortunate’s head lies beyond. A spray of dried blood coats the ceiling and door (or archway). Flies and other insects buzz about the corpse.
  5. This robber’s remains have been hacked and slashed as if he was slain in a frenzied assault by several attackers. A pool of dried blood surrounds the remains and a competent tracker can easily make out several strangely-shaped footsteps outlined in blood leading away.
  6. Pieces of this robber are splattered about as if his body was rent asunder by a whirlwind. Fragments of bone, decomposing flesh and bits and pieces of destroyed equipment lie everywhere. Clearly, the robber was the victim of catastrophically brutal violence.
  7. These skeletal remains are pinned to a wall by a field of short, viciously curved spikes that must have sprung forth from some hidden trap. Cobwebs now wreath the remains, which swarm with a multitude of tiny spiders.
  8. A large stone block has fallen from the ceiling, almost completely blocking the corridor. A rusty stain edges the block where it rests upon the floor, perhaps hinting at what might lie crushed beneath.
  9. Three iron arrows protrude from the chest and throat of this corpse lying flat on its back on the floor.
  10. This corpse lies sprawled on the floor. Amid the decomposing flesh, mouldering hair and rotting equipment a careful search reveals a tiny metal dart stuck into the unfortunate’s neck.

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20Front_#6_220This article is a companion to 20 Things #6: Ancient Necropolis, which is available in September 2016. It will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.

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