Features of a Wights’ Barrow Mound

Slumbering in their ancient, weed-blanketed mounds wights are implacable foes of the living who prey on any daring to intrude upon their eternal rest.


Often PCs end up battling wights in a barrow mound or other location that appears essentially identical to a normal dungeon. But a wight’s barrow is different to many other dungeons. Use the tables below, to quickly and easily add flavour and detail to the barrow mounds in your campaign!

Major Barrow Features

These major features of interest not only help to add flavour to the barrow, but could also add tactical or skill-based challenges to the party’s adventure.

  1. Wide cracks in the floor have opened up access to a shallow cave.
  2. Part of the ceiling is in danger of collapse. Dwarves or those skilled in engineering can identify it as being unstable in the extreme.
  3. A pool of stagnant, foul-smelling water dominates the area. It is deep enough for the wight to lie within and be hidden from sight.
  4. Foul odours congregate in the barrow, creating a visible miasma of decay in the air. Living creatures breathing the air fill their lungs with death’s corruption.
  5. A haphazardly stacked pile of bones blocks the entrance. If disturbed, they clatter to the ground alerting the wight it is no longer alone.
  6. A deep fire pit filled with ash dominates the area. Anyone standing on the ash sinks into the three-foot-deep hole and creates a billowing cloud of dust that persists for several rounds.
  7. Ornate braziers of wrought iron, filled with ash, stand gaunt and empty by each bier.
  8. The darkness is almost palpable within the mound. Nonmagical flames only radiate light for half the usual distance.
  9. The stones of the mound’s walls and ceiling occasionally shift; now and then the stones groan as they move.
  10. The stones throughout the barrow are blackened and scorched as if a firestorm once raged within.

Minor Barrow Features

These minor points of interest won’t—probably—add anything to a fight against a wight, but help to bring the locale alive in the players’ minds.

  1. Crumbling bones and the dust of long years beyond counting lie thick upon the floor.
  2. Marks on the walls and floor show where the wight has been scratching—perhaps in a desperate, doomed attempt to escape the barrow.
  3. Here and there some stones in the barrow’s walls are loose. Some such stones could hide small storage niches.
  4. The shattered bones of another individual buried at the same time as the wight lie scattered about.
  5. The wight has carefully organised and piled up its treasures and burial goods along one wall.
  6. The wight displays some of its choicest treasures atop its bier.
  7. The ceiling is low in one area; the wight(s) have become accustomed to moving in a fast crouch.
  8. Jagged cracks run through the ceiling. Occasionally, dust and small bits of gravel (and perhaps mortar) sift down from above.
  9. Water oozes through cracks in one wall, turning the dust on the floor into a thick, viscous grey paste.
  10. Faded murals decorate the walls. The wight has defaced some, while others remain recognisable as scenes from the interred’s life.

Want More?

The lists above appear in Monstrous Lair #9: Wight’s Barrow available from 28 May Raging Swan Press. Members of Raging Swan’s Patreon campaign get Monstrous Lair #9: Wight’s Barrow free as a thank you for their awesome support!

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