• Mark S. Cookman

20 Ways to Scare with Skulls and Skeletons


Here's more halloween fun for you RPG GM's, this time in the form of skulls and skeletons. Here are 20 different ways that you can use skulls and/or skeletons to scare your players -- or at least dress up your adventure a bit, even if you don't scare them. Be warned that some might find this list to be graphic because it deals with parts of dead people. Knowing that you have been duly warned that horrifying elements could await you, I humbly present one of my smaller closets. Enjoy.

  1. The party suddenly realizes they are at the edge of a vast bonefield. It measures about 150 meters to a side and contains 100's of burnt skeletons of men, women, and children.

  2. The eloborate chest contains nothing but a skull. The skull is red with both slight horns and fangs. Magical sigils that you cannot read are carved into the forehead.

  3. A skeletal king sits regally upon his throne. He still wears the rotting remains of his fine robes and a golden and bejeweled crown sits cocked upon his head.

  4. Painted skulls wearing rich and expensive jewelry seems to be a big part of the Sultan's decorating scheme for his palace. The charm fades when you learn that these are the skulls of his enemies.

  5. When you look into the mirror, the reflection that you see is that of your moldering and nearly skeletal corpse staring back at you.

  6. A pair of skeletons lie together on a bed embracing. Further investigation shows fragments of bonds attached to the bed frame plus hundreds of insect wings and legs on the floor.

  7. At the top of the tower, in the very center, on a wooden tripod sits the Skull of Salingar. You have come so far and lost so much to see this magical crystal skull destroyed; only one fight remains. . .

  8. The mausoleum of the Von Klergs is said to be in the middle of the cemetary that 30 Flaming Skulls call home. Even if you could beat them, Von Klerg was a powerful master illusionist; you would probably never find his tomb.

  9. Rumor has it that the entire estate was staffed by wordless skeletons who silently shuffled about and did whatever Sir Rufus ordered them to do. That was before the dark times came.

  10. A small pile of bones with a skull stalks the party through a dungeon, trying to take out stragglers or lone guards on watch. Use the stats for a Bonepowder Ghoul, but give it good stealth.

  11. A dancing, juggling, skeletal jester named Justin Thyme greets the PC's, makes jokes, juggles, and tries his best to join their party just by tagging along. He's a spy for the big bad with clairvoyance and clairaudience cast upon him. Justin is an unwitting pawn in this plan.

  12. The PC's come across a grisly depiction of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil" which has been done with elven skeletons from recently tortured-to-death elves.

  13. With a great howl, the pack of 18 skeletal wolves with glowing red eyes descends upon the PC's.

  14. The PC's come across an animated torture chamber with skeletons being actively tortured by some sort of invisible tormentors.

  15. The voodoo priest's fetish is said to be the femur of a nun topped by an unbaptized baby's skull.

  16. This is the work of the Moon Skull Clan. They always attack at night and leave a pile of the burning skulls of their innocent victims. I count 15 skulls in this one pile alone; those orcs must pay for this.

  17. The room is filled with a treasure trove of strange and other-worldly devices, floating dust, and tiny, flying skeletons - much like fairies only skeletal with fangs and a vicious attitude.

  18. Degenhard the Undead Butcher is known to send "calling cards" in the form of the decapitated heads of border fortress commanders who send patrols into his "kingdom". True heroes must be sent to end his threat to our safety once and for all.

  19. A passageway to the right leads into a holy shrine to the death god. The walls, floor, and ceiling of the shrine are completely covered in overlapping bones and skulls. Insense burns on the bone altar.

  20. The prophesies say that the great elephant boneyard will come to life at the height of the eclipse and charge through the royal city, killing the Caliph and all of his evil ministers in one great stampede of righteousness. But how could such a thing ever come to pass?

A very special thank you goes to Jans W. Carton and all of the great folks who work to keep www.d20srd.org up and running. Until next time, happy haunting.

#dnd #rpg #horror #october #dmadvice #gmadvice

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