Sometimes a dead body is just what you need to liven a scene. (Yes, that’s slightly ironic I know.) You don’t always have to throw it from a great height to land right in front of their feet (though it definitely gets their attention!), but usually it’s enough to get their investigative juices flowing. How’d it get there? Who is it? Was it an accident or was it deliberate? And maybe it hooks up to a current plot in your campaign. Or maybe it’s just a little side-quest. But either way, it can capture your player’s imaginations and move things along nicely.
Perhaps the body in an alley or a crowd has gathered around it on the street. Maybe it washed up on shore. And just maybe it was mounted as a warning outside a city wall or on a well-traveled road. Who knows? But what exactly happened to the poor bloke?
Let’s come up with a series of quick tables.
Why did it happen? (d6)
- Roll again
How’d it Happen? (d6)
- Lone suspect
- Group involved
- Single animal
- Group of animals
What happened? (d20 with many more possibilities – maybe a d100)
- Bled out
- Lost limb
- High fall
- Heart attack
- Botched surgery
- Food poisoning
Grabbing a handful of dice I end up with:
- (Karma/Single animal/Lost limb) Apparently this poor fella was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A lone wolf has been seen stalking streets on the outside of town and Bill here was stumbling home drunk after a long night at his favorite watering hole. Based on the splatter, the wolf knocked him down, ripped out his throat, and managed to tear off a leg before he was chased off by a patrolling guard. Maybe he shouldn’t have fired Tiny Tim’s mom the week before and fate finally caught up with him…
- (Accident/Lone suspect/Food poisoning) Nobody has heard from Trent in a few days, so when his friend Graham went to check on him at his home he found a bloated corpse twisted in pain on the floor of his home. He was last seen leaving the Red Tail Tavern, and many people had complained of digestive woes after eating the food that night. Apparently Trent had eaten more than a few bowls of the tainted stew and it did more than give him a sour stomach…
- (Battle/Group/Bled out) The crowd fled the scene when the battle began. Robert fought valiantly against the Blue Belt Gang, but eventually succumbed to his many wounds. He took out two of his attackers before falling and bleeding to death in the street. When the dust settled, the crowd returned and surrounded the three bodies…
Let your imagination run wild!
Want more ways to die? Let me know and I’ll create a whole product around this idea!
Looking for more inspiration? Check out any of the available Moebius Adventures products at RPGNow, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, or d20pfsrd!