Oddities from a Battlefield!

Clint Staples

Your players have probably stumbled upon the aftermath of a battle once or twice in their stories careers. Was it a legendary battlefield of old, of which tales are told, now haunted by the shades of those who fell there? Was it the remains of a recent engagement in an ongoing conflict. Were the heroes there for a reason, perhaps to find a particular ghost, or a fabled, weapon? Or did they simply happen upon a plain strewn with bones? Perhaps most importantly, what did they find there?

Art is by the incomparable Richard Anderson!

 

 

Presented below are a number of possible oddities for a battlefield. Feel free to add to the list:

 

1. A collection of bones from a dozen or more men, now blasted and charred, but with all the appearances of once having been melded into the articulated form of a massive quadruped.

2. A human skull, devoid of flesh. In its eye sockets are two softly glowing rubies.

3. A circular crater, blasted clear or remains, scoured down to the bedrock - within, at the epicenter, is the pockmarked and pitted statue of a great warrior, its head, and sword arm broken off.

4. A tripod consisting of three greatswords leaning together, from which is suspended a delicate silver chain and a lambent green amulet.

5. A single severed hand [50% chance that it is fresh and bleeding, or ancient and skeletal] slowly crawling over the battlefield.

6. An ancient helmet, gilded and decorated, with a proud crest of colored horsehair. There is a 2 in 6 chance that it is inhabited by something. Roll three times on this table, selecting as many of the results as are appropriate to your needs.

7. A bent and ragged figure, in scraps of armor and uniform typical of the battlefield, skeletally thin, its head is more doglike than human, and its eyes glow as it snarls, clutching something in its talons. roll 1d6: 1 - a skull with tatters of flesh and hair; 2 - a relatively fresh limb, with bite marks; 3 - a fine gold bracelet with a cameo of a noblewoman's profile; 4 - The animated corpse of a lapdog, one eye a vacant livid socket; 5 - A scrap of cloth  twisted into a sack with 3d6x coins in varying denominations, all of them from the time period of the battle, 6 - Roll again on the Oddities table - if the result is appropriate, include it here, otherwise, the talons only appear to clutch something.

8. A skull, still pierced by the elegant longsword that punctured it. There is a 2 in 6 chance that the blade is magical.

9. A boot, standing up in the detritus of the field. If upturned, a very angry scorpion tumbles out.

10. A shredded scrap of cloth that was once the banner of one of the armies that died here. There is a 3 in 6 chance that the banner retains its old magic, it might enhance morale, terrify the enemy, or perhaps the soul of the standard bearer is now trapped within it.

11. A dozen or more skeletons, in the remains of the tabards and armor of both sides, labor endlessly to bury the dead. Empty eye-sockets look as you approach, but they do not fight unless attacked.

12. A narrow hollow in the battlefield, choked with thorny shrubs, and small trees. The trees have been hung about with bones and skulls, which clatter and creak in the cold breeze. There is a narrow twisting path through the thorns.

13. A figure in a dark cloak, sits on a low rise, contemplating the carnage all around, eyes agleam with inhuman vitality. beside him, a bared blade of glistening black metal is thrust into the earth.

14. An assortment of 2d4x men in shabby clothing as filthy as they are themselves, dig through the wreckage of bones and shields for things of value. If they outnumber the PCs, they attack.

15. A tiny demon with a broken leg, its wings a shattered, tangled mass, limps over over the battlefield, picking and poking at the ground with its crutch, intently searching.

16. A tall woman, blonde fair, and barbaric, sits astride her war-horse, face downcast, shining spear in hand, contemplating the remains of an epic fight that lies before her. There is the body of a warrior, chest rent asunder, the demon, troll, dragon, or great beast that killed the warrior beheaded nearby.

17. An expanse of jumbled bones extends for dozens of yards in every direction. It is waist deep in some places and almost impossible to move through or over. Crawling through the spaces between the bones, are large pallid centipedes feeding on the scraps of flesh that remain.

18. The barely visible shade of a warrior who died in the battle awaits his reward. There is a 3 in 6 chance that he will converse if questioned. If so, he may prove a useful, if morose, resource for exploring the battlefield.

19. A figure in priestly robes kneels over a particular body or skeleton, mumbling in prayer. Neither the figure nor the prostrate corpse pay you any heed.

20. A small shrine sits amid the ancient carnage, overflowing with offerings of bread, fruit and petty coinage. Amid the offerings there is a large heavy ring of some black metal, worked with indecipherable runes.

21. A revenant war-horse, in splendid barding of ancient design, awaits the rising of its slain master. Its eyes glow with either divine or hellish energy. 

22. A single massive raven, the size of an eagle, is perched on a dolmen rising from the field, a single dark eye peering in your direction.

23. A portion of the battlefield has fallen away into a shadowy pit that stretches downward. In the depths, half-glimpsed things are moving.

24. A pile of skulls, some human, others bestial, all flensed and polished white, rise high out of the ragged grass and rock-strewn turf.

25. Crows, ravens and eagles struggle in mid air for the best tidbits from the feast. Above a rise strewn with corpses of men, horses, beasts and worse, the aerial battle is fiercest.

 

Got any Oddities you want to add to the grow pile of bodies, blades and more? Jump right in!