Not the most cheerful of topics today, but something that occurred to me during the week…
At the edge of life are all the rituals we follow to honor the dead… But what happens when we ignore them? When we forget the coins upon the eyes, the weighted rocks over the body, the scattering of ashes? These are the seeds of story.
As we populate our worlds, don’t forget the places where no living souls dwell. These are the domain of the dead. The realm of the forgotten.
Think to those who have perished on adventurous climbs up Mt. Everest. How restful are those souls? Or the victims of murderers left where they fell or covered to avoid detection. Or even those soldiers left on a contested battlefield… The list goes on.
If there’s a chance that a location may be haunted, it offers an interesting storytelling point. Can your heroes return the restless spirits to a lasting peace? Or will they be consumed by them?
I might imagine a forgotten battlefield where a wizard goes once a year to help the spirits he can… Camping along the edges, listening to the stories, and attempting to set things right.
Or a city priest who has found a place haunted by the lost souls of the poor who never found the light and were taken by unscrupulous people who wanted nothing more than to prey on their weakness. Imagine the painstaking process of carefully locating the remains and relocating what was left to sacred ground.
Perhaps a child stumbles upon a haunted hillside where a lonely child once lost their life running from everything they thought they could no longer take… Imaginary friend or ghostly visitor?
In our rush through life, we sometimes forget to honor the dead so their spirits may rest in us… If we don’t, it haunts us through the little reminders. I’d imagine that same problem exists in worlds other than ours…
Just a few ideas to add to your game worlds… rituals have meaning, so in lands of magic they should mean even more. 🙂