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Basic Information

Burial is the process of disposing of something in an underground location. In the context of funerary practices that "something" will normally be a corpse (possibly with its associated grave goods) and the scope may be extended to above ground structures such as mausoleae which simulated below-ground burial1. This practice is also known as interment.

Actual burial practices vary from simply digging a hole, tossing the deceased in and putting the dirt back to the construction of complex structures above or below ground to house the body. Burials may be individual or communal (up to and including mass graves) - and again, traditions related to grave goods may have some bearing on this. Religious and other considerations will also have a bearing on how a burial is performed - some cultures absolutely avoid burial, others insist on it; expectations of some future resurrection or an afterlife are likely to have a bearing on this, as might ideas of reincarnation2. A burial that doesn't show regard for typical culture is usually a sign of something unusual - either the deceased was considered unworthy of proper burial or those performing the burial lacked either the ability to do things properly or lacked the appropriate consideration … perhaps because their main priority was to dispose of an incriminating corpse. Not performing proper burial rites was traditionally expected to have consequences - more prosaically, promiscuously buried corpses have a way of being dug up by scavengers, contaminating groundwater and more generally making a nuisance of themselves that has no supernatural element.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Given the source of most RPGs, this is likely to be the default method of corpse disposal for the default cultures.
  • Given the plot profile of most RPGs, this should probably be a lot more frequent than it typically is.
    • Rare enough for typical PCs to bury a fallen comrade, let alone dead enemies … the cunning GM may wish to assign traditional consequences to this level of neglect.
  • High status burials, or structures intended for mass interment, have a habit of turning into dungeons.
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