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Basic Information

An ossuary is a storage facility for human bones - generally those disinterred from a crypt, mausoleum, cemetery or graveyard. An ossuary is usually constructed when a burial facility becomes full or when it needs to be excavated for some other reason - either building work or public health are common motives. An alternative to temporary burial is to use a pudridero to store the deceased during the skeletonisation process

Bones are traditionally sorted by type for ease of stacking but in some cases they may be arranged decoratively as in the Paris Catacombs or the Sedlec Ossuary. The obvious problem - for anyone that cares about such things - is that a lot of the smaller bones (especially those of the hand, wrist and foot) tend to get left behind during disinterment.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • If you favour the self assembly type of skeleton, these places are potentially an army in a box.
  • They would seem to be a good source of necromantic power and/or spiritual hotspot whatever happens … and their potential as a bad place is so obvious as to be potentially cliched.
    • Conversely, as a sanctified burial place full of corpses that have undergone proper funeral rites, it may be necromantically dead. This will depend on the theology of your campaign. If it's attached to a potter's field on the other hand…
      • In terms of fantasy religions, it would probably be sacred to and maintained by the cult of a death or funereal deity. Such deities do tend to get involved with the undead.
      • And if someone else needs the land for something, bulldozing the ossuary is probably a quick way to desecrate the site.
  • PCs looking for a specific skeleton may be quite annoyed to find that the whole cemetery has been dug up and dumped into an ossuary. In bits.
  • Obviously a really good place to dump unwanted bones.
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