Sedlec Ossuary
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Basic Information

The Sedlec Ossuary is a Roman Catholic chapel located in Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The ossuary contains approximately 40,000 - 70,000 human skeletons.

The abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec at the time was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278. When he came back, he sprinkled earth he had taken from Golgotha over the cemetery of the monastery. Word of this spread, and the monastery became a desirable burial ground for people all over Central Europe.

In 1870 the woodcarver František Rint was employed to bring the massive amounts of bones in order, and he used them as decorations for the ossuary - including a massive chandelier and a coat of arms made out of bones and skulls.


1. The Ossuary in Sedlec - image gallery

Game and Story Use

  • In a fantasy world, popular graveyards might also be blessed by earth from sacred locations from a particular religion.
    • Using "blessed earth" from faraway locations might be a standard burial rite - and the wealthier the deceased, the more rare the earth might be.
      • Player characters could be hired to retrieve such "blessed earth".
      • The earth in question might qualify as a relic in its own right - Golgotha, after all, being a place where the blood of God was spilt. In fantasy settings, gods and their avatars spill blood far more frequently.
      • If not a relic in its own right, it might still transmit a contagious holiness to the place.
  • The whole ossurary might be a powerful site for necromantic rituals.
    • The various skull and bone decorations might likewise be useful components for such rituals.
    • On the other hand, the use of "blessed earth" from Golgotha might inflict a significant penalty on any kind of unholy magic - and might indeed be a core reason for using it. In a setting where people misusing your earthly remains is a real possibility, this would certainly account for the rush to be buried in Sedlec1.
  • Imagine an artist who prefers to work with bones before any other material - so where does he get his raw material from? He might be a villain, or he might hire or work for villains…
  • This is a good example of how to subvert the idea of bones and skulls being a motif of evil.
  • This is a really good place to hide some bones…
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