June 5 2012:
The latest two of over a hundred "vampire" burials have been discovered by archaeologists working in Bulgaria. Dating from the middle ages these corpses have been interred with iron rods driven through them to stop them rising from the grave.
The suggestion is that this "staking" was preemptive rather than a response to any alleged activity on the part of the corpses, but in life the dead men - all of them men apparently - were said to be evil people, albeit often of high status.
- 'Vampire' discovered in mass grave … similar corpse fiddling behaviour in Venice.
Game and Story Use
- Preemptive staking … most of the dead people may not have been vampires, but perhaps one or more of them have turned. Sooner or later some smart-arse archaeologist will pull the stake out of one that needs it left in.
- In a modern game, a police investigation into a recent murder (where the PCs are the police, the accused, or the relatives of the deceased) could involve exhuming the body of the murder victim to check for DNA or to perform another procedure. If the body, to the surprise of the police, is preemptively staked, does that tell us something about the supposedly innocent victim?
- Variation: A serial killer is leaving a trail of staked corpses behind them are they in the grips of a delusion about some worldwide vampire conspiracy … or are they really hunting vampires? Once the PCs get used to dead people staying dead when the stake comes out at autopsy … introduce one that doesn't.
- In a campaign where vampire victims and/or their blood bound servants may or may not turn on death, the PCs may be the serial killers.
- Similarly, a PC's relative is going to have their body moved/be exhumed for unrelated reasons, and they discover that the corpse was staked. What does the PC do? Fight to have the corpse left alone, let it be moved with the stake in, remove the stake to restore their dignity?
- In a medieval OR modern game with a little lightheartedness, players could be tasked with preemptively staking someone during a burial, but without the relatives finding out. Hilarious corpse-desecrating hijinks ensue.