- A furious widow swore her adulterous husband would never rest in peace. A botched curse keeps the dead awake. They aren't being stolen, they are wandering the countryside in search of some grave that will grant them sleep.
- A sentient swarm of tunneling black beetles has devoured the corpses, one by one, consuming bones and all. A recent bout of plague has given them plenty of fresh meat to feed upon... and they've developed a taste for it.
- An adventuring party has tracked down the burial place of a famous bandit who late in life decided to go straight. Rumor has it that the only clue to the whereabouts of his equally famous treasure was buried with him, but they aren't sure in which grave he was buried.
- The land is a meeting point between two dimensions. Any creature, man or animal, living or dead, that spends two consecutive nights in the graveyard wakes up Elsewhere. Until recently, graves were not left open long enough for anyone to notice.
- Kharus, the servant of death, has made a terrible mistake and crossed over someone whose time had not come. Unfortunately, he can't remember who it was.
- The bodies are being stolen and sold to masked men who are members of a secret society. The grave keeper takes their money, even believing they are part of some dark cult practicing vile necromancy. In actuality, they are a society of debutantes, aristocrats, and rich provocateurs. The stolen corpses are for a transgressive art display on the futility of reverence.
- The grave digger is syphilitic, the condition having gone to his brain. He's gone slowly mad, stealing the corpses and stripping them of their flesh. What's left of the remains are beneath his cellar, the bones splintered and tied together into morbid trophies and decorations. When he's alone at night he sings to them. Sometimes, they sing back.
- An unseelie fey is playing a trick on the local townsfolk. They steal one corpse each night and whisk it off and add it to their own, private, mock court. If caught, the fey will be haughty and indignant and play the whole thing off as a bit of mischief, but in reality it is deeply lonely. The fey has been exiled from the unseelie court. The stolen corpses are both an attempt to build a court of their own so they feel more at home, and to get someone from the village to notice them without actually having to make themselves known. It will return the corpses and stop disturbing the dead if the players manage to befriend it.
- A kind, elderly man in the village is secretly an alchemist. He has been stealing the corpses and using them in research, creating tonics from the bones. He's searching for a cure for his daughter, who is overcome with a mysterious disease that resists both normal and magical cures. However, through experimentation he's worked out that the more fresh the remains, the more effective the potions. Unfortunately, the graveyard does not have the fresh corpses he needs. Yet.
- The graveyard has become a feeding ground for a troll that dwells in a nearby cave. Through some strange mutation or curse, it is in constant pain that is nearly crippling in sunlight. Unusually clever, for a troll, it has discovered that for whatever reason consuming bones helps to alleviate its pain. It won't hazard to bother the nearby village so long as there are corpses to consume, but when they run out...
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
What's Stealing all the Corpses From the Graveyard (a random table for Old School Fantasy Games)