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Looking for help - Treasure in a dwarven king's burial mound

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
Dear fellow GMs,

I would like to ask you for your help concerning what may be within a dwarven king's burial mound.

After successfully solving the dwarven riddle last session, next Saturday my party is going to delve into the king's burial mound expected to hold treasures and an answer to their current problem with the Kikimore (insectoid monsters) in the nearby mine.

For your background: Within the ruins of a former splendid dwarven stronghold, they found a grand burial mound for the fallen king. The dwarven empire was at its peak when that king lived. It protected the realm, mined gold from the nearby mine, and created roads and cultural advances. Also, the king fought against Orcs from the North, Giants from the East, Kikimore from the West and a dragon from the South. He defeated the Orcs with traps, the Giants with poison, the Kikimore with fire and the dragon with steel. But in the end, the dragon killed him also. He was famous for his songs, dances and follies, but also for his sly maneuvers. He held the traditions aloft and was a strong fighter. And lastly, he had his dwaves mine so much gold, that it was called the Golden Century, the Golden City and the Golden King. This burial mound is to his memory. Probably containing many things about his past and his deeds. The entrance was well guarded with a difficult riddle and mechanism, but the PCs solved it nonetheless.
Now I have the architecture straight, know what kind of things there might be, but I'm unsure about whether to include coins also.

So, what are your thoughts about a king's burial mound? What should it contain for sure, what could it contain for fun, and what would you include for a twist?
I'm looking forward to your tips.
 

JohnnFour

Game Master
Staff member
Demonplague Author
Wizard of Adventure
Beta-Tester
Gamer Lifestyle
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
You might think about their religion and power structure.

Religion dictates your burial situation. Whether there's a ceremony, body, family and guardians buried with, possessions, etc.

If there are possessions, ask why. Are they for the afterlife or tribute (you mention a memorial)? If afterlife, will they be expected to fight or live in peace?

These things will help you decide what's in the mound.

The nice thing about grave robbing in a fantasy world is sometimes a curse is real. So defenses will be based on legitimacy and efficacy of any promised consequences of theft.

For a tribute type burial, you might consider:
  • The main coffin and place the bodies lies
  • Objects and art conveying the life the king lived
  • Messages for the king to take to the god(s)
  • A sump or place to eliminate water from the burial chamber
  • Defenses from thieves => fake chambers, chamber of guardians, traps, secret chambers, etc.
  • Shrine to the god(s)
If family is involved, they might have their own chambers they got parked in upon their deaths.

Mounds are fairly simple with one way in or out. If you create more complex construction, there might be extra areas for workers and logistics of construction.

Future generations might also modify or extend mounds.

Some ideas for you that I hope are helpful.

This would be a good question to toss out in the June Q&A.
 
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