Magical Marvels 21: Raggi’s Rejects 1: The Bonebarrow

Recently James Raggi held an open call for magic items for the upcoming LotFP Referee Book. I submitted 13 different items to him. Two of those were accepted. One of the others was based on a completely useless premise. Raggi was right to reject it. I’ve thrown it out.  Another one is essentially a perfect fit for a module I’m writing. So I’m going to keep that one in my pocket.

That leaves me with 9 of Raggi’s Rejects that I’m happy to share here. I’ll break them up into 9 posts over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy.

The Bonebarrow

WheelbarrowA wooden wheelbarrow, like those commonly used by workers digging a foundation. The sides have been crudely etched with images of skeletons. The scrawls represent only the most basic artistic talent.

If at least one full human skeleton worth of bones is placed in the wheelbarrow, then wherever those bones are dumped, they will animate. The skeletons will begin digging using the wheelbarrow, and any other available tools. They work at the same rate as a human man, as described under “Excavations” on page 33 of the Rules & Magic book. Their hole will be roughly circular, with a diameter of 1′ for every 3′ deep.

Any bodies uncovered by this process will animate and join in the work. Anything other than a body (such as underground structures, buried treasures, or veins of precious metal) will be destroyed by the digging. The skeletons work without stopping. However, each night (or other time when they are least likely to be observed) some of them will take the wheelbarrow to the nearest graveyard to gather more workers. If no graveyard is available, the skeletons will instead harvest fresh bones from nearby settlements. The number of workers will increase by 15-25% each day, with a minimum increase of 1 new worker.

The skeletons will not harm whomever first created them. And they don’t wish to be caught expanding their numbers, so it is often (though, not always) more convenient for them not to harvest their creator’s companions.

The skeletons have 1 hit die, +1 additional hit die for every day since the digging began. The skeletons will dig ever deeper until they are destroyed. Any attempt to stop their project will be met with lethal force. If their creator attempts to destroy them, the skeletons will capture, and imprison that person. If a hole goes deep enough, the referee must decide: do they break through to the core of the earth, or do they open the way to an inner-earth world?

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One thought on “Magical Marvels 21: Raggi’s Rejects 1: The Bonebarrow”

  1. Interesting idea. Don’t make the object that starts the whole process a wheelbarrow with skeleton decoration and I see it working quite well in a non-goofy adventure too.

    However, once the skeleton has started making more skeletons, is there any way to get them to stop again?

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