Tombs and Tomb Raiders in Fantasy RPGs

jedion357's picture
July 16, 2014 - 7:36pm
Watching Secrets of the Dead: The Silver Pharoah, and a statement caught me: tomb raiders were notoriously successful in ferreting out the location of tombs, even better than archaeologist

So what if in a fantasy setting a civilization embraced necromancy to protect their tombs, and of course traps as well.

You'd then get tomb raiders seeking out the services of a cleric to deal with the undead but do the ethics of the cleric interfere with him taking the job? or is he happy to send vile abominations back to the abyss because necromancy is evil and vile?

So you get tombs that are stocked full of undead, mindless creatures that dont mind socializing with the undead likes slimes and beatles and vermin like rats and spiders.

Interestingly, in Egypt, they estimate that the tombs of 70 more pharaohs are out there waiting to be discovered.

Any fantasy setting needs an Egypt. ancient beyond measure, dating back millenia into previous ages of the world. Monuments that of epic age like the pyramids and spinx. Distinct eras in history: Old Kingdom, New Kingdom, 1st & 2nd Intermediate Periods, and down to the Greek influence and last Pharoah: Cleopatra.

Thus the PCs could win as treasure a map or scroll with clues to the location of a lost tomb
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
July 17, 2014 - 12:47am
The clerics of D&D were based on the Knights Templar and Hospitalars of the Crusades and not the Benedictine Monks so guessing no problems with ridding the world of the foul stench of other gods.

In any fantasy setting using clerics the whole concept of faith is different. Since clerics can perform miracles due to their faith in their god there can not be athiests in fantasy worlds. The evidence is all around. The fun twist is that the evidence points to not ONE TRUE RELIGION but to hundreds of gods and religons. The fight for souls is not to get beings to not worship the false god but to get them to worship your god. Some of this is taken care of because the gods are usually very racist with followers being of the same race or culture as the god.

Does put a new spin on religious warfare with armies of warrior monks out to destory each others temples and holy sites.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Abub's picture
July 17, 2014 - 4:52am
I wonder if tomb raiders are only more successful then archeologiest is because there are more of them maybe.

jedion357's picture
July 17, 2014 - 2:52pm
Abub wrote:
I wonder if tomb raiders are only more successful then archeologiest is because there are more of them maybe.

It turns out that there was also state sponsored tomb raiding. During the 21st Dynasty reign of Psusennes which was a period of turmoil where upper and lower Egypt had separate rulers, Upper Egypt actually raided tombs of pharaohs for outer and middle sarcoffigi to send to Psusennes in the Delta for his tomb and we know this because these stone items still bear the cartouches of the original owners. It seems odd that the high priest of the south would do this but then Psusennes was a serious big cheese and his funeral treasures made King Tut look like a pauper. I tend to think that state sponsered tomb raiding compounded the problem since stone sarcoffigi are not light and you need some grunt labor to move them and suddenly you've reminded a host of people where Pharaoh Joe is buried. But then it could be that the tomb had already been raided by theives and the state had moved the Pharaoh's body to a cache of displaced Pharaohs and thus the heavy stone items were sitting unused. Typically though, theives smashed the stone sarcoffigi to get at the body for the rich (typically gold) body adornments- masks, jewelry, finger, toe and even penis coverings of pure gold.

And one has to wonder about all the low level "priests" of the funeral temple cults who knew where the tomb was and since Egyptian temples were less about ethics but rather a business then you have to think the temptation to sell out and reveal the location for a kick back had to be rather high.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
July 17, 2014 - 3:01pm
As I've been reading some Egyptology  and thinking on this I'm liking the dwarves for a superficially egyptian like civilization spanning multiple millenia- Dwarf tombs would have all the traps and ectera and even golden death masks like the Egyptian Pharaohs, a lot of dwarf material culture is largely established in the popular mindset thus runes in stead of heiroglyphics and so on. I'd simply use the broad overview of Egyptian history to flesh out my Dwarvish history. Monumental monuments back in the distant path. Old and new kingdoms with 3 "intermediate" periods of instability and the PCs living in an era of delcine like that going down to Cleopatra. New kingdom was the hieght of Dwarvish culture but it came crashing down as leaders made the decision to employ necromancy to secure their tombs for eternity but this unleashed dark powers that brought the new Kingdom down and lead to civil war which broght on the 3rd intermediate period of history.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!