The Barrow Kings

In the oldest days of man, we were in tune with the earth. We communed with spirits, and spoke to animals. We requested favours of the earth, and performed it favours in kind. The Barrow Kings are not from those most ancient of ages, yet were alive yet to see and remember the last few dying embers of it. Their spirit-magics were strong, their wills indefatigable. When death came to grasp them, they went no unscreaming, and the Barrows they leave have trapped their spirits with their old and mouldering bones. There they remain to these modern days, awaiting, awatching, disgusted at the weaknesses shown by their distant, distant descendants. Still they jealously clutch their treasures, powers, and glories, and dream in death of days when they may yet reclaim them.

The Barrow-King's Mode of War

The Barrow Kings do not all fight in the same manner, they do not all fight with the same weapons. These are the main categories of their armaments and tactics though, and they should be equipped appropriately for such, even in death.

1 - Weapon Master - Even then, the blade had been mastered, and in an art you will not know
2 - Hexblade - Many curses were wrought in their blade, in the flesh, on their heart
3 - Sorcerer King - Mightier Magics were wrought then by Mightier People
4 - Juggernaut - Armour of Stone, Shield of Bone, Blade of Iron, Might like the Lion
5 - Nightmare Master - Not even your blackest dreams match what he sees in sleep
6 - Necromancer - Bone and Flesh, Answer the Call of their Word!
7 - Animist - A Friend of the Earth becomes mighty indeed
8 - Ravager - Axes and War-cries, bloom of flame on the Horizon and a long, long Night.
9 - Proto-Paladin - The Blessings of Ancient Gods hold strong even now
10 - Shackled - Beaten, Battered, Broken, Chained; a mouthful of sand and sand and sand


The guardians of the Barrow King attend to them personally, or await close by their gates. They are the last line of defence between defilers and the sacred bones of Barrow King. Each Barrow King has one set of Guardians.

1 - Locus Genii
2 - Ancestor Spirits [An amorphous host]
3 - Grave-Guard [3d6]
4 - Black Knights [2d8]
5 - Guardian Familiar
6 - Animated Sentinel
7 - Curse-Bond Revenant
8 - Divine Figment
9 - Plant-Ally
10 - Avatar of the Earth

Locus Genii
The Spirit of a place, a guardian spirit against defilers and a watchful nurturer for honest seekers of truth. It cannot leave this place, but while here it has incredible power and influence. All the other spirits in the Barrow are its friends, and will serve it for a time in defence of the Barrow.
Ancestor Spirits
Not all the souls of the Departed truly depart. Some remain for any number of reasons. These ones remain in service to their lord. They will endure as long as the Lord does.
Armoured Bones and Wicked Weapons; they were the elite in their day, and though the sun has long since set on them, their skill is not diminished, and their blades still bite with power.
Black Knights
Old and Mouldering bones wrapped all about in the Black Thoughts of the Barrow King, become physical by the Strange Magicks of this place. They fight as furiously as the Barrow King imagines they should, but they are subtly shapeless and unformed, terrifying nightmare-figments given existance.
Guardian Familiar
In life, this spirit-beast never left the side of its master, and it remains here still. The long weight of ages has twisted it, and it has grown huge and fat on the energies of the place, a veritable beast fanatically determined to guard the body of its old, old friend.
Animated Sentinel
Made in semblance of man, once it might have been a mere statue, or suit of armour, but now it is an unfailing guardian, immune to the burdens of sleep and weariness.
Curse-Bond Revenent
Not all who rest dead in the Barrow do so of their own accord. These are the bodies of those slain upon the crest of the barrow, whose necks were slit open that their blood could flow down and inundate the earth of the Grave. These are those powerful in their wrath, unable to leave, unable to rest, their powerful rage granting power that can't be taken out on anyone anymore.
Divine Figment
Some say that Gods are nothing more than spirits of the World grown fat on faith and reverence. Perhaps its true of all Gods, but it is certainly true of this Spirit. It has been diminished by the march of ages and a lack of offerings, but it still blazes with power beyond a mere man.
In the elder days of man, many were closer friends of the earth and its peoples that they are in these modern days. Some of these friendships still hold strong, even after all these years, and this Plant-Person will not suffer desecration to befall the one that was its friend in elder days.
Avatar of the Earth
The mightiest of the Spirits of the World that can wander in bodies of stone and mud, some few have been bound into service, or sometimes are motivated to repay ancient debts. In either case, they are mighty guardians indeed, to whom the earth is a willing ally, and the plants a faithful soldiery.


Minions are the various beasts and terrors of the Barrow, induced to unconscious service by the undying will of the Barrow king. Each Barrow king has a set of Minions for every 2 HD they have.

1 - Votive Dead [5d6]
2 - Skeletons [3d8]
3 - Unclean Spirits [3d4]
4 - Guardian Statues [3d4]
5 - Animated Murals [d4]
6 - Earthen-Men [3d6]
7 - Spirits of Rites [2d4]
8 - Vengeful Beasts [3d6]
9 - Elemental Motelings [3d6]
10 - Dream Figments [d4]

Votive Dead
Much like the Curse-Bonded, the Votive Dead let their blood flow for the Honour of the Barrow King. Their anger was not as potent as the rage of the Curse-Bonded, and thus they remain as more docile and impotent beings, though the presence of defilers still rouses them to anger.
The soldiers of the Barrow King in life, they remain in devoted service in death as well, clad in tattered armour and wielded ruined weapons. Their forms hold together as their morale does, the more the battle turns against them, the quicker they crumble as their spirits abandon the battle; but should they find smaller victories in the struggle, they will surge through wounds and blows to deadlier and deadlier effect.
Unclean Spirits
Not all Spirits are the wholesome personages of stones and earth. These Spirits are rife with muck and rot, possessing deplorable hungers and loathsome forms. They lurk in the dark corners of the earth, out of sight; and thus many will congregate in the Barrows of the Ancient Kings. They are known to bring sickness and curses, and have a particular hatred of humans, who represent everything the spirits find hateful in the world.
Guardian Statues
Coming in all manner of shapes and forms, these animated idols are purpose-built to defend the sanctity of the tomb, and their durable forms and powerful blows for their size makes them ideal sentinels. Their relative slowness and the simplicity of the spirits animating them (or at least, their lack of effort) mean that they are often-times able to be outsmarted, or outmaneuvered. The long marches of years have not been kind to them.
Animated Murals
Many Barrows contain murals of the great deeds and feats of the Barrow Kings. A few even have them enchanted to come to life in defence of those they depict. Creatures of myth clamber down from the walls, armies of tiny men flood from the pictures, glowing blades and the warriors that hold them finding new life in their enchantments.
Tiny spirits of the earth given vessel in mud-moulded forms like that of men. They have been taught that they are the defenders of the King in death, and that they will tolerate no defilers. Their bodies mold as their needs dictate, though unconsciously, and they fight unyieldingly, unaware that there is even such a thing as surrender.
Spirits of Rites
Some of the sacrifices that occur during the funerals of Barrow Kings aren't solely for the glory of the dead. Some bring new spirits into being; or rather, reshape present spirits into new and horrendous forms. They are bound to the implements of ritual, the bloody knife, the stained altar, the drenched pit. They animate them in anger when defilers approach, but they are confused and lost, unaware. They will destroy what they don't understand, and back down against nothing, they are more akin to animals than most spirits. 
Vengeful Beasts
All sorts are sacrificed at the funerals of Barrow Kings, not least of all animals. Oxen, horses, serpents, wolves, dogs, fish, cats, all kinds meet the blade throat-on in honour of the departed. Their spirits remain in their bodies, and their ragged, undead forms are another line of defence between the glorious bones of the Barrow King and those who would defile them.
Elemental Motelings
Just tiny, cute little elementals. Be careful though, in swarms, they have all the capabilities of their greater cousins, a fact of which they are well aware.
Dream Figments
The dead do not rest undreaming in barrows. Sometimes, fragments and shards of dreams slip from their hollow skulls, manifesting as amorphous, indistinct mists, shapes forming and solidifying then dissipating in an instant within the mist. They prey on men, hoping that by taking the spirits of the living, they might make themselves more real. They take on the aspects of what they slay, yet they will never really attain life, and this makes the mightiest of them angry and wrathful.

How Shall Ye Know the Barrow?

Great heaps of earth they may be, yet they do not necessarily stand the tests of time, nor the march of water and wind. Even in elder days, they realised this would be true, and so made arrangements that even after uncountable ages, all would know the place where the Kings of Old still rested.

1 - By the Ring of Standing Stones upon its brow
2 - By the Lonely Dolemn crowning it
3 - By the Bolts of Lightning it calls down from the full moon
4 - By the Guardian Spirit that prowls the grounds by Night
5 - By the Shrine to the many Spirits of the Dead at its peak
6 - By the Extensive Earthworks that surround it
7 - By the Words writ in Bronze upon the Door
8 - By the Mighty Construction of Earth and Stone, it is unmistakable
9 - By the Weald-Tree that crests it
10 - By the many, many Satellite-Tombs that ring it
11 - By the Tales that still speak the Dead King's Ancient Name
12 - By the Clearly Audible Whispers of the Dead, beckoning you
13 - By the Crows that still feed on the small bones
14 - By the Will-O-the-Wisps that dance and cavort about it
15 - By the Incredible and Improbable Stench
16 - By the River that pours forth from it
17 - By the Frosts that cling to it, even in the Light of the Sun
18 - By the Howling of the Spirits at the Witching Hour
19 - By the Bones that stud it like Weeds
20 - By the Lack of anything Living within a hundred feet of it

Aspects of the Barrow

These are additional affects of the Barrow, intentional or not. Most Barrows should have one or two, maybe three for particularly powerful Barrow Kings. 

1 - It is lost in an Artificial Forest
2 - Within the Barrow are strange Moats of Mercury
3 - It is partially hidden in the Mirror-World
4 - A Preserved and Animated Guardian Beast still watches its ancient master
5 - There are many Magicked Water Features within
6 - Many Wandering Spirits take respite here
7 - The Barrow has its own spirit, soaked in magic
8 - It is mightily overtaken by Roots and Thorns
9 - It is riddled with many Primitive Traps and Contraptions
10 - The Barrow is Improbably Frozen
11 - There is a floor made of a multitude of Grasping Hands
12 -There is an Oracle dwelling in the Barrow's Walls
13 - The Air is overtaken with a Hallucinogenic Gas
14 - Within is a stained, Sacrificial Pit, and a stained, Hungry Knife
15 - The Barrow is shrouded in a Hateful Crystal's Curse
16 - It is haunted by the Ghosts of Ancient and Extinct Beasts
17 - The walls of the Barrow are decorated with Uncountable Bones
18 - There are a number of Hot Springs contained within the Barrow
19 - Much of the Barrow is Flooded with Filthy Water
20 - The Locks on the Doors are sealed with Curses
21 - The Tunnels of the Barrow form an Extra-Spatial Labyrinth
22 - The Barrow is slowly, painfully collapsing in many places
23 - There is a Shrine within, overgrown with a multitude of beautiful flowers
24 - Within the Barrow is contained a Primitive Observatory for watching Ancient and Lost Stars
25 - The Barrow is connected to a Cave used by Shamans on Vision Quests
26 - The Barrow is infested with great, man-eating Worms
27 - Many of the Walls contain Spirit-Urns, binding the Ancient Soldiers to their lord still
28 - In a dark nook there is a Curse-Nail Idol, still it seethes with Ancient Hates
29 - The earthen floors are overtaken with Plants that hunger for flesh and blood
30 - The Walls are adorned with Antikythera-esque mechanisms, with inscrutable purposes

Where is the Body of the Barrow King?

All manner of rituals are employed for the dead. Now, nothing can be said of them, save for what we might infer from where the body now rests...

1 - Still sitting in its long-mouldering Throne
2 - Laid down in a grand stone Sarcophagus
3 - Standing in their tarnished and dusty Chariot
4 - Laid out in a rotten and ragged boat
5 - Bundled with their belongings in a mere pit
6 - Resting Serenely in a Crystal-clear pool
7 - Buried Shallowly in the Earth
8 - Dashed to pieces upon an Altar
9 - Suspended in a pillar of Amber
10 - Held up in a Cascade of Roots and Branches
11 - Lying upon the charred ribs of a Funeral Pyre
12 - Cradled by some Inhuman Statue
13 - Arrayed in full Regalia with their Body-Guards
14 - Surrounded by their family in the very picture of the perfect household
15 - Sat about a table with their closest advisors
16 - Laid down in a bed, as if only asleep
17 - Spread carelessly across the room
18 - Held in the jaws of some ancient and monstrous skull
19 - Contained tightly in a patterned and decorated Urn
20 - Hanging from the neck

What is the Form of the Barrow's Interior?

Not a single Barrow is like another in its entirety. These are the patterns they follow, though each be shaped by the mind and lingering will of the dead within them. 

1 - A Long Passage into the Earth
2 - A Grand Hall of Pillars
3 - Muddy and Twisting Tunnels
4 - A Prim and Proper Tomb
5 - An Inverted Tower, sinking down into the Earth
6 - A Grand Arena
7 - It is all contained within a Great, Buried Ship
8 - A maze-like Hive of Tunnels and Chambers
9 - An almighty pit, criss-crossed with bridges
10 - A subterranean field of Sepulchers

Treasures of the Barrow King

All Barrow Kings are richly adorned with treasures and adornments. Many are even magical, as the powers of the earth flowed more freely then.
To create the treasures of the Barrow, roll twice on the Mundane Treasures table for the majority of the riches of the Barrow. Then, for every Hit Die of the Barrow King beyond the first, roll for a Magical Treasure from the Weapons, Tools, Devices, or Wondrous Objects tables either at your discretion, or the discretion of a d4. 

1 - Beautiful ceramic arts
2 - Coins of precious metals
3 - Rough cut and set jewels and gems
4 - Shaped amber and shells
5 - Finely wrought metal weapons
6 - Tapestries of great skill
7 - Carven Bones
8 - Old vehicles, boats and chariots

1 - Dagger of Sacrifices - The Knife that pierces the heart and dredges up all the power of its spirit
2 - Beheading Blade - Many lives has it taken, all helpless and weeping
3 - Mammoth-Hunters Spear - Fly fast, Strike True, Feed my People
4 - Megalith Maul - Built of the Stone of Earth-Pacts, bears all the weight of the world
5 - Ancient Ivory Armour - Stands at the precipice of collapse, but withstands like metal
6 - Sigil Shield - Old Signs borne on Old Wood, turns aside the magics of witches and hexers
7 - Blood-of-the-Earth Blade - Rust that sets the blood ablaze within you, sets you hard like granite
8 - Axe of Ancient Forests - Cut down a tree, and then plant it in a stump, and the tree will be returned unto you.

1 - Bone Soul-Pins - Bind the persons spirit to this place, let them know no peace, no rest
2 - Amber Inlaid Casket - What lies here will never feel the weight of ages or the passing of time
3 - Beast-King Belt - The wearer of this most high trophy will be granted the strength of the beast
4 - Char-Brass Pins - Blackened Bright like coals, they draw in heat
5 - Megalith Ropes - Make weightless the weighty
6 - Azure Adz - Blue like the sky, plant it in wrath and the sky will answer it with thunder
7 - Silver Pendent - Turn aside the attentions of Evil Eye, keep safe thine spirit
8 - Spirit-Ward Jar - Place within the ashes of the dead, and they will never know the touch of evil

Magical Devices
1 - Rune Stone Shards - Stone holds the old dreams of mighty magics, they crackle with power
2 - Stone-Wood Staff - A conduit for magics, plant it in the earth and your words are amplified
3 - Mammoth Scrimshaw - Run all about with old, old runes, they offer protection from spirits
4 - Stone-Glass Wands - They obey any command you give them that they can perform
5 - Pact of Bronze - A promise wrought in incorruptible metal, never shall it be broken
6 - A Brass Mirror - It shows you not as you are, but as they without eyes see you
7 - A Ceramic Promise - Break it and the words writ upon it are no longer words, merely shapes
8 - Amber Bond-Beads - Wear it with one that you love, they suffer as you do, prosper as you do

Wondrous Items
1 - Tree of Binding - In its roots is a prison whose bars cannot be bent, where there are no keys
2 - Rune-Stone Spire - Pin it through the Earth, Pierce the Ley-Lines, Shape them as you Will
3 - Sealed-Wind Urn - Within it lies a sleeping wind, open it and it will issue forth in Strength
4 - Blood-Bronze Manacles - Seal them tight, not even thoughts can escape them
5 - Iron Idol - Annoint it in Oil and Blood, and the Spirit shall hear your Prayers
6 - Char-Brass Brazier - Feed it blood, and quench your blades in its coals, see how they sparkle?
7 - Bloody Altar - Your sacrifices of blood and wine are received all the more favourably
8 - Vessel of Rites - It holds liquids for your rituals, and is built to receive powerful magics in return

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