1-A dead body
The PCs open the coffin and find what they must have expected-a dead body. It might be fresh, embalmed, decomposing or just clean dry bones, depending on the GM and how long it has been in the ground. Unfortunately for the PCs, nothing of value is found with the body.
The tomb the PCs are disturbing is that of a king or great noble and grave goods worth a lot such as armour, weapons, gold, jewels and other things are found adorning the body. It is not always safe to just start looting; the dead body might rise and leap to the attack. Or the armour might be made of Orthacarium and explode as soon as sunlight hits it, killing or badly wounding any PC wearing it.
It turns out that the coffin contains a Vampire and given that graves are rarely robbed in the daylight hours, the vampire might awake and suddenly the PCs have a real fight on their hands. Even young vampires are hard to deal with, and those vampires who have been alive for centuries know potent magic and are very strong fighters. By day, it may be that the sunlight causes the vampire to turn to dust or at least be weakened or injured, but this is not necessarily the case.
4-A kidnap victim
The PCs find a kidnap victim bound and gagged within the coffin. If the coffin is found in the earth, then the victim will almost certainly have suffocated before the PCs reach him or her, but if the coffin has not yet been buried, the victim will most likely be alive and very happy to be set free. The PCs are likely to get a reward of some kind.
This coffin may or may not have a body inside, but it also has a large amount of drugs of the illegal and quite addictive kind. If one or more PCs ingest any of the drugs, they must make a will roll to avoid getting addicted to the drugs. A failure means that the PC gets addicted and will be desperate for more of the drugs until cured in some way.
Rather then a body, this coffin has been used to secretly stock pile weapons, that might be swords or guns and ammunition depending on the time period. The weapons are non-magical, but in good condition and effective. Whoever is responsible for burying the weapons will not be happy when they find their arms cache has been dug up and stolen.
It turns out that the coffin has a booby trap inside it. As soon as the PCs get it open, poison gas billows out into their faces. How dangerous the gas is depends on the GM. Assuming the PCs survive the gas they can then loot any grave goods found inside the coffin that the gas was protecting.
8-A Bandage Beast
If the bodies that the PCs are uncovering and robbing are deliberately mummified before death, it is possible that one of the Bandage Beasts is uncovered. As it is almost certainly insane from a long period of being trapped within the coffin, it will almost certainly attack the PCs and be a potent foe. Water will harm it, but the PCs most likely need that water for themselves.
9-A work of art
The PCs find a picture lying on the chest of the body in the coffin. Perhaps it is a work of art that will fetch a lot of money if sold to the right person, or even a treasure map showing the way to a secret horde of hidden treasure. Or it may be worthless and just the scribbles of a young child placed with his dead mother or father in the coffin.
The body belongs to somebody who died of a very unpleasant and infectious plague and in digging up and opening the coffin, the PCs risk coming down with it. Perhaps one or more of them will soon end up trying to survive, or perhaps one or more becomes a Typhoid Mary,showing no symptoms but spreading the disease wherever the PCs go and making them very unpopular to say the least. Large towns in front of them could end up closed or with strict quarantine procedures.11-A curse
When the PCs open the coffin to steal any grave goods within it, the first to do so triggers a curse (the 30 Curses submission can give a few ideas) and they then have to find a way to cure said curse so that the affected PC can live a normal life without the curse's debilitating effects.
For grave robbers, there is paydirt inside this coffin. If the body is female, there will be bangles, rings, lockets and necklaces; if male there will be rings, a token amount of money, cuff-links of silver, and the like. However, although not cursed as such, stealing from the dead brings bad luck, or perhaps the relatives of the dead person find out about the theft and take action about it, either legal action or violent revenge.
13-A Ring of Heaven
This ring was never meant for the living to wear, as it contains the soul of the deceased within a mini-heaven within the ring. Stealing it will make the corpse rise and attack, and putting it on traps the person who does so in a world that is quickly falling apart and very hard to successfully escape from.
Within this coffin are only bricks that weigh it down. Either somebody deliberately faked their own death and went to great lengths to do so, or someone was kidnapped and then their death was faked so that nobody would go looking for them.
This coffin has been totally robbed already, as there are no grave goods here and not even a body. The body was most likely stolen by medical students, although perhaps Norbert the Creepy has visited this grave for his own foul purposes.
Clearly whoever was buried in this grave was so deeply evil in life that a small portal to Hell itself has opened within the coffin itself. Either it is filled with dangerous ectoplasm or it is filled with lava and the faint screams of tortured souls can be heard emanating from within. Particularly if it is the former, there is the chance of something nasty coming out of it and attacking the PCs. A common earthworm might be turned into a carnivorous one several feet long, for example. Lingering here is not recommended.
The coffin contains a large number of urns. Some might contain money for the use of the dead in the other world, most will contain the ashes of the cremated dead, perhaps one might also contain an Urn Beast, a rare and dangerous form of Undead only created when someone is cremated who when alive really feared and hated the idea of their body being cremated after death.
The coffin contains not human bones, but the bones of somebody's once much loved pet greyhound. It is up to the GM if touching them causes a ghostly greyhound to appear and attack the PCs for disturbing it's grave.
19-A diary containing clues for a PCs Quest
The PCs find a diary clasped in the hand of a withered corpse that turns out to have important information to do with their quest written inside it.
20- A Sword of Fire
The body has what appears to have a wooden sword laid upon it's chest, which is in fact The Sword of Fire, a magical weapon that burns up after only three or four uses.
21-A glowing stone
There is a softly glowing stone on the chest of the dead body. Perhaps it was placed there as part of a religious ritual, or perhaps the dead person when alive did not want to be in the dark for eternity.
The satin on this coffin lid has been torn away and there are scratches on the inside where the occupant has come to life again and died not long afterwards. The body is twisted and clearly was not placed in the coffin that way. This person has clearly been tragically buried alive.
An old tarnished oil lamp is found with the body, and if it is rubbed, choose from 30 Genies to choose what genie emerges from the lamp and how friendly he or she is or if there is a genie in there or something else entirely.
24-A ghost that blesses the PCs and vanishes
When the PCs open the coffin a glowing ghost appears, but rather then attacking the PCs, he or she blesses them for setting it free of it's coffin-thralldom and vanishes, not caring in the least that they are grave robbers since they set he or she free.
25-Gunpowder in the coffin with the body
The coffin is filled with gunpowder along with the body, either as some kind of booby trap or because the occupant wanted revenge of a kind upon anyone who would dig it up and cremate it. Any spark falling upon it will loudly explode the body, the coffin, and any grave goods alike, injure any nearby PCs and most likely attract unwanted attention.
26-One of 30 Zombie Freaks
There is not only an Undead zombie in this coffin but it is of a particularly nasty and/or dangerous type for the PCs to face. Such is the danger of digging up graves.
27-Strange music starts to play and follows the PCs anywhere they go
Soon after the PCs dig up the grave and open the coffin, a strange magical music starts and until the PCs find some way of magically dealing with it, it follows them loudly everywhere they go, pointing them out to all who hear it as grave robbers and making it hard for them to fall asleep. Inns and hotels will turn them down as the noise would wake up the other guests.
28-The body is alive with maggots and vermin and the PCs stink until they wash
The body inside the coffin is seriously rotten and covered with maggots, perhaps with flies buzzing around as well. The PCs will stink of death until they wash, marking them out as grave robbers, making animals and people alike shy away from the stench and perhaps making the PCs feel deeply sick. Any grave goods that are stolen will have the same foul stench until washhed. Even the horses of the PCs will shy away from them at first.
29-An alarmed coffin
As the PCs break open the coffin, an alarm either mechanical or magical starts to ring loudly, alerting any guards that might be patrolling the graveyard to deter grave robbers.
30-An NPC that the PCs know well
To the horror of the PCs, there are two dead bodies stuffed in a coffin that was meant for one, and one of the bodies belongs to an NPC that they were good friends with. The PCs have to decide if they will try to do anything to avenge his or her death.
For other ideas as to what might be found buried with the dead, I point you to Stephie's submission Don't Forget the Coffin.
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? Responses (3)-3
I have the same knee-jerk reaction as I did to 25_Things_to_Find_in_a_Nook_Alcove_or_Grotto, namely that _anything_ can go in this list. The list has both specific and general items; a Ring of Heaven, for example, is very very specific, whereas grave goods is less so and could contain magic items.
You've already contributed so much to Dont_Forget_the_Coffin! Why create a new list? Can you change this one to focus on something to make it different?
Finally, the spacing between headers and entries seems odd.
Some interesting entries. I'll have to take a look at some of the other subs you mentioned.
I'm with Mageek. Way too random and repetitive (you already added your Urn beast and other entries to Stephie's scroll :) ). So yeah, what Mageek said.