In Western cultures, the dead are most often buried, but there are alternatives. Some undergo cremation, while others are enshrouded and placed in crypts. A relative few are left exposed to the elements, in obeisance to traditions spanning thousands of years, and fewer still are those who undergo preservation (or mummification in the Egyptian style) in order to be put on display, sometimes in the name of science, sometimes not. A very few are cryogenically frozen and sealed in large cylinders, awaiting the day that science might find a cure for their various conditions and revive them.
Whichever option chosen, one question remains to be answered – where do they put the mortal remains? For most people, the answer can only be: in a cemetery.
All over the world, people devote land to the dead and to those who mourn their loss. Such places are sometimes crassly referred to as boneyards, people with decorum would name them cemeteries, and those in between sometimes call them graveyards. What constitutes a cemetery is mainly semantic: A single grave may be said to be just that, while several graves comprise what is quaintly termed a “family plot” (if the inhumed subjects were related, that is). Only when two or more graves occupied by unrelated people exist near each other, a true cemetery.
Admittedly, this distinction is somewhat blurry. A so-called mass grave, which contains otherwise unrelated victims of a terrible crime, is not a cemetery. Instead, it is more properly called a graveyard. Cemeteries, on the other hand, are parcels of land devoted exclusively to the perpetual and respectful celebration of those interred or memorialized within. Here, one is far more likely to encounter only mourners, groundskeepers, or perhaps, on a really bad day, gang members shooting at each other during funereal ceremonies for other gang members. Whatever the term or situation, perhaps on a dark and stormy night filled with foul deeds, the living dead may rise from their graves in search of fresh brains.
Don’t Miss …
Shady Side Cemetery welcomes visitors and mourners of all persuasions. Once you step through the somber, arched, double iron gates and gaze upon the gently rolling hills, idyllic ponds, and shady trees, we think you’ll agree: This is where your beloved would want to spend eternity. Drive along the well-maintained road as it winds its way among neatly trimmed grass plots and tastefully designed floral hedgerows maintained by the resident caretaker and his three daughters.
Follow the east loop to the Shady Side Mansion, home of the owner, Mr. Richards, and his family and the site of the funeral home. This family tradition, spanning 155 years, ensures that loved ones receive only the very best care available. The facility is equipped to host three 200-guest services simultaneously without overlap, and the convenient, on-site crematorium handles all alternative funereal needs.
At Shady Side, the loved one is received in the Welcome Bay, located to the rear of the mansion near Mrs. Richards’ heirloom rose garden. Short, tastefully decorated corridors offer convenient access to prep rooms for immediate embalming or, pending notification from next-of-kin, to the refrigerated storage facility for long-term accommodations. Recent improvements in the facility have made it possible to offer deluxe, cryogenic Resurrection Package (inquire for details). Shady Side has a separate showroom for caskets, urns, and funereal alternatives, and the trained, understanding consultants take the worry and work out of selecting amenities.
While touring the grounds here, please take a few minutes to visit the newly renovated Viktor Mausoleum, designed in 1923 by Jefferson Walker, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Thanks to a generous donation by the Viktor family, a limited number of spaces are available within this landmark structure.
Things to See
+ Plain and ornate headstones and statues of white, gray, or black granite and marble
+ Real and plastic flowers in green cone-shaped holders by headstones
+ Small national flags near the headstones of veterans
+ Granite or marble statues of angels, soldiers, and crosses.
+ Trees of various ages scattered through the cemetery, with lines of trees on the edges
+ Gravel paths winding between shaggy green expanses and rows of headstones
+ A shovel nearly a freshly dug grave
+ Short, wrought-iron fence marking off small sections of the cemetery
People to Meet
Cemetery caretakers and other employees have 2D in each attribute with 2D+1 to 3D in business, artist: gardening, know-how: gardening, and, possibly, lifting and melee weapons: digging tools. Few cemeteries employ security guards, instead relying upon local police to investigate vandalism and other crimes committed on the property.
Groundskeeper: Reflexes 2D, climbing 2D+1, melee combat: digging tools 2D+2, Coordination 2D, Physique 2D+ l, lifting 3D. Knowledge 2D+1, business 2D+2, scholar 3D, Perception 2D+2, artist: gardening 3D, know-how: gardening 3D+ I , search 3D , Presence 2D, persuasion 2D+1, willpower 2D+1. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 2D. Body Points: 10. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ Vandals have recently damaged several important crypts in the Shady Side Cemetery. The police think it is a simple case of bored teenagers looking for something to do, but the players’ characters discover a different reason. The first crypt broken into belonged to the family of Charles Williams, a wealthy proprietor and landlord with supposed organized crime connections. Charles was known for his self-professed high-ranking membership in the Poor Fellow Soldiers of the Temple of Christ of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Knights Templar. During his last confession, he revealed that he had discovered the secret of the Censure Noir d’Troyes, a black-enameled censure presented in the twelfth century as a gift from the Count of Troyes to his nephew, Sir Hugues de Payens, founder of me Knights Templar. Sir Hugues presented the censure to the Bishop of Jerusalem upon entering the city in triumph. Carved from oak and inlaid with black enamel, the censure had no earthly value beyond its supposed miraculous power to heal the wounded knights who convalesced in Outremer’s infirmaries. It was presumed lost after the Order’s forced dissolution 200 years later, but tantalizing clues regarding its whereabouts turned up from time to time, and it has been sought by Templars ever since.
Charles’ cryptic last words, issued in the presence of family and associates, mentioned the censure and finished with “take it to your grave, as I am taking it to mine.” One of Charles’ so-called business associates, John “Croc” O’Dell (known as “Uncle Croc” to Charles’ children), interpreted Charles’s last words as meaning that he had literally found the relic and was having it entombed with him in his family’s crypt. Subsequently, O’Dell and several henchmen broke into Charles’ crypt, and even searched his house, but to no avail. The relic appeared lost again, but Croc O’Dell became convinced that it must be hidden somewhere in the cemetery, so he intends to keep searching even if he has to dig up every grave in Shady Side (O’Dell is not squeamish and will not hesitate to resort to violence to get what he wants). Perhaps the relic is actually hidden in Shady Side – and perhaps it possesses mystical powers – or perhaps not …