Burial Rites and Customs

Elves

Legends has it that in ancient times, foul necromancers ran rampant among the elves, returning to grisly unlife the bodies of fallen heros. To prevent this, the Goddess Putalra decreed that all dead bodies should be destroyed in clensing flames after the mourning period. To this day, the dead of the elves are sent out of this world atop blazing funeral pyres. As well as preventing the creating of animated zombies from the corpses, the elves believes the flames more easily allow the spirits of the dead to rise to the waiting arms of Putalra and Lorelon. Special fragrant woods are often cultivated just for these pyres.

Among the Weslien elves, it is common to slather the bodies of the dead with the fat of deer or other animals. Heroes and elders of great respect are often covered with more exotic fats such as, red elk, phase wolves and light squirrels.

The Lorien elves wrap their dead in cloth woven from grasses and leaves. Kings and nobles are treated to milkwood leaves and fire-grass, but common field-grass and oak-leaves will do for the common elf.

In both cases, the body is usually burned with several of an elf's most precious and valued possessions, to comfort the spirit on its journey from this world.

The practice of burning the dead is looked on as the height of barbarism among the humans of Belfiad, who fear this form of funeral is the source of deadly wraiths.

Belfiad

The humans of Belfiad consign their dead to the ground, burying them either in shallow graves dug from the earth, or elaborate stone tombs. Prayers are spoken over the bodies, and the bodies laid in restfull positions before their grave or tomb is sealed. When possible, the mouth is filled with Holy Water to prevent reanimation, and limbs are securely bound in place with strong cord. In northern regions of the country, it is common to bury the body along with that of a beloved pet or a favored hunted animal (a deer or rabbit), while in the south, it is more common to bury minor valuables of sentimental worth.

The halflings, as usual, adopt many of the customs of their human neighbors, but they are much more likely to bury the body alongside loads of fruits and vegetables than animals. Halflings also commonly bury their dead in the middle of their crop-fields, believing that the dead will lend their strength to the crops in years to come and bring their families wealth even in their death.

The Dwarves

The dwarves beneath the mountains hollow out huge caverns for use as tombs. The common dwarf is then laid in the tomb and covered with a pile of rough stone and mortar. In large dwarven communities, the tombs will soon be stacked many dwarves high. Dwarf craftsmen are always buried with mock-wooden copies of a favored tool, while warriors are buried with wooden weapons. (Burying the actual tools or weapons is considered a waste of good craftsmanship.) Dwarves who die away from home and the mountains are usually burned as the elves are, but the ashes are carried back to the stronghold, and entombed in stone containers in the tomb caverns.

The Orcs

The orcs have no funeral customs to speak of. The bodies of the dead are discarded in the most conveniant way, if at all. Orc tribes suffering from lack of abundent food supply are not above eating their own dead. The closest thing to a funeral rite commonly observed among the orcs is a new orc chieftain eating the heart of his predecessor, hoping to capture some of his former rivals strength and prescense.

The Goblins

Goblins believe that they came from the ocean, and so in death they believe they should return there. The most common way of doing this, is throwing the dead bodies into the river. Sometimes the bodies are first tied to sack of large rocks or weighted down in other means, but often not. It is not an uncommon site in goblin lands to find river bends choked with piles of rotting goblin corpses.

Goblin Warlords often exert their rule by disgracing the dead of their enemies or lowly servants. The bodies are fed to the dogs, burned or simply left out on the plains to rot.

Wealthy and powerful goblins who maintain loyal followers after their death will sometimes have their bodies marched to the sea, loaded onto a ship and dumped into the ocean far offshore, but this is by far a rarity.