All this arguing on the blogs about how best to pretend to hit imaginary people has finally produced something unimpeachably, unarguably good: Joesky's Rule.
Oddyssey is already following it.
Anyway, I feel if we all just agree to follow Joesky's rule then no matter how obnoxious we are, no-one can ever claim the DIY D&D blogs never produced anything.
And since I just made a post telling people what to do, I'll follow the rule...
Who Is That Dead Guy Anyway?
This table is for determining the background of decorative rotting corpses, animated skeletons, innocent bystanders, heads-impaled-on-sticks, etc. Roll D20...
1-DM tries to remember as far back in the campaign as s/he possibly can to the earliest NPC. That's who it is.
2-The tavern-keeper. You know--the one with all the useful local information and adventure hooks. The hunt for a new tavern-keeper has begun--as this is, in truth, a position of great authority and opportunity, minor skullduggery will already be afoot once PCs get back to town.
3-Random jamoke (local). If the corpse is identified and brought to the family there is a 50% chance they will offer a meager reward or--better--provide some humble salt-of-the-earth skillset-relevant service (blacksmithing, horse-training etc.) in return.
4-Random jamoke (not local). If the corpse is identified and brought to the family, the DM should spend the time it takes for the PCs to get to wherever the family is to decide what kind of adventure-seed lunacy made the corpse end up so far from home in the first place.
5-Family member of PC. Rescuing the bones and giving them a proper burial is worth 1/20th the x.p. necessary to get to the next level.
6-Runecorpse. The body's ancient and unidentifiable but it was once a powerful necromancer and its various parts possess disturbing abilities--its eye allows the possessor to see ghosts, etc.
7-Homeless drifter. Nobody cares about this dead person. It's sad.
8-Minion of nearest minion-possessing badguy (who is the murderer). S/he was well-liked by the other minions who don't know this minion is dead. Possible minion-revolt could result if they find out the score.
9-Local-ratcatcher. Town will be overrun with rats when the PCs get back.
10-Priest of minor local deity. Spells of a randomly-determined domain will be at half-strength in this area until a new priest is installed and the god is properly worshipped in these parts once again.
11-Beautiful female of unidentifiable exotic species. Maybe she has a sister? A living sister? There's a map tattooed on her upper arm/carved into her bones.
12-Major local wine merchant. If the nearest town is small, it's dry until a replacement is found. If it's large, then the price of liquor triples until a replacement is found.
13-Looks exactly like one of the PCs--only about 5 years older. Is this a mystery to be solved, or just a useful prop should the PC wish to fake his/her own death?
14-Body seems ordinary enough, but if observed, it will slowly transform back into the remains of the shapeshifting demon it was in life.
15-Prehistoric corpse. Worth 200 g.p. to local scholars.
16-The king's son. Holy fuck.
17-Major local importer. Trade is all screwy until the power struggle to replace him/her is over--everything costs 3 times as much locally.
18-Wizard. What remains of the brain is still seething with unspent spells. They can be extracted using the proper alchemical techniques.
19-This is the body of the guy everyone in town told not to go to this place. The local tavern owner thinks this is a riot and will pay up to 150 g.p. to have the corpse so he can mount it as a trophy in the bar with a sign around its neck saying "Borgulous Is Always Right".
20-Court hairdresser. All nobles have terrible hair and are at -2 charisma until a replacement is found. Major social events have a 50% chance of being cancelled.
p.s. I really like some of Palmer's stuff today--the magic zones seem like a great consequence for right after the PCs do something epic and the Guryms are all kinds of rock.