Imperial debacles, heroic last stands, the valiant defence of an island, arduous desert crossings and a deadly hunt with the PCs as prey, not predator can all be found in The Variscan War, a mini-campaign (25-40hrs) for medium-high level characters.
The evil mage Zarakoth is dead, but with his death the world has gone mad. The aging characters are confronted on all sides by rot, death and decay whilst around them the world regresses rapidly to the stone age. Furthermore, Zarakoth seems to have miraculously not died - and to be more powerful than ever.
The master thief Slith could steal a ring from the finger of an elf or the crown at a king’s coronation. He had stolen the great jewelled idol from the Temple of Imor at the climax of the Festival of Summer. Stealing the Ruby Sceptre from the archmage Bryseis should have posed no trouble to a thief of Slith’s talents. It didn’t: it was only afterwards that the trouble started.
Sometimes, just sometimes, the best response isn’t to go for your sword first and ask questions afterwards.
Most advenurers have been forced to do a stint as caravan guards at some point in their career, just to see them through hard times. One would hope that they’d learned enough from the experience to pull off a successful raid themselves. The only catch - they mustn’t kill anybody.
In a crowded marketplace, a man is standing on a soapbox, orating. Some of the crowd are cheering, some hissing, some standing around saying "I can't hear a bl**dy word he's saying". It's a hustings for an election. The PCs can either leave, or stay and listen. If they do the latter, then they can vote too, and they might get quite involved in the cheering. Depending on who wins they might get quite involved in the post-election brawl too...
There are numerous possibilities with this encounter: the PCs might end up talking to one of the nervous candidates before their speech, and offer encouragement and support. Of course this candidate may well turn out to be someone with outspokenly unorthodox views, and the crowd don't take kindly to s/his supporters. Or maybe the seemingly innocuous candidate turns out to be a complete racist, and the PCs wander off embarrassedly, pretending they weren't talking to this person five minutes ago.