A heat resistant tree with stone bark and leaves, that only lives in volcanic areas.
Part of my series on pseudo-magical world building
Small puppets who take on the likeness of their owner upon death. They act as a silent sentry, militia, or officer of the law in the war stricken Dim-Sii Tribes of the Southern Lands
The player characters, experienced and somewhat well known, hear rumors and travelers' tales about a distant area being overrun by dragons (or other terrifying monstrosities). The locals have sent them a message, begging for heroic aid.
When they investigate, they discover that nothing of the sort is going on. It turns out that a group of thieves wanted them out of the way so that they could rob them (or someone who would normally receive their protection).