Random encounter: a Centipede Nail is walking down the road/through the forest or desert, and no potential owner is to be seen, for miles around. For fun one could add a cryptic note or a too small piece of a treasure map. ;)
So in essence you make your PCs killers. They could not know, sure. But still, THEY found the girl, they presented her to the beast, and it is likely when they realised they shall help, it was too late. What will the people from that village think, if the maidens corpse is returned mutilated, from the Unicorn?! What will they say to the world about the heroes?
And what will the heroes (and players) think? Will they assume the GM wanted to brand them as killers, as some further plot twist they need to solve? Or was the girl not so pure after all? The Evil Unicorn could actually claim this, if asked. "Fine, let's get another virgin..." I can well imagine some groups could do this. Go to Comment
Alternatively, we could present some proud facet of the Evil Unicorn's personality. So it does not simply run at every chance to defeat good. It may have dark purposes of its own. It may be too proud to be worshipped from some dirty Orcs. But to have a few human worshippers... hmmm. Go to Comment
Could the beast stay masked, and unveil its true bloodthirsty identity when it is shown to the Emperor and his bride? It may need a way out of its cage, but if it charmed one member of the party... Go to Comment
Then there must be a way to bypass it. If the would-be thieves know all before them perished miserably, it will force them to do research. Hopefully they find the painting is the beast, and a way to avoid the curse.
...like, for example, the lowliest servant of the Evil guys?
This would make for a fine character background, and not necessarily one you would want to share around. Gives also some private information on 'The Enemy', right from the source. Gives a chance to get a stone easily. Go to Comment
It may not be exactly cliche, but what is unique about it? There are lots of similar items on other pages. It has a history you don't need to remember, and a few handy spells for any mage. If I try to think of a stereothypical powerful travelling wizard, he is likely to carry a staff like this. Go to Comment
Plus, while the monsters are quite dangerous themselves, few of them are directly man-eaters, or going out of their way to kill/harm people. Throughout the centuries they may have learned to co-exist with humans in some way.
"There's a giant grzfrz in your garden!"
"Well, if you don't disturb him, he won't disturb you."
"Come, sit, have a pipe. Where are you from, stranger? What is new in the world?" Go to Comment
If your world has some horrible forces alien to the human mind, this might be the result of meeting them. But we don't need Cthulhu for this. Even in a 'ordinary' war, some cannot bear the burden of things they have seen and maybe commited themselves. Also, some special monsters can drive you insane.
Why there are relatively many? Hm, good question. It may through the presence of these horrors. It may be a quirk of the world, that makes many who suffer horribly into the Lost. Maybe there is some spell or curse (possibly divine), that disrupts one's mind in this way.
If this happens from time to time, and adventurers are prime candidates, I can well imagine an adventurer's guild to be among the sponsors. Maybe someone wealthy hopes in curing of a close person. And the village can cover a part, if there is food in surplus. Go to Comment
What an oldie! The stats produce some involuntary twitches, but it is not at all bad. The plot hook attached to her is solid, and there are a few nice touches (like the Blueberry pies :) ).
It would be interesting to know the way in which her home can be healed... even if she doesn't really know. One option I could see, is that the forest would turn a hopeful character into a fairy (that could be a way out for a dying character, actually). Even more fun would be, if the helper wouldn't know it beforehand. :p Go to Comment