The PCs traveling along the road/path/trail begin to hear a low droning sound. As they approach they find their path obstructed by hundred of thousands of droning insects. Locusts swarm though the air, feasting on the grass and plants. Passage will be slowed, but the insects pose no threat to the party, aside from being crunchy and disgusting underfoot, climbing into pouches and eating exposed food goods. Go to Comment
Newly baked bread
The road passes a small farmstead from which the inviting smell of baked bread emanates. The sound of children playing can be heard from the barn and in the fields the serfs are working. Should the PCs look for the bread they will find it cooling down on the sill of an open window. Inside a young woman is singing as she is preparing yet another bread for the oven. Go to Comment
The wandering carnival
A small caravan of four gaudily decorated house-wagons travel in the opposite direction of the PCs. As they come closer the PCs can see that men are hastily putting on white make-up and women are pulling down their blouses, creating more cleavage. All of a sudden the PCs are approached by beautiful, but tired looking women offering to foretell their future (they can actually do it too, to a lesser degree) and painted men juggling daggers and tumbling around. Small children howl and run in circles around the PCs. Of course they expect money for this and make all sorts of offers to the PCs.
The following can be purchased:
-The clowns claim to be able to throw daggers or axes and be able to hit an orange at the head of the PC (or, laughing when he politely declines, they will do it to an eight year old girl instead).
-The clowns will rope walk between two trees for a fee.
-The clowns will perform slapstick comedy for a fee.
-Two of the women claim to be clairvoyants and will foretell the immediate future of the PCs (excellent to foreshadow an upcoming plot)
-All the young adult women and men will sleep with the PCs for money, but will not make the initiative.
-The elder male will sell foodstuffs, general merchandise (blankets, rope, wine skins, etc...) as well as, after some goading and persuading, thieves equipment such as pick locks, lock acid and cracker powder.
-The children will pick pocket the PCs relentlessly and will not quit until the elder female says "Shooo-shooo" (then they will run away and approach her in private, handing over the stolen goods) Go to Comment
Ahead heavily armoured warriors walk in line, guarding an immense carriage pulled by eight oxen. The carriage is lacquered white, with a hint of gold to its shine. The carriage is not especially tall but is rather long and wide. The warriors are clad in chain mail with breastplates and flat topped T-visor helmets. The warriors are draped in white cloaks with insignias of crossed golden swords on their back, and on the right side the front.
These are the chosen of the high patriarch, elite among their kind and they guard a dark and sinister relic known as Umankh-Athal, which they have just retrieved from the clutches of a recently slain elder spirit known by some as Khurmunalt. The relic, which is a great warhammer, has been locked inside a Templar Transport especially prepared by the council of elders and protected by layer upon layer of divine magics. It will be safe as long as it is kept within.
The Templars will be gruff and suspicious, paranoid until they reach the relative safety of High Haven which is quite some days away still. They will not share food with PCs nor will they offer support in combat. Should the PCs aid the Templars against potential foes, they will give them a modest reward and gruffily tell that they should be on their way. Go to Comment
As the PCs pass through a small village, 3 ravens wheel in the sky. Not only that, but Rudnus Kumalhain, the great farmer, falls down from his mansion roof as he is fixing the tiling. Soon the villagers discover that the PCs must be "the source of their bad luck" and that they are "in lead with the ravens, well known harbingers of evil". No doubt one of the PCs has the evil eye, "using it to inflict misfortune upon honest folk".
As the villagers mill in from the fields a small posse forms and if the PCs decide to stay, they might well try to hang the one with the "evil eye". If the PCs leave, they might get some eggs and rocks thrown after them, but that is all. Go to Comment
The Encroaching Forest
The PCs have travelled long and far and now a giant forest is on both sides of the road that they walk. The farther they go, the narrower the road becomes and by nightfall there is nothing left, but a narrow path and the branches whip the PCs in the face as they struggle forwards. Strange thing is that no more wanderers are met and for all purposes it seems the PCs are the only people left in this world.
Suggested Alternative Reasons:
A) Natural growth: The road has been reclaimed by nature and everyone else have been using another route for over a year. The way will take them where they want to go, but now that the patrols no longer venture here, the woodland road is once again troubled by sinister beings
B) The Realm of Limberlost is nearby!
C) The trees encroaching on the road are Autumndale Trees...
D) Dark Treants are herding the forest onto the road, putting all travellers in dire peril. When the PCs sleep, roots will drag them down into the soil or they will be crushed under the weight of an enormous tree. "Bloodcurdle Vines" will strangle the PCs, sending small root-tendrils down into their blood vessels to savour every last droplet of blood. The greater oaks will lift the PCs from the ground only to release them from great heights. If only they had some fire...
The reason the Dark Treants are attacking is because they have been agitated by the presence of the warlock Apsaloht, the outlaw practicing his dark arts on the trees of the forest. Since they can't touch Apsaloht, they sure try to harm his kin (humanoids). Go to Comment
A few miles outside of a farming village, the PCs see the road blocked by a small crowd. At the center of the crowd are two old men, farmers by the look of them, furiously shouting at each other. If the PCs inquire, someone in the crowd will explain that it's Old Man Cheras and Papa Ghel, the patriarchs of two large farming families that go back generations. A feud between the families also goes back a ways. Most have forgotten it, but when Old Man Cheras saw a Ghel shepherd treading on his land, he went berserk. Now the two elderly gentlemen are close to duking it out in the center of the main highway. Perhaps the PCs could negotiate peace between them--or side with one and end the feud by force. Or they could just move around them. Go to Comment
As the PCs make their way along a lonely stretch of moor-road, not far from town, they notice a campfire on a hillock. Ascending the hill to investigate, they see a plain looking man, sitting dangerously close to the fire. Nearing the man, who pays no attention to the PCs, they can see, to their astonishment that the man is holdng his hands in the actual fire, letting the flames lick his hands. He shows no emotion, and if the PCs keep looking, they will notice that the man's hands are not burning, and he shows no signs of pain or even discomfort. This is Demeu Ghosthands. He is suffering from amnesia, and if spoken to, explains that his hands are merely illusions. He cannot feel anything, as they can be plainly seen, but everything passes thru them, as if through air. The depressed, even suicidal bard, who was once kown as an expert Zither player, has no memory of how his hands became this way. So he sits, hoping sensation and feeling return to his ghostly appendages. Go to Comment
This is great! Its like an expanded 'Idea Seeds' for low-level characters. I can see myself adding one mini-encounter a week or so. Kudos Scras! Jack Kerouac, Joan Baez and Willie Nelson would be proud! Go to Comment
Nearly every primitive culture has had rituals and celebrations to guarantee the proper passage of the seasons and to ensure the fertility of crops and animals. Oversight of these ceremonies was generally the provenance of local kings or priests.
Suppose that the adventurers dispatch one of these fellows. The local peasants may become hysterical, fearing famine and death will stalk the land. Alternatively, they may want one of the new heroes to become king. For a while, this can be a good thing, but the first time that the crops fail, the superstitious locals will want to sacrifice their new leader.