The Tinker Goblin
A comical sight, this goblin walks along the road though much slower than the PCs, so he is easy enough to catch. He is small and greasy like the rest of his kind with nervous hands and a creased face. Unlike the rest of his kind, he has learned that it is better to befriend humans than try to attack them. As such he is now a traveling tinker and doer of menial and disgusting jobs.
Of course he harangues the PCs to look at some of his goods, such as feathers for fletching arrows, empty bottles to hold potions, or an assortment of pieces of rope. nothing valuable, but something that could be useful later on, given the right circumstances.
If nothing else, he will enquire if he can follow the PCs until they reach the next town, for safety. Go to Comment
The Wandering Horse
The PCs encounter a horse trotting towards them, it has a saddle and bridle, but no rider to be seen, though a careful eye can tell that the horse has been badly spooked. The PCs can keep the horse and valuable gear for themselves, which should be a tempting option for starting level characters, or they can see about a potential owner in the next town.
Of course the owner will be able to recognize his mount from brandings or other markings, as well as some sort of identification in the saddle itself. If they keep the animal and gear, they could be in trouble for horse theft, but if they return the animal and gear, they could receive a modest reward for doing the right thing. Go to Comment
The Crossroad's Gallows
In a rural area, the PCs encounter a gallows, well built of iron and stout timbers complete with several bodies swinging from the nooses. This is a backwards area and doesnt have a proper church or temple, so criminals are hung several miles from any habitations so that if they rise as undead they will not be able to find their way back to visit wickedness upon the locals who hanged them. A variation could have bodies hanging in iron cages, left to perish from hunger, thirst, or exposure.
An extension could be a crossroads zombie that he broken its noose and is wandering up the road. An alternate path could be a potentially important NPC or valuable henchman to be to be released from one of these crossroads cages. Go to Comment
The Naked Man
Bereft of all clothing yet still maintaining a semblance of dignity, the naked man walks purposely along the road. In the previous town he lost his shirt, quite literally, to a group of unscrupulous thieves who cheated him at cards. If spoken to he will speak, but is perfectly fine to ignore the PCs. He wont join the party, but promises to speak well of them if they would lend him a pair of trousers and perhaps a crust of bread. Go to Comment
The Broken Road
The road has been badly washed out but a recent storm and has not been repaired yet. Mounted PCs will have to dismount and lead their horses across the rough, and potentially dangerous terrain. PCs on foot will have to cross this area of broken earth and mud with some care, lest they loose a boot to the sloppy mess. Go to Comment
A Toll is a Toll
The local lord charges a toll on merchants and travelers, and the Pcs encounter one of the collection areas/boths/workers. This toll is to see to the maintenance of the road, and its policing, as good, or as bad as it may be. Well equiped and armored PCs are going to be given a higher toll than the farmer hauling firewood to sell in the market. Refusing to pay the toll and using the road is tantamount to theft from the lord, and is treated accordingly. Go to Comment
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 cult's theology is binding on the god involved: it is possible for that god to believe (and see, just like Winston Smith in 1984) that other gods are mythical, or jumped-up demons, or failing older spirits, even while those gods actually exist and thrive and act in the cosmos, even while working against him.