Elephants crossing the seas!
It is not an infectious disease, but it is a plague upon the world.
For it spawns villains. And not your garden variety villains, but epic villains, master villains of the most dangerous kind Evil Geniuses.
Pnathic sorcery has existed for ages, crudely used by magi who no idea the true forces they were fumbling with.
An article concerning the nature and role of druids in an RPG enviroment.
Of creatures great and small
The Omen Plague has other names. It is known as The Star Plague and even The Mundane Plague. It is still with us today, now known by the common name of the Shaking Death. To set the stage, the stars were aligned in all the wrong signs. Everyone new something bad was going to happen. When winter set in hard and early, they thought that was it. They were wrong.
Plagues and other great diseases are important parts of history and some settings. They defy man and may even defy God in their swift and terrible punishment upon the body of society.
When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.
To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.
It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.
The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.
It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.
GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).