The entire city is in an uproar. Two factions proudly identify themselves to each other by wearing red or white scarves or handkerchiefs on their bodies in plain site, or hanging them from their place of business identifying themselves and their belief. Apparently a very respected high priest of the local religion has recently disappeared and so has the entire church coffers leaving it penniless. A city divided on the possible guilt of the missing.
Nearby the village is a large lake said by the villagers to contain a water god. They tell the party that if they want good luck on their journey they should hire a boat and go to the center of the lake and give a donation to the god.
A long forgotten and abandoned mine has been recently rediscovered by a local village.
The accepted mode of getting otherwise unobtainable information is to go visit the cranky old hermit living in the mountains. It's just the sensible thing to do. So, naturally, everyone takes their monthly excursion to the hermit's hovel to consult him on everything, from lock-jaw to lovesickness, necromancers to nasal viruses.
Now, if everyone's always visiting the poor old hermit, there's going to be an enormous queue... "Wellcome to the Hermitt's Hovele, Please Take Ye a Number and Have Ye a Seate" reads the sign outside the packed dwelling.
Imagine the poor hermit, having retreated into the mountains to escape this precise situation...