One of the current political paradigms of the Cosmic Era.
Captain Blackthorn grimaced against the salt air that sandblasted his face. His men were weary, his ship was falling apart and the hold was replete with treasures beyond counting. It was time to head home and enjoy the bounty that years at sea had brought them. As he braced himself against the pressing squall he considered the conundrum of converting said bounty into a transferable asset that could easily be spent without arousing suspicion of the local militia or the jealousy of rival pirates. If only large amounts of wealth could be represented on something as light and unobtrusive as a piece of paper. But then Blackthorn had a idea:
"I know what we'll do! We'll bury it!…"
Following the conclusion of the Human Genome Project, and the 2nd Human Genome project, it was just a matter of time and funding before human cloning not only became possible, but a profitable
Because, after a while, even the oldest adventurer will need a place to settle as he grows tired.
Be it salt, wheat, silk or gold, money is money lad.
Golden tablets with the seal of the ruler that issued the pass and the seal and name of who it was issued to. About the size of your palm of solid intricately etched gold. The holder of the tablet is backed by the authority of the king to make any required purchases on credit or enter any place they deem necessary. A very powerful token indeed.
A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?
Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.