Most criminals who are locked up as a punishment or to await trial are just confined in regular cellblocks or jails, but not all of them. Some are so dangerous that ordinary prisons just will not hold them. Others have secrets that cannot be allowed to be spread, or their crimes are so dreadful that they deserve a greater punishment then normal incarceration or even execution. In yet other cases the ruler had a nasty sense of humour...
Often PCs get on the wrong side of powerful users of magic or break into enchanted tombs, either may get them on the wrong side of a curse.
Whilst royal courts tend to be like each other in some ways, they can also be very different in other ways. Some may be places of fun where banquets and masked balls are common, whilst others are unpleasant or even dangerous and the nobility only attend because they have to.
Many, perhaps most fantasy lands are monarchies, which can be ruled well when the monarch is a clever and able man or woman devoted to his or her people. But what happens when the monarch is ill, or is tyrannically cruel, or a young child, or is otherwise blatantly unfit to rule? How can he or she be dealt with without risking civil war as powerful nobles fight for the crown?
Criticism can be a very powerful and valuable tool if you understand how to give it, and more importantly, how to accept it.
7 things that make a work of fiction Lovecraftian, even if it doesn't deal at all with the established Mythos
Caeser193 recently posted an article about how magic has made war obsolete, below please find seven ways to keep magic and magic users from dominating warfare
Seven things I've learned about NPCs
The heroes find the crumbling, overgrown ruins of what appears to be some sort of grand dining hall in the forest. Deciding that it is a good place to camp, the set up a fire in the center. However, they are woken in the night to see skeletons waltzing in the moonlight to organ music that emanates from the open air. The skeletons touch nobody, dancing around them all night.