What if you send the players in a dungeon that was already raided? Maybe you could have traps that are already set off, or the corpses of monsters etc.
A place where an architect has built a temple/shrine to an evil god inside the walls of another building, a castle or another place of importance.
Small identical wooden or metal discs with a strange pattern engraved upon them (do not appear to be coinage). The discs can be found all over the continent; a farmer typically overturns several dozen when ploughing a field. Though they are unnaturally hard to break, they have no known use and are widely used as good-luck charms: almost all households would have them on the doors and on mantle pieces; many people carry one or more on them, bound on to a belt, necklace or sewn on to their clothes.