The Jiangsi was the name of an undead being in Chinese folklore and mythology. Usually translated as zombie or vampire for Western palates, the Jiangsi was really neither. They appeared as simply risen, fresh corpses. They moved (peculiarly!) by hopping rather than walking, and sought out the living to suck the Qilife force from their victims.
Perhaps significantly more interesting than the Jiangsi itself, was the lore surrounding them. "Zombie wranglers", or "Corpse Herders", usually Daoist priests, were men tasked with delivering these undead beings back to their respective home towns. Tradition in China placed great importance and emphasis on the return of the dead to their homes and families, and thus the corpse herders came to be. By using magick words and talismans they would animate the dead, and by placing specially inscribed parchments of paper over the Jiangsi heads and faces, the corpse herders would be able to control the hopping corpses. Then like pied pipers, they would lead processions of subdued undead, across many miles, rhythmically chanting and ringing tiny bells.
Special inns were built across China to house these undead caravans, as the zombies could only travel by evening and night, the sun anathema to them. Rows of doors opening to barely a closet-space, lined the walls of these special establishments. Behind these doors, the corpses would be stored upright while the corpse herders rested in rooms.
The Jiangsi under the control of a corpse herder were quite harmless, merely hopping after him, silently and without complaint, for weeks and months. If however, the magicked parchment would somehow be removed from their faces, the creatures would immediately seek living humans to kill. Their thirst for Qi was unquenchable.
The job of a corpse herder was an interesting one to say the least.
Far to the north amidst the endless ice-flows it is rumored that a dwarven Walrus Totem clan exists. These rumors have been unsubstantiated to date, unless the dwarven sage Glurt Goblinguts is to be believed. He claims to once having encountered a troupe of huge dwarves, each standing a beard’s length higher than the tallest known dwarf. These dwarven “giants”, their hairy chins crusted with frozen shards of ice and dirt, hauled gargantuan yellowed horns or tusks upon their wide shoulders, and their helms, likewise, sported massive, down-ward pointing tusk-horns. Glurt Goblinguts later speculated that the impressive size of these dwarves was most likely due to their arctic diets, almost exclusively fat-based.
In the province of Behar in India, there is a bizarre custom that persists to the present day. Young men are kidnapped at knife (gun) point, and forced into marriage. If they refuse or cause trouble upon meeting their blushing bride-to-be, they are told that their family members will come to harm or even be killed if they resist. Some manage to fall in love or accept their fate. This scenario can be adapted to any rpg, ideally with a pc in the role of the abducted future husband!
There are no scrolls in this world, but there are crystals of various sizes, colors and qualities. Every spell has a requirement on the amount and characteristics of crystals that must be held in order for the spell to be cast, crystals which would shatter should the cast be successful. Now picture a land where crystals are scarce except for high concentrations of them in specific spots throughout the land. A number of scenarios could occur, such as benign companies selling the mined valuable for cheap, a region in constant magic-intense war zone, an area of crystals in the quicksand, or an undiscovered patch next to a town...