It is said that though the crown has always been passed through inheritance, no man may rule without the approval of the Archmage and the Guildmaster. (Interpretation I leave to interested parties.
The ruling family depends on some magical artifact or place to secure their right to rule. A monarch isn't considered legitimate until he or she has been "accepted" by the artifact or place, whatever that might entail. It is also possible that some one else, not of the ruling family, could be accepted as the legitimate heir... A fact which the monarchs would like to keep secret.
There is a group that believes no good can come of trying to change to future to render a prophecy or prediction incorrect. They believe that meddling will either cause the prediction to be true in the first place, or make something worse or more extreme happen.
Atheists and agnostics get a jolt when one or more deities make an appearance, and take a direct interest in things. It is hard to deny the existence of gods when one has met them face to face.
Bards and minstrels, if business is slow, will moonlight as freelance diplomats, couriers, or spies.
The army relies on a loosely organized, semi-freelance corps of scouts for information-gathering. The officers in this scout corps are usually retired spies.
The PCs have been traveling for a long time down the same stretch or round with no sign of anything suspicious. As they cross over to the next hill they see a gigantic splater of blood with a bleached dragons scull in the center of it. It the dragon skull's mouth is a tattered backpack with something wiggling inside of it.