In some regions, various occupations might be exclusively staffed by members of a particular race or ethnic group. As examples, a city's butchers might tradtionally have orcish blood, or all the dwarves in an area could be expected to join the miners' guild (even if they personally have nothing to do with mining). Those who violate these stereotypes may find themselves in conflict with local customs or idiosyncratic laws.
On some of the islands off the coast, the rites of the local fertility god revolve around ceremonial death and rebirth. The religion's priests have overcome this cycle, however: Each of them is actually undead, ceremonially slain and "reborn"! Their religion is otherwise unremarkable, being an odd offshoot of the mainland's religions. The priests vow to resist their undead cravings, seeing these as the "cycle of life" attempting to reclaim their spirits.
According to the Journals of Lord Goidol, the people of the Southern Cities wear heavy coats all the year round, despite the stifling tropical heat. They claim that to do otherwise angers the gods, and it is true that visitors who refuse to don the local garb are often struck down with a paralytic fever.
There is a land where every person wears spectacles. Those without eyeglasses are considered to be the lowest stratum of society, so adventurers without glasses are treated like outcastes. It certainly would explain those heroes wearing sunglasses for no apparent reason...
In a city where the justice system features judicial dueling, plaintiffs and defendants are permitted to request a champion to take their place in the duel: Someone chosen by lot from among the foreigners in the city. When anyone first arrives, they are given an enchanted ceramic pendant that marks them as a candidate for "court duty".
Wealthy folk entering the city are often escorted by burly guards, paid to carry pendants on their behalf: They elude court duty in that way.
Adventurers may seek work as a rich man's proxy or may find themselves magically summoned to serve as a champion.
In an isolated mountainous region, the local miners build their stone huts right next to the sarcophagi of their dead. In the winding tunnels of their mines, the spirits of their ancestors toil alongside them, sensing where the best deposits will be found and guiding their picks' strokes.
A nifty little encounter appropriate for any powerful sorcerer/magically adept monsters lair.
When the party have penetrated to an appropriatly impressive level/room they encounter The Door, this door is a vessel through which the Sorcerer/Monster can safely work against any intruders, the door is heavy duty iron bound studded oak wrought with craft skill and magic, set in the middle is a crystal orb, once the party get within a preset distance the orb flickers briefly as the door warns its "master" of the intruders, the master can then effectivly possess the door itself, this means that all movement the door is capable of (i.e. opening and closing) come under the control of the master, the master can also cast spells from the door as if he were there himself, all the while any damage that is inflicted in return merely damages the door, this will in effect ruin any of the parties chances of surprise, allow the master to assess the parties abilities while remaining safe and sound and finally will probably cause the party to waste some of their juicier items/spells on a chunk of wood and iron, and if the master happens to have a deadly spell or three it could also reduce the size of the party,
Of course if you wanted to be really nasty you could have the door open to admit one person and then slam shut on the second person (squish) whilst blasting away with every spell in the mastrs repetoir