An old, misanthropic and paranoid man feels his time is coming. There are sons to leave his fortune to, but they are not worth it, not a dime do they deserve! And he doesn't really trust anyone else. And so he has made a decision: as a part of his last will, his henchmen are instructed to burn and destroy all his holdings, buildings as harvest. The lands shall be auctioned off, the proceeds used to pay the servants. Nothing shall stay behind. Nothing.
Depending on the status of the grumpy old man, this weird occurrence may be only a family drama, or it may end up bringing an entire region into chaos. Or the son(s) have found what should happen, and want to prevent it before their sick father dies.
Adventurers are to capture an unknown monster for examination (for a sage or wizard) but they are themselves captured by the monsters, and researched.
Temple of some malign being invites you warmly and offers help (curing,needed spell etc) for some minor sacrifice . Sacrifices must be everytime bigger to work - up to living inteligent creatures. Maybe you pay some other price,too...
The adventure can take place in a slightly shifted reality, where everybody has a totem (an animal guardian). The totem should be chosen randomly and not by the player, it is ok if "Gorflin the Large," a gigantic and aggressive barbarian, has a mouse for a totem.
These totems will assist the characters in small way. It is up to the characters to determine how to get the assistance; the animals won't solve mysteries for the characters only supply the clues. The character may even have a dream where his or her totem actually speaks to them and reveals some sort of clue.
I was in a game with a GM that had a Masters in History, who made is a point to mention that the local peasants didn't have wheelbarrows. The rest of the players just shrugged that off but I knew that the GM was trying to tell us the peasants were on the knife edge of starvation.
All that from wheelbarrows? Yes, because before the invention of the wheelbarrow it took two men to carry that load. In it's time the wheelbarrow was the most explosive production multiplier that the peasantry could get their hands on.
This is worth two tips: One about the power of the Wheelbarrow and the other is the moral of the story...that people need to know the point you are trying to make.