A tribe of barbarians appear wearing necklaces of bear claws and great cloaks of brown fur. They are physically much larger than normal humans, much stronger, and shrug of the most vicious of wounds. They call themselves the Aklak after their totem spirit.
- From the Inuit word for Grizzly Bear
Enraged by the violation of the Peace Pool and the Whalebone Forest, a dead leviathan has risen from the bottom of the ocean and now hounds ships around the port where the stolen jewels went to land. It capsizes ships and devours sailors whole, spears protuding from its dead and crab-eaten hide.
A massive trebuchet constructed by the reigning tyrant, it can hurl the heaviest loads of any trebuchet to date and is the most destructive, non-magical weapon currently in existance. The Thought of Warwolf setting up on their lawn has quelled many a rebellion.
An alloy of iron and iridescent meteoric metal, also known as shadesteel. Weapons forged of this metal cause gangreneous infections almost instantly and sometimes the victims becomes a shambling zombie after death. The material is very vulnerable to fresh water which will cause it to corrode and eventually melt in a period of hours to days.
Game Cliche 3.
Every country in the world will have exactly one town in it, except for the main country, which will have three.
Game Cliche 2.
Upon learning about "the five ancient jewels" or "the nine legendary icons" or whatever, you can be quite confident that Saving the World will require you to go out and find every last one of them.
Game Cliche 1.
All legends are 100% accurate. All rumors are entirely factual. All prophecies will come true, and not just someday but almost immediately.
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.
Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.
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!
Next time you're contemplating a horse variation, but don't want to get too dramatic, how about a Zorse? An offspring of a zebra stallion and horse mare. In nature they are infertile, but in a fantasy world, not necessarily. They are also known to be extremely cantankerous.
"It soon became apparent that zorses are not the most easiest of the equine family to get along with." -- Trainer Pat Parelli, on working with zorses
Forsht Bligo is a dwarf who loves the taste of blood. He's become quite the connoisseur over the years. Pigs blood, sheeps blood, cow's blood, if it's red and warm, Forsht considers it a delicacy. The fresher and hotter the better. Forsht will often sneak up on cattle, prick them with his dagger, and catch the flowing blood in his orc-skull drinking cup. His life goal is to taste the blood of every living animal. Although he has not yet sampled humanoid blood, he is not averse to doing so if the right opportunity presents itself. He is not particularly unpleasant if approached and can be easily befriended. Its just that he simply can't get enough of the "Juice of Life", as he calls it. Forsht's troubles come in the form of frightened and angry villagers who have proclaimed the misunderstood dwarf a vampire. Since Forsht is amused by this, he does little to dissuade anyone. This will lead to some dicey situations for Forsht in the near future.
A village where everyone goes blind sometime during puberty. What could be causing this? Perhaps something in their diet. Or some malignant gene. How would an entire village where only young childen can see function?
These little beetles have heads at both ends of their bodies. This allows them to feed on leaves at twice the rate of their normal cousins, causing great damage to crops. They look like ladybugs more than actual beetles, but have no wings. They have a funny way of moving if one stops to watch them, as both heads seem to vie for picking the direction at any given time. Their favorite nourishment is sugar cane. After feasting on these for some time, they develop short bursts of frenetic energy, and can be seen racing back and forth without purpose, which looks quite comical to onlookers. They are otherwise normal bugs. Of course the pc's might not know that.
One day a a wind begins to blow out of the West. The next day it gets stronger. And stronger still the next few days. Eventually (and fortunately), the speed of the wind tops out at a steady fifty miles an hour, but continues to blow. Soon an entire kingdom is wondering why it's not abating. The weather mages deem it unnatural but can't seem to banish or control it. The priests of various faiths claim it's divine. The End-Of-Days crowd is having a field day with their predictions of doom. No one knows why the gale persists. When inquiring with neighboring kingdoms, it seems they too suffer from a persistent western mistral. Eventually the populace begins to adapt to living with a twenty four hour a day wind. Always from the West, and perpetual. What could be causing this? A raging Elemental king? a curse from the gods? an unearthed artifact? Or has Nature itself gone haywire?
A slow, stupid creature that crawls onto people and latches onto them, often on feet, hands, and other extremities, numbing down the area and slowly feeding on it. It's easy to avoid while awake, but nearly impossible to remove once attached. Many an adventurer has been forced to hack off an arm or leg after waking with a Stoneleech wrapped around it. Sleep with one eye open! (This idea came from "Wizard's Rule")
Except, it doesn't have to be. Nighttime can be a relaxing, peaceful time in the world, when nature rests and soft shadows cover the ground. Not every night has to be filled with vampires, ghosts, beasts, and things jumping out from dark places.
A society in which people believe that the hundreds of stars that dot the sky are the dreams of the sleeping. When the sun goes down, and the people of the world rest, the dreams begin to seed the sky, disappearing in the morning as the populace awakes once more. It could be just a folk tale, or it could be real...
A world where most people know a few cantrips and even non-magical people can help to cast spells. Which is just as well because the big spells can only be cast with the help of large numbers of people.Most large spells tend to protect borders and stop earthquakes as they can be done legally, but there are those willing to cast bad large spells s well.A major part of law enforcement in this world is preventing evil magic.
Now, this ol' ramblin fellow tends to walk his talk a bit too far down the train sometimes.. So I'll be brief in my recantin' of how it was my Tavern "came to bein'" on the multiverse as a weave of it's own spell.. And how I'm even alive to tell the story!
You see it's simple really, trust me.. that's my specialty, keepin it elementary. And you can trust this old Bard.
Anyway, this one night these wizards get a ramblin' on about the temporal exististance of space and time and how it could be manifested in a weave of super dimensional space. whereupon the folded space would give rise to an infinite number of entrances and exits to one or many spaces. Now, seein' how my talkin' sometimes get's locked into the way us folks used to talk back in the ol' west. These wizards didn't know I was a master of the word. and I had heard everything they said. They were also a bit over the wagon, while I was steerin' the show.
So that's how it came to pass, I struck a bargain with the wizards. They come to me in the morning and conjure up their idea into reality and I'd pledge them my life, my existance.. in essence my soul. but in a much nicer sense of the word. So they came by in the morning a half remembering our talks the prior evenin'. And I recanted their words verbatum, and that's how it came to be. The spell was complete that afternoon. My tavern would be the super dimensional cube that would exist in this weave of space and time, folks could come and go as they please, knowin in mind some of the rules and limitations set forth.
A few of 'em as follows.
No feller can be causin a ruckus inside any of my fine establishments, as always rule number one god damnit.
n' second the portal works kinda tricky. When ya outside ya cast the spell and lend your will to luck a bit and regardless the doors to the bar will appear, the windows a luminescent amber.. you can hear the chattee but ya can't see in. And the catch is the door might be locked, in which case you chalk it up to lady luck and go walk off and try again in an hour. Now most times the door pops right open and from the outside you always come in the front door, immediately greeted by myself or one of our many fine patrons of Hooper McFin's Ale & Steakhouse.
Now when ya cast the spell from inside the Tavern, another catch comes up. The back door is mainly a secret for the non-initiated staff and the regulars but for sake of the prose let's assume we all know there's a secret door in the back with a portal there. Now when you go on through this one, you got two scenario's you oughta be aware of. One is ya pop outside relative to the same spot you came out. The other is, you walk back on into this one or another of our many Hooper McFin's Ale & Steakhouse.
so it's a clever quantum railroad I got my tavern and my people's caught on. But, Hey the show's sure as always goin. ohhh' rutin tootin skidoodle -
** And that's it.. that's the only notes I found on the spell, apparently out there somewhere is a Tavern caught on the mighty ebb and flow of the multiverse. Well. at least I can put to rest my torment as to the condition now referred to as "Hooper McFin's Teleportation Paranoia".
Dr. Clarke T. Mulligan - Professional researcher of Time & Space.
Hooper McFin's Ale & Steakhouse