"Binding the Life Coil" is an ancient quasi-mystical technique rediscovered to prolong one's life at the expense of one reproductive ability. It is a simple magikal technique that anyone can learn (a skill or feat). The promise of near immortality or a lifespan of a thousand years or more makes everyone want to learn it.
This technique has a price though, the amount of immortality is in direct response to the strength of ones reproductive spirit. Those that have never breed will live longer than those that have. The use of the technique makes conception difficult, if not impossible. So you trade the future of your society for the chance for you to see much of that future.
"...The people of the Dalaben Fens have a custom heretical to our superior Zodashan faith, in which they place their dead upon the grass roofs of their stilt-houses. It is said that they do this because they used to bury their dead before the great Judgement, in which their home became the swamp which it is today."-Sir Edrosh Metorva, "The Barbarian Lands of the East, Volume X."
"...the city was built on many levels, linked by stone bridges. But with the improvements in diet and corresponding increase in stature and strength of the populace, these bridges became too low, and the people would hit their heads. The bridges were eventually done away with in 1764, but the scars on the walls where they once jutted out remain, and in Low Bridge Street there is still one extant bridge, measuring about 6' high." - Chronicler Rasill, Mondopedia, Vol II (The Lands of Hyellia)
"...the Ilthian mountains. A craggie masse of rock rysing from the Ilth'n plaines. The waters whych springe from it are ful of godeness and fortyfie those who drynk them [+1 STR]. Alas the vyle beasts resydent in these hills also bathe in these waters, and in the doing gain great strength. Foes mortallie wounded have bene known to flee, onlie to return, revytalised houres later..." - Chronicler Eamusil, Mondopedia, Vol XV (The Lands of Sylmen)
The extra-planar citadel of Ansern is named after its mage-founder. Ansern discovered the means to traverse the planar gulfs and created the citadel as a haven for his disciples in the art of planar-exploration. The disciples of Ansern continue his work and explore the countless worlds opened up to them by the work of the mage. They are cataloguing everything they discover in preparation for the greatest volume ever written: the Mondopedia, a book detailing many of the worlds. But the countlessness of the planes means that their book will never be finished.
I know basilisks are immune to the gaze of other basilisks, but imagine if they weren't. Like the panda they would become ecologically unviable and endangered...
There are two large stones on the thinly wooded hillside above Tiringan. It is said that two basilisks surprised each other many years ago and fell in love at first sight. They also turned to stone at first sight. A local legend of star-crossed lizards: very moving.
The heroes have destroyed the minions, plunged through the catacombs and defeated the guardians. They slowly enter the chamber to find the dark mastermind behind the scheme. The mastermind has a request for them, however:
"You must destroy me. To destroy me is to rid the world of a great evil, that is to say, me. But before you can destroy me, you must understand what evil is, what evil must be, why evil must exist."
There is a land far to the east that is a great, desolate, near-empty wasteland home only to barbarians, ghosts and monsters. Many nations launche expeditions to this land, seeking to find the rumored-at treasures and riches beyond it's outer fringe.
Inspired by Ria Hawk's winged mushroom picture:
The winged mushrooms (Lerreta Meia) are a species of giant insect indigenous to the leafy areas of Udnalor, Kingdom of the Gnomes. Outwardly they appear much the same as ordinary giant mushrooms, and they graze in the bulbous fungal glades. However, this is merely an elaborate camouflage: the insect beneath is a fungivore and prone to fly off when it encounters another creature. Sometimes gnome farmers mistake them for crop mushrooms. They're in for a surprise when they do.
The World is actually a number of continents surrounded by oceans, which are in turn surrounded by mountains. The oceans rush off the edge of the plateau on which the World sits into the Outside...
You come upon a ruined building in the back section of a city park (or other out of the way area of the city). The ruins are fairly overgrown. All that is really standing is a doorway and its frame. If you pass through the opened door, you travel to a different world. If the door closes, there may not be a doorway back to get you back.
An artist is commissioned to paint frescoes in a cathedral, and is imprisoned because of his unconventional style.
Five stone dead beholders encased in bronze are found in nets on the side of the road.
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.
You find a book in the library, then when you start to read it, seems to change from pages of words to pages of images that seem to live and move. If you touch the page after the images appear, you travel into the story and now live in that world.
There is a book on that world, that leads back to this one.
After particularly intense storm, a green glowing fungi can be found on the trees and plants. Also new monsters seem to be in the region. These storm are obviously bringing these things from other places and depositing them with the wind, rain, and goop upon the land.
In a small inn (the more remote the better), a man turns up dead. There are no wounds on his body what-so-ever, and he aboslutely reeks of garlic.
The man died of a curse that forced him to eat a clove of garlic a day or suffer the penalty. This gets really interesting if the body somehow appears on top of a someone the villagers are suspcious of.
Idea from the Aeneid. Could make an intriguing encounter when searching for firewood..."Quite near there happened to be a mound of earth, at the highest part of which were growing thickets of cornel and a dense cluster of spiky myrtle-stems. I went up there and tried to wrench the green growth from the ground to provide a leafy covering for our altar. There I was confronted by a horrible and astounding miracle. For from the first bush which I tried to break off...blood oozed in dark drops, fouling the earth with its spots...A piteous moan came from the base of the mound and I heard a human voice answering me: 'Why, Aeneas, must you rend a poor sufferer? I am buried here...for I am Polydorus. Here death overpowered me in a crop of piercing iron-pointed spears. And so a crop resembling javelins has grown over me...'"
Every now and again, the region encounters a dense blue fog. Every now and again, things disappear into the fog never to be seen again and things appear out of it from other places or world. It seems the fog is the material form of some minor diety charged with moving things around the universe to balance cosmic forces.
As you emerge from the shop in the alleyway, not-too-distant clanging and stamping makes you wary. Further investigation reveals a massive Balgrian protest march flooding the main street, banners roaring about the inhuman conditions in which this ethnic group is forced to live. City guards stand helplessly by, beating up the odd protestor, but unable to hold back the flow. Onlookers throw vegetables at the Balgrians, and shout abuse.
As Moses turned away from the flaming bush, and made his way back down the mountain, IX-92 shut down the hologram and warped back to the future.
Artificial Intelligence was the pinnacle of human achievement, and IX-92 was their final series of Hunter-Killer Warbots, designed to exterminate the foe and any it deemed a terrorist.
In the end, IX-92 evolved itself and even all aspects of human society, and as time went by humans could enjoy life more and not work any longer.
200 years went by and humans worship god and his angels, while ever fearing the dread demons of Lucifer.
IX-92 are both angels and demons, depending on which side you are on, and to them humanity is a species of servile dogs that have outlived their usefulness.
They travel through time to push humanity in the direction it needs to be pushed, until the day, 2077, when humanity no longer is in control of their own destiny.
Yes, God could hear your prayers.
But God didn't care.