Many games draw moral lines in bold colors, where the real world is not so easy to categorize. Suppose that the player characters are faced with an overwhelming foe? Even unsavory allies such as orcish barbarians may be better than no allies at all. More disturbing, these allies may be honestly friendly to the PCs when all is done, overcoming barriers of race and religion. Will the PCs remain friendly with the bloodthirsty humanoid tribesmen when their mutual foes are defeated? Some would expect the tribes to betray them, but after the characters have honestly won their respect, even orcs may not be all bad.
A girl living in an isolated hamlet is cursed: So beautiful and sweet-natured that no man can resist loving her, but she has never met the man she could love in return.
A powerful wizard that the PCs encounter is completely silent. He does not speak and cannot be heard as he moves. Even his spells are silent, but his magic is just as potent.
He has a tendency to summon invisible chairs, place foes in invisible boxes of force, and other "mime tricks".
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
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.
The accepted mode of getting otherwise unobtainable information is to go visit the cranky old hermit living in the mountains. It's just the sensible thing to do. So, naturally, everyone takes their monthly excursion to the hermit's hovel to consult him on everything, from lock-jaw to lovesickness, necromancers to nasal viruses.
Now, if everyone's always visiting the poor old hermit, there's going to be an enormous queue... "Wellcome to the Hermitt's Hovele, Please Take Ye a Number and Have Ye a Seate" reads the sign outside the packed dwelling.
Imagine the poor hermit, having retreated into the mountains to escape this precise situation...
A group that wished to be 'ever-living' instead was cursed with 'never-dying'. Thier flesh rotted and fell fromthier bones but still they lived on. Now as skeletons they continue thier quest to remove thier curse. As skeletons they differ in that they do not need controlled or summoned. They are fully fledged NPCs with drives or ideas of thier own. Stabbing and slashing weapons would not affect them.
Goblins originated the idea of meat on a stick. In larger towns, goblin vendors can be seen hawking their wares, a variety of animals skewered and deep fried. Almost always tasty so long as you dont ask too many questions.
A master thief is struck by an insanity spell and thinks he is half cat. He walks around sniffing things, clawing the furniture and licking himself in the manner of a grooming cat. This is a major cause of embarassment to the guild and the master thief must be cured of his insanity.
Teenagers who run away from home to live in the wilderness may become feral. As they become more and more feral, they gain some supernatural powers (a la Peter Pan - ability to fly, things they imagine come true - possibly quite powerful), but at the expense of their humanity and ability to speak, comprehend complex subjects, etc. Maybe they have a leader: the most feral of them all.
A regression into a fantasy childlike state.
Telepathically linked twins that have the ability to switch places. Literally. They've learned to exploit this 'tag-team' throughly.
Walking through the alleys of the docks district of town, you hear an old, mad beggar calling out for alms. He claims to be a god, cast out from heaven and stripped of his powers. The party passes, tossing a few coppers to him. In thanking them, the madman refers to incidents in their childhood or distant past which would have been all but impossible for him to know.
King Addas loves charades, and has a troupe of mimes in his harem. To ensure that they can never cheat he has had their tongues cut out, which is why they always look so miserable and never open their mouths (the stump of a tongue is not a pleasant sight).
Somehow, someway, a band of gnomes learns how to be ninjas. In fine gnomish style, they open an academy to teach this art to other gnomes. Wacky Hijinks ensue. Or the gnomes become some of the finest assassins in the land. Or both.
The party comes across a nice hermit in the woods. He gives them food and lodging for the night. They awaken to his terrified screams. "East! It's east! Stop it! It'll kill us all!" The poor horror-stricken hermit dies thrashing in agony, one boney arm outstretched, his finger pointing to the east.
King dresses as a commoner occasionaly and makes his way through the town. It is an unknown occurance so nobody expects it. This time he is mistaken for a thief and jailed. Not wanted to reveal himself, and always curious for the experience, he allows himself to be arrested. PCs also get arrested for something, probably guilty but pay a fine. How they act towards the 'king' could greatly change how their first meeting will be as the players always meet the king at some point.
The Nomin gypsies have a fiddling competition every year, known as the Danse de Velose. Beaters hit out the rhythm on taut drums and the competitors start to play, slowly at first. Youngsters can compete, but are soon pulled away by worried mothers, before the competition becomes too dangerous. After two hours the haunting tune has become dazzlingly fast. You can resign at any time, but the moment you make a mistake you receive an arrow through the neck. Strings may snap, but the players must play on. The whole affair never lasts much longer than three hours, and the last fiddler playing is crowned king of the gypsies.
An artist is commissioned to paint frescoes in a cathedral, and is imprisoned because of his unconventional style.
How about a dragon how cheerfully rules over a kingdom; his people all know him for what he is, and dragons are looked upon as wise and benevolent creatures. Dragonslayers from other kingdoms coming to free it from 'tyranny' are likely to get beaten to death by peasants with cast iron skillets.
Someone needs the blood of a dragon, given willingly, to make a rare potion. Guess who gets hired to sweet-talk a dragon into giving up some highly powerful blood?
A fragment of letter drifts down to the street. You catch it, and unfold the charred edges.
"...know I will always lov..
..at never dies. It is th...
..f my passion that b...
...nd it cannot be ext..
....n heaven or....n hel..
....ill be by you...ide an...
...... yours foreve.........
... Mendates ........
Looking up from the fragmented text you glance around at the rooftops. There. A minute snowfall of scraps of letters is cascading from the chimney of a half-timbered house nearby.