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.
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 terrible teleportation incident makes inter-demihuman chimaera of all the PCs. Quoth Master Adams: 'I teleported home one night / with Ron and Sid and Meg / Ron stole Meg's heart away / and I got Sidney's leg.'
The local band of 'nasties' (goblins / orcs / whatever) lives in relative peace with the local population.
Along come the PCs and go through their usual heroic monster bashing routine, wiping out the nasties and pinching all their stuff, then continue on their way.
Problem is, they don't kill ALL he nasties. The survivors want revenge and, after spending a few months recovering, start to take it in their own inimitable style (which is not unlike that of the PCs come to think of it).
Next time the PCs are in the area they find themselves VERY unpopular with the townsfolk.
A plague has hit the local area.
In humans it affects only the most vulnerable, the children and the very old, and even than it's little more than a summer cold. 24 hours of sniffles and then it's gone, barely noticeable really.
To sheep however it is fatal and the whole economy of the area is in serious trouble. If this keeps up the area could well be facing famine.
Somebody (enter the PCs) must find the rare herbs needed to make a cure.
The PCs are stuck in a town with a strict peace policy, the tiniest scuffle can land you years in prison. The town also happens to be a tourist haven, so inn-prices have skyrocketed. The only way the PCs can rest is if they splurge on a room, with their enemy.
War of the Roses as a campaign plot. Two noble lines converge somehow, each line thinks it has the rightful claim to the throne. Deciding this long ago was handled by some divine intervention, requiring both houses to come together at some point. They aren't so willing to get together this time. Civil war, or a new king?
The party wakes up in an inn around a table with wine goblets near at hand. They have forgotten all that happened the last day. As they seek to find the truth they come in contact with a man that gives them a job which pays quite nicely.
When they have finished with this rather dubious assignment they are invited to dinner by the the man...
The PCs are sent with a diplomat to another country to protect him and do his bidding. There may be some espionage, rescuing, downright bullying, etc. Could make a nice medieval, special operations background.
One of the PC's falls in love with a woman who happens to be a necromancer...perhaps she/he is allied with a group working against the PCs?
A caravan is traveling through the desert. The party is hired to capture a man who is in the caravan, and it must be done quietly, so that nobody else knows. They are given the man's name, and the fact that he is a mage, but no other information about him. The catch is that the caravan consists of ten wagons, with at least thirty or forty guards.
A lizard race that is basicly Good rather then Evil, is being attacked by evil humans that want control of their river.
Unbeknownest to the character, he is in the royal bllodline. Suddenly the majority of royals fall ill and die, and the hero is left with the crown, but no experience or idea of what to do.
A group of individuals* gather up and search for, "The rod of Lordly Might." Here's the catch, no just any individual is welcomed. There will be a meeting on sundown* in an old bar. As it is, a war is going on between the Eastern Front, and the Western Front. The bar/tavern is in the middle of both lands.
On the same night of the meeting, there's another meeting with the Red Rose (Eastern) and the Black rose (Western).
Once on the mission, there will be other individuals met and given information... there will not be an easy destiny, but nonetheless and adventure to remember.
I used INDIVIDUALS for the fact that you can be any species (just keep away from the elemental and supernatural creatures.). Here are some suggestions: Vampire/ress, Adhiel (Elf), Half-Adhiel (Half-Elf), Orc, Human, Half-Human...
Please do not be: Orc, Troll, Frost/Forest/Urban/Dessert Monsters, Giants, and Titans. Note that you can still be one, just preferably not one.
I used SUNDOWN for a realistic reason (Vamps, Giants, and others meet at night). You don't meet someone who works for the Eastern/Western Kings during the day. I expect some drunks, bar fights, and bloodshed in the story. Mild or no Language is acceptable (unless unexceptable by the MODS).
A wizard has cast a slow action freezing spell upon a PC. The air gets colder around the PC by one degree a day. If the spell is not broken within a few weeks the PC will freeze and die.
After a long night of reveling and merriment celebrating their latest victory, one of the PCs awakens with his/her head shaved and a large ornate tattoo on top of their head. Tacky, yes but also a painstaking work of art that has left them with a headache to beat their hangover. The kicker? It is a huge symbol of the god of Evil, Assassins, the Drow, Munchkins, something really really offensive
Trapped in his tomb, but alive, the God of Pain awaits his uleashing, said to be at the end of the world, he uses his only powers he can and calls to him 2 people, a man and a women to reliquish him from his prison. The man and the women, decieved by them thinking it a person trapped, go after to help the God of Pain unwittily and let him destroy the world
From an episode of Justice League Unlimited:
The God of War creates a giant, unstoppable robot (golem, animated armor, etc.) as a weapon for one side in a civil war; his purpose is to prolong the war and create suffering and war among humanity.
Quote from Ares in that episode, which would go well with this idea: "That's all you mortals are good for! To fight and fight and fight until there is nothing left but charred land and blood and bones, and to end it all and then start again with the next generation!"
The PCs are invited to play in lumberjack games. They must see how quickly they can cut down a tree, how quickly they can use a great saw to cut a wheel from an already dropped tree, and must stay on top of a floating log while a lumberjack tries to roll the log to make them fall in the water. The winner gets beer and pancakes
A culture must hide its hands in the arm of their clothing as a sign of respect and peace. When approaching somebody you show them respect by crossing your arms and hiding the hands in the shirt sleeves. Nobody worries about hidden knives and such, it is the threat of magic that this custom was created to prevent.