A character who is undergoing changes of personality (like buying off mental disadvantages - flaws - or changing alignment) might confront personifications of aspects of his personality in dreams: a griffon representing the courage he needs to face a terrible foe, or a satyr standing for the lecherousness a warrior must overcome to be admitted to an order of knights who must uphold vows of chastity.
A party of adventurers walk along late on an open plain, on a moonless night. Abruptly, War screams, the clanging of metal and death-cries are heard. It is an open plain, and nothing is seen, but the sound of a huge battle is all about them. The sounds continue for a half hour before stopping as suddenly as they started. What was it? Perhaps the ghouls of a long-gone battle, reliving their unfortunate last memories...
In the middle of an unimportant combat with some bandits a burst of wild magic transforms all of the PCs and their opponents in to random animals and monsters. They retain their intelligence (though not, of course, the ability of speech). They can either carry on the combat in their new forms, panic, or otherwise react how they see best. After about an hour, they return, unharmed, to their normal form.
During a public holiday in the small town of Wyrmbersch, the Mayor is accidentally killed by a statue which falls from the roof of the Town Hall. As shocked spectators crowd around the body, they discover that the Mayor, at the moment of death, shape-shifted into a squat, stunted humanoid figure, it's grey skin dominated by bony ridges and lumps. How long was the Mayor an imposter? And who else in the town isn't what they seem to be?
One morning, the sun does not rise. It seems that a great darkness has settled across the kingdom - at first, it is merely an inconvenience, but as time passes and plants begin to sicken and die, some action must be taken. As the deluded King plans the sacrifice of fifty tender virgins in the name of the Sun God, rumours spread of an ancient barrow uncovered in the hills...
In the Temple Square of The City, where the nine Greater Gods have their houses of worship, a sudden flash of light blinds (perhaps permanently) all those who are nearby. When the light has faded, a tiny, naked baby is lying in the doorway of each Temple. The Gods, it seems, have come into the world - but why?
Loud war-screams shatter the silence of the forest. The party, scrambling quickly over the thick forest floor, are ambushed by savage elves, dropping down from the trees and rock outcroppings. Their hair is cropped into mohawks and their arms are striped with tattoos.
They attack, and scalp unfortunate victims.
Recently, agents of a necromancer's guild known as the Guild of Morticians have been seen slinking around the graveyards in the metropolis of Jeffsport. They have been seen with many small undead creatures, leading to speculation that someone may be digging up the corpses and selling them to the Guild of Morticians. The Jeffsport Civil Authorities Office and various splinter groups thereof, including the famous Blue Lampsmen (the Jeffsport city guard), have issued a bounty of 100 silver pieces for information leading to the capture of whoever is selling the corpses to the necromancers, and a 30 gold piece bounty on any member of the Guild of Morticians.
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."
Five stone dead beholders encased in bronze are found in nets on the side of the road.
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...'"
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.
There are two major (read feuding) provinces in the kingdom. The Lord of one is secretly a mad, power-hungry despot, constantly plotting against the king. The Lady of the other is secretly an ancient silver dragon.
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.
The food that eats you back.
Creatures of nightmare, the thankfully rare Mesnoi have unique form and attributes. Only one Mesnoi at a time will ever be "encountered".
In appearance, a Mesnoi resembles a walnut-sized chunk of freshly-roasted red meat from some uncertain yet familiar, edible animal. The insidious creature camouflages itself quite appropriately whenever it can, by slowly making its way amidst feast tables and trays of roasted meats.
Once eaten by the unsuspecting, the Mesnoi sinks down to the stomach, reforming if chewed, and begins to lap up the gastric fluids, digestive juices, and bile that it craves, like a sponge.
The Mesnoi carrier will experience mild to severe stomach pains during this time.
After a few hours of this (this is the only time that the Mesnoi can be purged with magic, or other mundane means), the Mesnoi transforms into its true form inside its victim, that of a miniature, once more walnut-sized, pot-bellied, devil-horned, snake-tailed imp. This horrid little creature then begins to chew and eat its way out of the victim from the inside out with its tiny, razor-sharp teeth, like a rat forced to do so via torture.
The victim almost always dies a slow, agonizing death. That much is certain. The devilish imp then exits its victim and begins its seventy two hour existence of mischief and malevolence, until it once more turns back into a hunk of roasted meat with the movement capabilities of a snail.