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.
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