A possible answer to what happens to spells when a mage dies. If the spell is strong enough, say and enchantment or other permenant effect, part of the mages spirit may become lodged in the magic. It may be a way for items to gain some kind of intelligence, but a mage who has knowledge of this fact would be very hesitant about enchanting anyone or thing. He might have other plans for his afterlife than counting the change in your bag of holding.
Preists, I think, would have this sort of thing covered.
Weapons or equipment that is heavily relied on can be "named". Then the equipment begins to gain abilities beyond those of normal equipment. They might siphon off some of the experiances of their owners (1 to 5%) and level up on thier own. Could be an unintenitional way of creating artifacts. Ships could become sturdier or seem to just barely outrun the worse of a storm that would have surely sunk another vessle, swords could fumble less or resist dulling more, a farmers plow could turn stones aside easier. Anything that is depended on as much as an inividual can depend on as much as another individual could be "named".
It is not considered a crime if a ship's crew mutinies against a captain that is obviously unfit for the post (dangerously incompetent, insane, or overly cruel). Assuming, of course, that they can prove it.
The peasants of the wood use crudely carved symbols to ward off wolves. They think the symbols are emblems of purity and goodness and that keeps the wolves away. The symbols work, but not for the reasons the peasants believe...
The symbols are actually arcance evil symbols which the wolves know and fear, but to which the peasants are oblivious. So how gullible are the peasants going to be when a strange horned man displaying the symbols on his shield turns up and asks for their allegiance?
Rivers and other natural boundaries are used as political boundaries as well.
In addition to the Thieves' Guilds, there is a hierarchy that all thieves are part of. Rank is based on skill, and can be raised or lowered at any time. The Queen of Thieves, the greatest living thief in the world, is the ruler. Guildmasters answer only to her, and she answers to no one at all.
Finally got the idea for an orcish currency:
A cold-hammered piece of raw iron, resembling some kind of a dagger. The Dagger is easy to carry, hard to forge, may be used as a crude weapon in case of emergency AND the iron being a valuable resource... may be used directly for weapon-making. May be carried openly on the belt of a mighty Orc. A new insult: 'to beat someone with someones money' . Self-explanatory.
Custom among pirates to yearly vote for their leader. If a majority believed the leader was doing poorly they could hold another vote. Democratic except in times of battle and danger at sea. Could bleed that over to some 'honorable' bandits.
A comet flies through the sky every so many years. During this time no fire is able to be lit anywhere the comet is visible.
Sword sharpness is equal to the status and skill of its wielder.
After killing certain animals, if you drink their blood while performing a sort of ritual you will have visions and/or gain specific powers for an amount of time.
Good luck to drink out of wolve's paw prints or some other animal. Gives special powers.
Swords form a bond to their wielder. A symbol on the grip that is absorbed through the user's hand and appears on the back of the hand. Maybe only visible to them or others that have the abilities. Could give unique powers depending on when it happened and what they did to get it. It takes a specially made sword that only few can receive and made by a certain race. Then they must do something really heroic to unleash the swords power. Once unleashed it is theirs till they die then the sword goes dormant again till another accomplishes another feat.
People that live in cities no longer have any contact with the gods. There was a pact between the gods, humans, and animals. We could talk to the gods and the trees were the witness' to the pact. When the trees started getting cut down to make cities the pact was broken by the destruction of the witness'. So now only those that live with nature can speak to the gods and/or animals. Some trees grow tall creating darkness that scares men and they are not able to go near them. If they could they could again speak to the gods.
In the harbour of a major city a large and terrifying ship made of human nails docks. Nobody seems to inhabit this ominous vessel, someone needs to go on board and unveil the mystery. In comes the PCs.