It is traditional for two warlike countries to each give their first-born royal prince as a hostage to each other to prevent war. One of the princes has been murdered, and the PCs have a few days to rescue the prince in the other country to save him from being executed and a bloodthirsty war from breaking out.
Since the local baron's wife died, to keep himself happy it is Christmas ( or the equivalent festival in your game world) every day in his castle.
When a miracle is worked, when a God turns His attention to the mortal realm, the mortal realm is irrevocably changed by the Divine Presence. When this takes place through a living being, they become the Godmarked. Ever with one foot in life, and one foot in the realm beyond, they are emotionally and physically altered - always in a fashion that reflects the nature of the God that they have channeled - One who channels a God of the Winds may forever have a breeze lifting their hair, while a Goddess of Anger may blacken the skin and strengthen the body.
A certain country allows most civilians to carry weapons, but only if they are potentially deadly. Pepper sprays, stun guns/tasers, batons, and dart guns are banned. And if you kill someone and are not acquitted at trial, the punishment is to be hanged the day after you were found guilty. The message here is that if you want to go armed, you had better be prepared to risk killing someone and being executed unless it was clearly self defense.
When it comes to combat spells, again, only the highly dangerous can legally be cast with the same possible consequences if cast wrongly.
Many weapons buried with the dead are buried for a very good reason as they have had a potent curse placed on them making them dangerous or near-useless to the living.
This nocturnal creature resembles an over-sized bat, with the mouth of a star-nosed mole.
The Manabat can be as small as a normal bat, but can grow to a size larger than a human.
This creature is feared by wizards and other magic users, as it feeds of it victim's mana.
It will hide at day and hunt at night, swooping down on its prey, engulfing the magic user's face with its slimy tentacles, thereby sucking the mana from the victim. Depending on the size of the Manabat it can drain only a portion of the wizard's mana, which he will regain in a few hours, whereas the largest creatures will drain the wizard's mana permanently, rendering them ineffective as magic users.It will not harm them in any other way.
Manabats behave like normal bats and breeds in same way and numbers.
They can be tamed by a master trainer to attack on command.
Darklings are a kind of Halflings living in the sewer of medium to large cities.
Even though they smell badly and are quite dirty, Darklings are friendly and clever.
They try to limit the knowledge about their existence to only a small number of trustworthy persons, including player characters.
Darklings trade in information. Money, weapons and magical items have no value for them. This is why they hide beneath the sewer grates, listening to all that is said in the city above.
The party receives a poorly written call for aid from a nearby mountain community. When they arrive, the town is overrun by trolls, but where are the villagers?
A certain tribe in a valley believes that the soul remains trapped in the body after death and is aware of it. So they treat their dead as if they are alive, talking to them and keeping them at home. They are used to the stink and for some reason are also immune to the diseases that this practise causes but outsiders are not so lucky.
A supposedly empty desert on the far side of the mountains has started growing. No one knows why. At the center of the desert lies a tall rock outcropping, hundreds of feet tall. Dust storms shroud the outcropping constantly, except for one night a year.
The Pcs discover an ancient, dusty oil lamp, somewhere in the bowels of a dungeon. Naturally they "rub it", and out pops a wizened, old djinn. So far so good. Then it speaks...
"Ah at last, at last I am free! Now grant me my wish!"
When the PCs explain that they are the ones that should be granted a wish, the malignant djinn explains to them that his particular oil-lamp has a curse placed upon it. Whomsoever releases the entity inside shall be geased to grant the djinn's wish to the best of their ability.
Groans ensue from the party. The djinn rubs his wrinkled hands, grins, and proceeds to name his wish. What could it be?
Coinlake sits perched between two sheer cliffs in the Stigrani range, and is difficult to find, much less approach. Four miles long and two across, the water is a vibrant cyan blue. The lake's shoreline is an unassuming beach of gray pebbles, and its mean depth is seventy feet. The rare times when the sun makes its way between the cliffs and shines over the the still water, one could see clearly the lake's rock-strewn bottom.
Strangely, no fish or aquatic life can be found here.
At night, a peculiar phenomena occurs. When the night sky is clear, the moon and stars are reflected in the lake's surface, but if one were to look at the surface from a high vantage point, the reflection does not match the firmament above!
Instead the water's surface reflects the night sky of some other distant world and seventeen shining golden moons besides, each ones shimmering upon the water like so many gold coins!
Legends whisper that Coinlake is not a lake at all, but a gate or nexus, to some distant alien world.
The mystery has long remained unsolved, and only recently has the Arch-Duke commissioned an expedition to uncover the secret of Coinlake once and for all. Among the team members are several scholars of the Nascent Academy, an astrologer from the Occultists Guild, and of course the PCs, acting as body guards.
Saril had a dream. To open a library in the windswept wastes of Naarish, so that the people of the many villages and towns spread over the hundreds of leagues of desert could discover the joys of his books. For a whole year he kept his library open, but alas, almost no one came.
That is when Saril came up with his new idea. If people didn't travel to read his books, he would travel to them! Saril closed his library, hired a team of twelve camels, loaded up the beasts with all of his books and proceeded to invent the first nomadic library.
Now children and adults alike, looked forward to hearing the bells of Saril's camels as he entered their villages, as he tirelessly traversed the deserts in a long circuitous route, visiting every village and town he came across, in turn. It came to pas that Saril's traveling library came to some fame, and that is how the folk of Naarish became literate.
A word of warning though. Naarish has only six thousand volumes. He deals with those that lose or steal his tomes quite "harshly", by bypassing the town or village which was responsible for losing one of his books for that calendar year.
One of the camels in the caravan trips over a dark rock protruding from the sandy dunes. The poor animal has broken its leg and cannot continue. A cacaphony ensues as the animal suffers and the caravan train overseers complain passionately as they redistribute the animal's load across the caravan. (Let's just hope none of the PC's was riding this camel, shall we?)
As the camel is put out of its misery and the camel is skewered over a campfire - waste nothing! - someone takes a minute to inspect the root cause of all the trouble. To their surprise, the upturned rock is worked stone. Some frantic digging may excavate the bottom half of a gorgeously worked1 obelisk, and maybe even the small square forum below; but a more rigorous exploration of the surrounding dunes reveals a buried tomb doorway on each side of the forum.
The PCs are making their way from village to village across a rural hinterland, when they spot a weird sign along a farmstead's fence, with an arrow pointing to the actual farmstead.
"CRAZY DANCING HOES!!"
If they investigate, a rather sedate local farmer, explains to them that for a mere two coppers, they can witness the show for themselves.
The show involves six ordinary, animated hoes "dancing" on a makeshift stage, as the farmer accompanies them by slapping his thighs to keep the beat, and playing on his flute.
If asked how the trick is accomplished the farmer demurs, not wanting to share his "secret".
"If you can get Old Man Purkiss to tell you how he gets his cows to spout poetry, I'll tell you how I make my hoes dance."
In reality, this minor encounter can lead to the PCs discovering that some localized, magical effect is active in the area. All kinds weird phenomena seem to occur in these parts.
Perhaps the PCs have finally found the ley-line of mana energy that they have been searching for! The party's wizard gets excited.
The PCs are hired by undead to rid their village community of an invasive necromancer.
As the PCs make their way, wherever they are going, they spot two zombies. The zombies approach but before the cleric can turn them, one starts throwing coins at the PCs while the other pleads with them, unable to pronounce the letters "L" and "H" due to some missing gums. "Peeth issen...no 'arm...coin...peeth issen!"
If the PCs don't slaughter the two zombies immediately, they will eventually come to learn that the two were chosen to find help by their brethren. The zombies want to hire the PCs to rid their community of an unwanted pest. An opportunistic necromancer.
Apparently, a small benign community of undead have taken residence in an abandoned village, living out their undeath as peacefully as the undead can. Recently, a malicious necromancer has invaded the village, and plans to enslave the entire populace with his malignant spells, raising a small army.
The PCs must battle the vile necromancer, even as he animates the very folks who hired the PCs in the first place, to slaughter them.
The PCs are exploring the catacombs beneath a Colosseum-in-Rome type of structure, when they come across a foul-smelling, stagnant, ankle-deep with algae, public mass latrine. Countless urinals of marble, line this rather large chamber equally crafted of marble. Whatever system of plumbing once worked here, has not in many years. Old graffiti lines the stained,dirty walls, prominently bolded are such intellectual poetic musings as, "Urine For It Now", "I Pee Therefore It Comes" and "Now Urine Trouble".
A few moments after the PCs get to take in this unpleasant location, they hear the low rumbling of ancient plumbing and rather large Urine Elemental rises like a great, wet, wave of filth to attack them. The creature reeks and exudes noxious debilitating fumes, while its liquid strikes burn flesh like acid.
He's a non-descript man, with his pushcart. On it he sells nothing more exotic than jars of sun-dried tomatoes in oil and pickled vegetables. But he's always out there, in the courtyard of the great Guild of Wizards, in most weathers, and he'll have a kind word for you, and a jar.
The size of a hippo, fast as a Pegasus, ferocious as a wolverine ,but man do the prime ribs off of it taste FANTASTIC
Mazetown stands right around the entrance to the Maze, and its whole economy depends on the people coming to visit the ever-changing and apparently sentient dungeon. They don't get all that many visitors, but the ones that do come tend to be rather generous in their spending; after all, if anything you take inside vanishes as soon as you go in, and everyone who manages to come out usually does so with fabulous treasures in tow, why not spend your coin on R&R before getting started?