Just off the road a man lies dead, pierced through the heart from behind by an expertly thrown and ornate dagger which remains in the body. A long strip of cloth torn from the man's shirt has been tied around his neck; on the tag end an unknown hand has written a cryptic inscription: "For Djaygo."
When you get to the next town, everyone is talking about a mercenary woman found slain in exactly the same fashion in her room at the inn where she was staying.
"The world has an immovable dark red sun in the centre of the sky that produces very little light. The heat is totally unbearable and the aroma of delicious cooking meat is in the air. To look around it appears as though you are surrounded by giant black mountains with no vegetation anywhere. The ground is soft and an oily liquid flows into your footprints. Travelling reveals nothing else."
Any character without some resistance to fire or heat is slowly being cooked. The ground if you haven't guessed it is the cooked meat.
I've wanted this world to be part of a dimensional hopping "chase". I thought maybe to populate this world with giant carnivorous beetles or perhaps this could be a "Nirvana" for deceased or living (but dimension travelling) fire dragons.
Perhaps I've just been grilling a little too much meat or perhaps there are some great ideas out there on how to spruce up the place. Any suggestions?
While traversing the tractless deserts of Shezmu, the pc's come across a travelling caravan led by Vual, the Demon-Camel, the Lord of Lust, the Thrice-Humped...Vual is cursed to only be able to assume one form outside the Abyss, that of a rather large, golden-skinned three-humped camel,with a frog-like, black, barbed tongue......
Vual is the demonic manifestation of Lust...his followers, a cult of truly disturbed individuals, engage in bizarre orgies, travelling the desert towns, "entertaining" the desert folk with their perverse antics...
Vual's Rapture is what the cultists call their monthly festival, where they perform perverse rites to honor Vual...ofcourse folk come from great distances to witness the festivals, despite themselves, and the Cult of Vual welcomes all...
Surprisingly for such a hideous creature, Vual has the power to beguile and charm with his magical voice. His voice will always sound to pcs as the voice of the person they most desire...his followers also gain this ability slowly over time...
When the pc's meet with Vual, he tries to seduce them into joining his cult. If for whatever reason the pc's resist..well then... Vual would probably kill them for sport, as a lesson for those who "resist Vual's love"....
The air had grown chill the minute they descended into the strange valley, which was unmarked on any of their maps. It was so strange here, devoid of animal life and completely silent. The horses were nervous the entire journey through the vale. As they set about to collect firewood for the campfire they could hear their own voices as dim echoes through the eerie silence.
The food didn't taste anything that evening and their sleep was cold and troubled by nightmares. While they are clearing camp the next morning, one of them stumbles over a piece of stone jutting out of the ground nearby the horses. On closer inspection there seems to be runes engraved into the polished surface. The symbols true meaning is no more known among mere mortals and if they decide to dig deeper, they will discover that it is an ancient altar buried within the soil.
Any historically oriented party member will recognize the largest symbol to be the insignia of the powerful warlock who ruled this realm several centuries ago. At their departure from the area, something will seem amiss with one of the party members and all will remember the stories of the warlock's thousand curses.
"Many strange things may be seen in the Great Swamps, not all real. But I tell you, there was a ship and it was real! Well it was old and all sails torn and had many holes in the hull... but anyway it was hundreds of miles from the Sea! How it came to be there, I can only wonder..."
(If it is not a hallucination, may be inhabited by wererats.)
Animals have parasites and diseases, so do plants, there are even bacteria that cann dissolve oil spills or plastic or what have you - why couldn't there be a disease living off magic - a magic item could be infected, losing power and speading the plague to other equipment it contacts, while a magic user would slowly lose his powers and contaminate all he works with or casts a spell at...