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.
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.
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.
Sages and naturalists frown at the common name given to these strange creatures by the small folk, but sometimes the silliest nicknames for creatures, places and people persevere in the minds of many. “Purifiers”, “Pond Jellies”, “Breath-Stealers”, “Lung-Ticklers” and “River Butterflies” are much less commonly heard appellations for these life forms. Wet Faeries are basically (and simply) a species of fist-sized, fresh-water jellyfish. Several traits steer them toward the peculiar category however. Firstly, Wet Faeries are nearly invisible in the water, much like their marine cousins but even more so. One can swim in a river swarming with these critters and not even notice their presence. Secondly, they possess the unique ability to clean and purify whatever body of water they inhabit. They do this via some sort of biological filtration process, sucking in all toxins present in the water, and releasing it back in its purest form. Needless to say, they are both a blessing and a curse to whichever folk dwell beside the rivers and lakes Wet Faeries inhabit. On one hand, no purer water can be found anywhere than a Wet Faerie lake or pond, and yet, in “pure” water “life” tends in fact to die out, lacking the needed nutrients to prosper. Thirdly, their “sting” is (unfortunately) virulently poisonous to all mammalians. Wet Faeries are loathe to sting anyone or anything, using their barbed fronds as a last line of defense, but if stung, most swimmers will suffer respiratory arrest, and die within minutes, usually drowning before they can make it back to shore.
Alchemists, druids, and less savory characters have studied these creatures over the years, and have predictably found all the ways Wet Faeries could be exploited. Morbidly humorous, some bards find it, that the Poisoners and Assassins Guilds as well as the Healer’s Union, all prize these creatures. The assassins use the extracted venom in obvious fashion, while the priests and healers use the still-living jelly-fish to sterilize other poison potions and to cure those already poisoned on death’s door.
It is known that a certain Earl Von Trumble keeps his vast castle moat stocked with Wet Faeries, the waters so clear that every bone of every one of his past enemies can be clearly seen on the bottom, twenty two feet below.
These rare, fist-sized spiders do not make webs, but rather excrete secretions which harden upon contact with air. These "droppings" resemble barley-sized spider eggs, or even lustrous pearls, once the slime coating them, dries up. In fact, dried Pearl Spider "drops" are indistinguishable from the marine varieties produced by mollusks, and hence of identical value on the open market!
Several centuries ago, they were studied by naturalists, and several observations were made. Firstly, was that these spiders "lay" these pearls for no apparent or discernible "natural" reason, and secondly, the naturalists had discovered that the more these spiders ate or were fed--and they were true omnivores--the larger the spider pearls came out.
A cottage industry began. Enterprising merchants hunted and collected these creatures across the lands, erecting spider-farms for the manufacture of Spider Pearls. It wasn't long before someone got the idea to force-feed the spiders, ala foie gras geese, and soon, the fattened spiders began pooping out pearls of great size! (relatively speaking). The regular pearl market came to disarray, and prices and value fluctuated wildly.
[b]Plothook[/b] The Mermen Mercantile Alliance hires the party to eradicate all terrestrial Pearl Spider Farms!
An army and navy who work in the same way as others except their rank titles are upside-down. So people start as full generals and those with the rank of private command armies.
A massive iron key - 2’ length, 20 lbs forged with demonic faces from the bones and horns of demon-lords. When used with a massive portal - carefully built according to documents found in powerful books of evil knowledge, it will open into the realm of demons and allow them to flood into the world. The applications of this item for villains are obvious. Mortals touching this item are subject to [Effects_of_Touching_Powerful_Evil_Artifacts]
In a deeply unsettled world, much of it anarchistic or ruled by murderous gangs, a group have adopted the armour, weapons and discipline of an army of the distant past.
As they are travelling along the road, the characters come upon a carriage under Goblin attack. They rush to the rescue and defeat the attackers, but the owners of the carriage, a man and a woman, are already dead. As they rummage through the corpses looking for gold and valuables they hear a noise coming from inside the carriage. Investigating, they find a young child hiding underneath one of the benches. What will they do with this orphan?
Strolen's Citadel is an actual place of learning in the world- what is it like?
God has been slayed by a mortal man and his head is now worshipped and put on a pedestal. The PCs are hired to steal the head and bring it to a mystic that claims to have the power to revive God.
The PCs find a small green glass bottle, something can be seen writhing within the smoked glass. If the PCs open the bottle a repulsing form of life will pour forth and grow in size. A genderless beings of soft pliable purple flesh towers before the PCs, it has no detail, no distinguishing characteristics except for a narrow slit for a mouth that holds rows of inwardly curving teeth.
During a storm the PCs come upon a little boy that plays in the rain. Upon further inspection they discover that he has one eye and a long tongue lolling in its mouth. Spit dripping. It is a demon from beyond that can access our realm during storms, it eats all heads that are not its own, living and dead.
Moonlight shines down on the tranquil scene of a slumbering inn along one of the many roads that cross the land. Trees sway gently in the night air, and the stars twinkle brightly. All is quiet as the PCs snore away, a fine tendril of smoke curlsrnunder their door. The tavern is on fire! This is particularly bad news if the PCs own any horses - the screaming they hear is probably from their mounts! Panicky people are rushing about with buckets of water, trying to tame the flames. The fire fighting effort is not very coordinated as everybody is either hungover or still drunk, including the PCs. Hurry!
The PCs find a strange helmet, when donned it will take control of that PC and speak and act trough him/her. It explains that it is benevolent and needs their help in a quest and that it will stop possessing the PC when the task is done. Great if a player is gone for a number of sessions.
What if casting magic changed (for a few hours or days depending on the strength of the spell) the colour of the skin of the spellcaster? It could lead sadly to a very racist world to rp in.
As the PCs cross a brigde/tree over a deep river they see the glimmer of gold and jewels lying at the bottom. At further inspection they notice that it is the skeleton of a man still holding on to a sack of treasure. Will the PCs try to dive to get it? What killed the man? Did he simly not let go of the bag he could not swim to the surface with? What cleansed his bones so? Are there flesh-eating beings that dwell in the deep? Can the players resist the chanse of being wealthy for once?
A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?
Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.
You find a patch of edible funghi. They taste well and all, no ill effects. UNLESS you consume some beverage, even 3 (three) days after eating it. Then you become really sick with pains, vomiting, all the fancy stuff. As a gift or good meal, it could be a cruel joke or to make sure the heroes spend their time focused on the mission. And the fine soup you had in the inn yesterday could have some in.
(Inspired through a real-world fungus. Was really used to cure alcoholism.)
A massive trebuchet constructed by the reigning tyrant, it can hurl the heaviest loads of any trebuchet to date and is the most destructive, non-magical weapon currently in existance. The Thought of Warwolf setting up on their lawn has quelled many a rebellion.