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.
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.
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!
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.